Saddlery is one of the oldest crafts in the long history shared by the horse and its riders. Then as now, most of the 200 individual steps required for the manufacture of a SOMMER saddle are completed by hand, and with considerable skill and creativity. To give you a better idea of what our traditional craft is all about, we would like to give you a brief look behind the scenes at the kind of work we do on a day-to-day basis in our workshop.
PRODUCTION STEPS (Video)
1. Saddle tree
In order to accommodate to the movements of the horse and the rider, the saddle tree must be completely flexible both lengthwise and crosswise. This is due to the fact that a rigid construction would severely impede the harmonious sequence of movements between the rider and the horse. A modern saddle tree should also be adjustable to ensure that it can be modified at any time to compensate for the ever-changing shape of the horse’s back.
2. Gullet plate
The gullet plate positioned above the withers gives the saddle tree stability at the head and extends from the shoulder blades downwards and backwards towards the rider. The ends open outwards.
Panels must be smooth, soft and resilient. The edges must not be allowed to press on the horse’s spine and the panels must also widen at the front. The angle of the panel must correspond to the curvature of the horse’s back.
4. Distance between panels (gullet channel width) and panel width
The panels should run parallel to each other and be at least 6 cm apart. The panels should be wide enough to overlap the back muscles at the junction between back and rib muscles.
5. Flocking material
Synthetic fibre is used as saddle flocking material because it is soft and remains flexible, even if it becomes wet. It settles and takes on the shape of the horse’s back, yet remains elastic.
6. Girthing arrangements
Girthing begins under the stirrup bar, not at the saddle tree. The girthing arrangement is determined by the natural depth the horse‘s girth area.
7. Air circulation
The design and construction of the saddle should promote the circulation of air between the horse‘s back and the saddle and thus prevent any build-up of heat.
Carefully selected materials turn the saddle into a natural product that will become finer as it matures with age. Leather produced exclusively for SOMMER products makes its way to our workshops from tanners all over the world.
Both the fit and the gullet width can be modified at any time.
As early as 1991, it was possible to adapt each SOMMER saddle to the ever-changing needs of the horse‘s back for which it was designed – in terms of the width of the gullet plate, for example, but also in terms of seat depth and padding. The SOMMER Flexus is a high-grade, thermoplastic technopolymer saddle tree with a hand-forged gullet plate, which can be adjusted when cold as often as necessary using the SOMMER saddle adjustment device. This means that the saddle can be adapted at any time to the horse’s current requirements – at the owner’s premises and in the shortest possible time.
Training for authorised dealers
For many years now, SOMMER has offered its authorised dealers training in saddle fitting. In a three to four-day intensive training course, participants are given comprehensive instruction in the most important aspects of fitting and carrying out adjustments to SOMMER saddles. This ensures that our customers receive the best possible on-site saddle fitting service by trained dealers wherever they happen to be.
Our authorised dealers are able to make adjustments to the width of the gullet plate and padding of your SOMMER saddle quickly and easily directly at your premises and on your horse to adapt to the changing shape of the horse’s back. The basis for any adjustments to be made is intensive consultation and expert advice. Contact your local SOMMER dealer, who will be delighted to assist you further.
Warranty & quality control
Before it is allowed to leave our premises, each saddle is subjected to a series of stringent quality control procedures. This is your guarantee for flawless material and first-class workmanship. We offer a 30-year warranty on the saddle tree (excluding damage resulting from accidents) and service around the world via our network of certified dealers. We also warranty the leather against manufacturing defects for a period of one year.
Saddle fitting system
Each saddle must be adjusted to fit the horse and rider. We work with all the leading saddle measurement systems available in order to offer you the best possible service. We can fit your saddle using the following systems:
- Saddle Check
- Rückengitter (measuring gauge)
All SOMMER and REMOS saddles incorporate a specially designed saddle tree. It is manufactured from an extremely high-grade, thermoplastic technopolymer and is fitted with a hand-forged gullet plate made of a special alloy.
Such a saddle tree can be adjusted as often as the rider wishes with no material fatigue. The saddle tree flexes with the movements of the horse‘s back – it is springy, but of course retains its dimensional stability. There are also several levels of firmness in the various seat sizes available.
Using our specially developed saddle adjustment device, the width of the gullet can also be readjusted at the owner’s premises as often as necessary – and the 30-year warranty we provide on the saddle tree remains unaffected.
LaVita Saddle Tree
The revolution in saddle design – the LaVita saddle tree. The thermoplastic techno saddle tree is shaped precisely using CNC milling technology to ensure that it is absolutely straight and symmetrical.
With the LaVita saddle tree, any seat size is now possible, even in the case of a short horse‘s back – the saddle tree is suitable for seat sizes from 18 to 21.5 inches (LaVita 1 to 4) with the same weight-bearing surface as with previous standard 17.5-inch seats.
As is customary with all SOMMER saddles, the width of the gullet plate of the LaVita saddle tree can be adjusted at any time and as often as required due to the cold formability of the gullet plate.