The Traveling Saddle™ "Blog"

**Sarasota, FL USA -Deborah Herbert, Florida representative for the Harmony Western Dressage Saddle™:

“Your saddle is holding you back Debbie” That is what the clinician I had been working with said when I decided to focus on Western Dressage with my AQHA mare. Carol Bishop is a democratic thinking FEI level trainer and “R” level dressage judge. She thinks dressage is good for ALL horses, and she wanted to see my partnership with my mare “Belle” progress further than we were able to, because of our tack. Enter Tori Blankenship and the multiple saddles she had in her tack store room. I asked to borrow a saddle to try another style…and it was SO much better on my horse, but not quite what we needed. After some discussion and innovative thinking on the part of Western Dressage Riding Gear…the Harmony Saddle was born! The VERY one that is traveling now all over the world is the saddle that Belle and I rode in first, the same one that is now revolutionizing the western dressage tack industry! The difference was immediate and measurable. Belle moved freely in her shoulder and had more swing in her quarters. She was able to compress and lengthen and the lateral work became a reality not a distant dream. Carol Bishop commented that “You’ve been doing your homework and it shows.” That can be directly correlated to the time spent in the Harmony saddle! The tack is gorgeous, the saddle is elegant in design, finish AND the Silcush technology underneath and in the seat as well as the stirrups is revolutionary! We are often asked at dressage shows, “What kind of saddle is that?, It’s beautiful!” We are moving up the levels because I now have a very happy, comfortable horse. And this rider has become more confident knowing she is not inflicting damage to her horse’s back and gentle spirit by using rigid, ill-fitting tack. The Harmony Western Dressage saddle is a riders dream that became a reality……thank you Western Dressage Riding Gear!

**Asheville, NC USA

"The ultimate test of this saddle, logged over 30 miles in every imaginable type of terrain. Straight up, straight down, sideways (!!!) and everything in between. The saddle moved with my horse and not all over my horse, I never had to reposition it. Perfect, even pressure pattern every time. I loved this saddle before this ride, I am totally convinced now that it is the perfect saddle for all riding disciplines."

**Hilchenbach, Germany -Noemie Pauwels, European representative for the Harmony Western Dressage Saddle™:

The search for the saddle of his horse is often long, complicated and costly. I also tried some. My problem is to find which suits not only the horse with a Western saddle, but also the rider in the focus and not behind it. A Foxtrotter friend I came on the harmony dressage Western saddle: a saddle with solid fork and Cantle, but an otherwise flexible tree. This tree with a semi QH on Traveling Saddle also as full QH or extra wide, so far still no horse has used another tree. Since I was still very skeptical whether this "miracle"saddle actually keeps what he promises WDRG sent the test saddle to me in the Bolender horse and tried on all horses. The result: a balanced seat, loose horses and fit on everything from salvaged and poor muscular Thoroughbred, Arabian, Morgan until down to the XL quarter horse. He seems ideally suited for the daily work in the riding school, train, jumps over Cavaletti, Reiningelemente and the extreme trail. No slipping, even weld pattern and to a deliciously soft padded seat for the rider.

**Lynden, ON Canada -Elaine Ward, Canadian representative for the Harmony Western Dressage Saddle™:

"This saddle just makes perfect sense for the rider and horse. It's innovative and something that we have never seen before. In my opinion, we've always thought about the saddle pads and never about the actual build of the saddle. It's always been about buying the saddle pads that help fit the Western Saddle that has not sat on the horse just right. You are very limited on the adjustment- either the bars or the curve, so buying the ultimate saddle pad to compensate has been the challenge, and the industry has answered by providing us with hundreds of options. I have tested the Harmony riding with a very thin Wool pad underneath. That's all you need. Now, you are feeling the horse, and the horse feels you! Having ridden Dressage and Western for over 40 years, I feel that to get the best out of the horse you need the right tool for the right job. I can do a lot to improve the training on a horse, but when the tack inhibits the horse from improving and advancing, I cannot fix that through training techniques. I have to change the equipment. Our goal should be to honor and respect the horse. If it makes it easier for the horse to move the way we are intending, then it's a win-win situation."

**Ardrossan, AB Canada:

I ADORE THIS SADDLE!!! The first ride was dreamy. The saddle is comfortable, sits really nice on my horse and he was comfortable and happy wearing it. This saddle is the one I've been dreaming of, almost as if you read my mind. A couple of years ago I said to a friend that I wished I could take my dressage saddle to a western saddle maker and have them build a western saddle on my dressage tree...LOL. Tori, that's what you've done and it fits my horse as well, if not better, than my dressage saddle fits him. Tried it on a thoroughbred with pretty substantial withers and then on a paint with big shoulders and lower withers. Worked really well on both horses. Then on a big modern style Friesian (one of those OMG gorgeous horses). Fit that horse quite well, owner had a nice ride in it and loved the feel of the saddle (everyone loves the feel of the saddle). I love everything about it from the rounded skirt (just what I always wanted) to the close contact, to the cushy seat (also what I wanted...LOL), your saddle is effortless to sit in properly. Anyway. I'm in love with the saddle and have really, really enjoyed my rides in it. I miss it already. Thank you again for the opportunity to trial the saddle Tori.

**Gibbons, AB Canada:

Fits my fat little quarter horse cross well and he seems to love it. He was blowing and relaxing within minutes of riding. My Canadian is a harder fit and it didn't feel the same with her, so I am going to try again tomorrow and adjust my stirrups. I had a good friend come out and help me with the fitting and he was impressed by the saddle and the fit. He is an old cowboy with about 60 yrs of riding experience and saddle fitting, so I trust him. He liked it and gave it his thumbs up. I couldn't have gotten the saddle at a colder time...-25 and I have to test drive this saddle going down a gravel road. lol! Looks like I will have some cold and very short rides in it. Too bad!!! Thank you for the opportunity to view and try out the saddle. I would like to buy this Traveling Saddle!

**Olds, AB Canada:

Riding for a week in the Harmony was a completely new experience. I thought I owned "the most comfortable saddle in the world" ~ which I have ridden many '8 hour' clinics in ~ but it now totally unacceptable.

The Harmony is beautiful to look at, top quality manufacturing, a totally unique (and wonderful) ride (the saddle definitely puts you where you need to be ~ completely lined up, and centered on your horse) and BEST of all - my horse loves it.

Scooter is a pretty laid-back, relaxed boy - yet I have never had him immediately put his head down - nose in the sand - and stretch out like he did within moments of our first ride. He was softer, more responsive, and could flex and bend with ease.

I have been on the hunt for a new saddle for about a year now ~ and have finally found the saddle that meets all my specific needs ~ beauty, comfort, quality, and it makes my horse happy!!! Thanks so much for implementing the "travelling saddle" concept, for without it I would never have had the opportunity to test-drive the Harmony, and would still be on the hunt. Hunt is now over - Scooter and I have found our perfect saddle. Now ... to pick out a color.

**Boyds, MD USA:

I rode in the saddle Thursday and found it to be very comfortable and balanced. The horse I rode seemed comfortable and willing also so that was super nice. :) Thanks so very much for the opportunity to ride in the saddle. I really did like it very much!

It was lovely that the stirrups were long enough for me which rarely happens. As a full time dressage rider/trainer I was impressed that my leg could hang comfortably down around the horse and I did not struggle to get my leg on and use it properly which I have not been able to do in other saddles. So, I think you all have done a great job!

**Deer Prairie, FL USA:

I have submitted my custom saddle order details. I'm sooo excited! Never been this excited about a saddle before but having the chance to ride the trails in it, SOLD me! Thanks again!