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Empire dealers Dealerday 2024
◆ 6 June 2024
Empire dealer day June 2024

Last Monday, June 3, it was already time for Empire’s third dealer day at Kim Noordijk’s beautiful location in Galder. Almost all the dealers were present and it was clear that we have grown considerably in recent years. What began as a small club has now grown into a large, enthusiastic group.

The day began with a bit of theory on filling saddles, as it is always good to refresh the basic knowledge. Then we got down to a practical exercise: one horse was saddled from head to toe. We looked at everything from tree shape and balance to tree size and padding. Of course, we also observed how the horse moved under the saddle and how the rider sat – balanced, unimpeded, with proper seat size and perfect wrongs. It was very nice to see that even with a young horse that has only been under saddle for 6 weeks, we got a big difference in the movement mechanics when testing with different saddles.

After a well-deserved lunch break, during which we socialized, the saddlefitters went to work in three groups with different rider-horse combinations. This gave everyone a chance to put into practice what we had discussed in the morning. We saw all different types of horse backs pass by, which made for interesting and educational moments.

It was a day full of valuable experiences and new insights. It was great to see everyone engaged with such enthusiasm and commitment. All in all, it was a very successful dealer day and we are already looking forward to the next one!

◆ 5 December 2023
Does your girth have the right length?

Proper girth length is essential for the comfort and performance of both horse and rider. A well-fitting girth keeps your saddle in place, preventing discomfort and injury.

Why is girth length important?

An ill-fitting girth can chafe, pinch or even cause movement restrictions. In addition, it can affect the rider’s stability and balance, which in turn affects communication with the horse. A well-fitting girth provides a better connection between rider and horse, improving the performance and well-being of both.

How do you determine the right length?

Choosing the correct girth length requires attention to your horse’s anatomy. Here are some steps to determine the right length:

  1. Determine the position of your horse’s elbow: This is a crucial step to ensure that the girth is not too close to the elbow, which can cