Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Priscilla and I having fun in our Excel!

Priscilla is a 15 year old Friesian mare. She had a foal last spring a lost a lot of weight while nursing. When she was ready to go back to work, her old saddle didn't fit her anymore. I looked at a lot of different treed saddles, but we couldn't find one we both liked. Besides, I was concerned that her back was going to change a lot and wanted a saddle that would evolve with her.

I decided to go with the Ansur Excel and we are both extremely happy with it. It allows me to have a very correct position, and her to use her back freely. Her anatomy changed drastically in the last months, and the saddle fit her at every step. As a major plus, it also fits my 9 year old thoroughbred mare!
 ~Veronique Noe

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Westernaires Go Global

UK ladies enjoy riding their Westernaires

 Here is what riders from the UK have to say:

Amanda: "The saddle is great. Pony going well in it. No more pics yet as I am on own when I ride, so haveing to wait unitl someone is here. Then you can say, hey look, even 13hh Fell ponies wear then too !

Also will hopefully be putting in another order int next year once the farm is sold so my other pony can have her own saddle too .Its great to ride with no back or hip pain!!"

Annie: "Just to let you know that my saddle has arrived! I am thrilled with it, it fits Tiff beautifully and is so comfortable to ride in. Well worth waiting for!!"

Mandy: My first ride on Saturday ... Sunny was great, we met numerous life threatening obstacles (cows, squirrels, sheep, round bales and a discarded fridge). He shied at a few things and scooted forwards but nothing dire. I felt quite secure in the saddle when he shied, and the stirrups caused no pressure at all thanks to your tips on twisting a broom handle.

Val writes: I just LOVE these saddles...all the different styles....I am now saving for number 6!!!! None of my horses will ever be asked to go in anything else.

Annie, on the black and white cob, was too nervous to ride last year and now looks like she was born on the horse. Her Westernaire is particularly lovely. I think they all look better for use and her has lots of hours on it......All were delighted with their saddles, none more so than me.....

Friday, July 13, 2012

July 12, 2012


The July, 2012 issue of USDF Magazine includes an article authored by Dr. Hillary Clayton com
paring pressure measurements on horse’s backs from a treed and a treeless saddle. We think the article contains several fallacies and inaccuracies.

Please remember: There are treed saddles, there are treeless saddles and there are Ansur® saddles.

We offer our distributors the following thoughts about any claims or conclusions derived from any test purporting to demonstrate rider pressure transmitted through a saddle on to the horse’s back.

1. Question the use of the term "pressure":

If we don’t want any pressure on our horse’s backs, we shouldn’t ride them. We do need to recognize the difference between acceptable pressure from a rider’s equally distributed weight and unacceptable pressure points caused by a rigid structure in treed saddles. A properly conducted test of a centered rider’s pressure (weight) on a moving horse transmitted through an Ansur® saddle will show the outline of the rider’s seat and thighs. This pressure cannot be considered "bad" unless there is agreement that people shouldn’t sit on horses.

On the other hand, the same test will often show transmission of pressure points from treed saddles, most particularly when the horse turns, changes direction or speed, launches or lands on the downstride. It is these pressure points (usually from one or more corners of the rigid tree) that horses react so badly to and which can cause them major back pain. It is impossible to "fit" a rigid frame or tree inside a saddle to a moving horse.

To fit a moving horse, the saddle must be able to flex and bend with the horse’s movements – not remain rigid and static. A rigid, static frame in a saddle will either slide over or poke into the moving horse’s back.
2. Be skeptical of testing reports that over generalize:

A) "My treeless test saddle is just like all other treeless saddles and
B) My treeless saddle tested positive for pressure points on my horse’s backs, therefore
C) all treeless saddles create pressure points on all horse’s backs."

The fallacy here is obvious – not all saddles are alike. There are treed saddles, there are treeless saddles and there are Ansur® saddles. Ansur® saddles are the only "treeless" saddles with a patented FlexCore internal structure that protects the horses back while supporting the rider. A properly conducted pressure test on any Ansur® saddle will show the pressure outline of the rider’s seat and thighs, not the painful pressure points caused by the four corners of a treed saddle.

In the fifteen years of our making "no tree" fully flexible saddles and with thousands of our saddles in use around the world, we have not found one documented case of our saddles hurting a horse’s back.

Riders who overtighten girths and cinches on our saddles just as they were used to doing with their old treed saddles will cause their horses discomfort. As with any saddle, the saddle pad under an Ansur® needs to be properly sized to extend a few inches in front and behind the saddle.

3. Really???

Always question saddle pressure testing claims when there is no detailed description or documentation describing test procedures, controls, and methodology. Proper documentation will ensure thorough testing of a variety of saddles in a full range of horse gaits and maneuvers. All the tack used in the test including saddle pads and girths needs to be described as well as the pad placement and tightness of the girths. Merely trotting a few horses in a straight line under one or two saddles will not in our opinion produce any valid test results.

The testing equipment used for the pressure tests should be identified and calibration settings
revealed. The breeds and performance level of horses, skill level of riders, test area footing and riding movements of test horses are also significant pieces of test documentation.

4. Question the purpose or motive of the tester.

Is it to prove a preconceived outcome or belief? Many in the equestrian field are firmly locked in to their own set of beliefs and will find test results or anecdotal evidence to prove their point. There are fervent and strongly held beliefs in the horse world that cannot be changed with any amount of new information. One of these notions is that saddles must have rigid trees in them to "distribute the weight." If that is the case, why do horses almost always free up their stride, round up their backs and bring their hindquarters further under them when their rigid tree saddle is replaced with an Ansur´Ż« saddle?

We firmly maintain no rigid frame or tree in a horse saddle can be made to "fit" a moving horse.

It can only fit when the horse is standing square, level and equally weighted on all four legs. But what about a horse that is bending, jumping, landing or going around barrels, and other obstacles? How will a treed saddle bend, flex and conform to the horse’s changing back shape and spinal column in a dressage pirouette or "shoulder in"? It can’t!

A rigid internal frame (tree) inside a saddle always maintains its straight, rigid shape while transferring the rider’s weight (pressure) toward one or more corners (pressure points) of the tree as the horse changes direction, speed or alignment. This rigid characteristic is what causes horses discomfort and restriction of their movement.

That is why observers often see horses moving with hollow backs, heads up and hindquarters strung out behind in an effort to protect themselves from treed saddle pain. 

5. Question the significance of the test results.

Are the findings and conclusions of the reported test really important? Do they translate into anything meaningful for your horse or you? The word "pressure" often raises red flags of concern when in fact we know there will be pressure on the horse’s back if we sit there. The significant issues are whether there is normal seated rider pressure or something abnormal that will cause the horse discomfort or injury.


Trust and listen to your horse! If the animal shows signs of discomfort, unwillingness to move forward or perform normal and ordinary movements, look for a problem. If not, don’t allow the latest findings from self‐proclaimed experts or alleged scientific studies force you to fix things that aren’t broken!

We again emphasize that in the fifteen years of Ansur® saddle usage; there are no documented cases of injury or damage caused to horses’ backs by our properly placed and girthed saddles.

Yours Truly For The Horse’s Health
And The Rider’s Enjoyment,

Carole Weidner, President

Ansur® Saddlery Northwest, LLC

800 987 1545


Sunday, May 27, 2012

The ROO, Ansur's new hot trail saddle!

Ansur Saddlery Northwest, LLC
Introduces...The "ROO"

May 18, 2012
Hi Folks!
By popular demand and continual requests, Ansur Saddlery Northwest has researched, designed, tested and is now offering a NEW AUSTRALIAN TRAIL SADDLE. Our very own saddlers here in Camas, WA are ready to build one for you or your customers!
Affectionately known as “The Roo”……it is an “Aussie” style saddle that rides like a dream and is going to be an outstanding choice for riders who spend long hours in their saddles. This saddle will go the distance for Endurance, Competitive Trail as well as pleasure riders. It is designed to let you sit in a comfortable, relaxed position for long periods of time.
This saddle, like all our other models, is fully flexible in all directions…. using FlexCore technology. And, like all our others, it is made entirely in the US.
The Roo will sell for $4150….($4500 with a hand carved border of your choice.)

When selecting your size, choose the size you would ride in an English type saddle. (This is generally 2” larger than the size you would ride in a western type saddle.)
We recommend an Equalizer girth and simple dressage pad or a western cinch and a wool Navaho pad be used with this model.
This saddle is not yet pictured on our website. Please call our office with your questions or if you are interested in placing an order. 800 987 1545 We will have the first “Roos” ready to ship in approximately 8 – 10 weeks from day of order. Payment may be in full or one half down and the balance when the saddle is ready to ship.
Please feel free to send this informational sheet to any of your riders that have expressed an interest in this type of saddle.
Kind Regards from your Ansur Saddle team!

Standard Features for The "Roo"

  • FlexCore inner structure for rider support and horse protection
  • Trauma absorption layering system for additional horse protection
  • Dark chestnut leather
  • 24 - 25” over all length for seat sizes up to 17” (Larger sizes will increase overall length accordingly)
  • Weighs approximately 25#
  • 4.5” Cantle
  • Super comfy, deep seat
  • Double Cee Rigg
  • Accommodates either English girth or western cinch
  • Leather covered metal stirrups (pictured)
  • 3 sets of rings and strings per side
  • Natural sheepskin on the underside
  • Optional Features
    • Specially designed, matching saddle bag
    • Other colors of leather
    • Suede seat
    • Silver trim
    • Full Tooling
    • Others? Just ask us

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    I have the Ansur!

    Blog reprinted courstesy of Shannon Mazourek:

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    I have the Ansur!
                                And it is beautiful!

    I received it last Saturday and have been holding off on posting about it so I could give an educated opinion. So far my educated opinion is that I love it. It's very comfortable for me (though it did take a few rides for my legs to get used to being under me instead of in front of me) and best of all Coriander seems to be pretty happy with it. Our mutual communication is clear as a bell in this saddle too, he has been super responsive to my tiniest signals, especially at the halt: I exhale and start to sit and he's already stopping. It's also easier for me to feel my diagonals, something I've always had a hard time with.

    We had a lovely experience with it last week when I put the Ansur on him and ponied Gwen with one of the Crosbys. I wanted her to get some more dynamic movement with a saddle on so we did more trotting and even tried a canter. There I was on Coriander who had a lovely rocking-horse canter on the buckle and Gwen was cantering away right next to us. It was wonderful.

    I'll just ignore that he was a bit pitchy last night, though it did give us a chance to work on halt/trot transitions going downhill. If he's going to buck at the canter then by golly he's going to work until he doesn't feel like bucking anymore. Don't feel bad for him, he was mad at me for not going where he wanted and it was a lot cooler than the last time I rode so he was feeling uppity. It was just one more test for the saddle- which stayed in place through it all.
    I am having issues with my girth, I can't seem to get it tight enough. It doesn't have any elastic and has lots of loops to keep the flaps down, that makes it a little hard for me to tighten it adequately from the ground and I can't do it at all from the saddle. I've reached down mid-ride and found the girth that was tight when I got on hanging loosely under his belly. Shockingly the saddle still felt stable with only a little slippage. Still, I've just ordered another girth so that problem should be fixed next week. (Ed. note: Ansur recommends the equalizer dressage girth and has them 800-987-1545)

    Gwen's worn it too, though I haven't gotten on her yet. I tacked her up with it last night, brought her to the mounting block and asked for neck flexions. Then I leaned over the saddle a bit, slapped it and moved the stirrups around. She was feeling a bit spooky and I was feeling a lot chicken so I didn't swing a leg over. My timeline for that is sometime in the next two weeks, when she's feeling soft and I'm feeling confident it will happen. Or I'll stock up on Valium, whichever comes first.
    So far so good, I'm hoping for many years of happiness with this saddle!

    Ramblings courtesy of smazourek at 1:12 PM 19 Thoughts

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Shannon Mazourek's Blog on "Why I bought an Ansur"

    Reprinted with permission from Shannon Mazourek:

    Thursday, April 7, 2011Why I bought an Ansur

    I should have my Crossover in 13 weeks, that would be this saddle that I posted a few weeks ago. It's... um... *quite the investment* but I knew after I tested it out that it would be worth it.
    Mine will look like this but in brown

     I'm fortunate that there's a distributor less than an hour away from me with a large collection of Ansur saddles, not to mention the assortment of Ansur saddles owned by all the people who board with her.

    When I arrived there were two boarders riding in the ring, one riding dressage on a spirited freisan and one riding hunt seat on a cremello quarter-horse type. Both were riding in Ansurs. The woman on the friesan came by and spoke to me for a few minutes, telling me all about her saddle quest. She went through 4 different custom made saddles, one of them a Schleese, before she tried the Ansur. Now she rides in the Ansur exclusively and has a bunch of really expensive custom-made treed saddles gathering dust.

    I then got the chance to inspect one of the saddles. I was quite impressed, for one thing the leather was thick yet supple, it had a very substantial feel.While I was poking and prodding away at it, the distributor came over and said, "watch this." She then grabbed the saddle and bent the pommel towards the cantle. I have to admit I was a little shocked, I knew it was treeless but for some reason I wasn't expecting that. It makes sense that the saddle should bend like that though, doesn't it? Everyone aims to get a horse to move with the back up, shouldn't the saddle allow that movement?

    We then went down the barn and she told me about the histories of her horses and what a difference the saddles made for them, from burnt out western pleasure horses to hunters with old injuries to ponies that had been given away because they were so awful to ride. Rachel Fleszar's horses are in her barn, remember that video? She's third in the nation now for junior pony jumpers- and she rides in an Ansur.

    She got out an older school horse for me to try it out on, an appaloosa with no spots that beginners regularly ride. He looked like a pleasant, everyday sort of horse that was a little sleepy. She popped her saddle on his back and we went into the ring. I slid onboard and noticed immediately how much legs naturally fell underneath me, I didn't have any feeling of fighting for my balance like I sometimes have in my ancient Crosby. Then we walked off, the horse immediately went into a swinging forward rhythm with no hint of sluggishness. Then I asked him to trot, I was initially posting, so the distributor suggested I try sitting. All was well until we came to the long side and that horse opened up! I used to think I could sit to the trot, now I know I can't. That horse was TROTTING and I was bouncing around hopelessly on his back like a rag doll. THAT is what my dressage trainer is talking about when she says forward- I get it now! (I was also wondering how in the heck beginners stay on that trot.) You know what? While I being astounded by the way that horse moved, I completely forgot about the saddle. Which is a good thing, if it was uncomfortable there wouldn't have been any way I could have forgotten it.

    An aside- I realized at this time just how many horses I've ridden that don't go forward. I've never ridden a trot like that in a ring before. The biggest trot I've ever ridden was years ago on Radal during a competitive trail ride when he really wanted to move; I couldn't even post to that, I just stood in the stirrups. Coriander will move out if we're on the trail and he's got competition. But I've never ridden a lesson horse that moved like that appy with the Ansur.

    After my test ride I asked to see her lesson saddles, which are all Ansurs, I wanted to see how these saddles hold up to hard use. Every single one of them looked just as good as her personal saddle. There was no wearing on the leather, no cracking, no warping. They looked great. I even asked her to show me her oldest Ansur, which just happened to be the 201st saddle they ever made, and it looked just as good as her newer saddles- and she'd bought it used!

    I was sold, and I bought one the next day (Which just happened to be the day before they had to raise prices 4.5%, phew!). This might have been a crazy decision since I haven't tried it on Coriander, but in preparation for my test ride I took him out with the bareback pad and really compared how he went in that versus my Crosby. I noticed that he's much more willing to stride out with the bareback pad. Hmm...

    There's also the fact that he has zip-zero topline right now. Any treed saddle that I bought to fit his back now wouldn't fit once he builds some muscle. But check out the underside of the saddle I bought:

    The gullet is completely flexible, that saddle would lie flat if you put it on the floor with the flaps out. The flexibility in the gullet means that the saddle should easily accommodate any muscle gains in his back.

    Theoretically this saddle should fit every horse I put it on and I should never have to get it restuffed or reshaped to fit a changing back. Plus it should last until I'm too old to ride anymore. If my new saddle lives up to that, then it will be more than worth the purchase price.

    (But if he hates it I have 7 days to send the saddle back. I'm really hoping he likes it.)

    *BTW- I don't work for Ansur and they aren't giving me anything for free, I was just really impressed.

    Posted by smazourek at 12:45 PM

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    The Inevitable Price Increases

    Ansur and Northwestern Saddle are finally having to increase the prices of saddles. They haven't done it  but twice in the last 15 years and have held out until their accountants are yelling at them.

    We have received notifications of price increases of 4 - 8% on nearly all the materials we use to produce Ansur saddles. Therefore, as of April 1, 2011, we are reluctantly raising all of our prices by 4.5%. Current prices will apply to all orders received by midnight March 31, 2011, PST.
    In Shop Talk, The Leather Retailers' and Manufacturers' Journal, there is an article discussing the rising cost of hides trend. They quoted a news item from "why leather suppliers simply have little recourse but to raise prices." They go on to say that the cost of  Heavy Native Steer hides have increased by over 18% and the availiblity has decreased since the grains that feed the cattle have dramatically increased. The farmer's can't afford to feed them to maturity and are sending them to slaughter at a younger age....hence thinner hides.

    The structual integrity of making Ansur and Northwestern treeless saddles depends on those thicker hides. Therefore the price increases of leather and other materials used in making the saddles plus the rising costs of just doing business (salaries, insurance, etc. for employees) are inevitable. We are all experiencing this trend. Everytime I go to the mailbox, there is another announcement that a service is increasing rates. At least with Ansur/Northwestern Saddles, you get the highest quality materials and finest quality craftsmanship in the construction of your saddle....made exactly the way you want it!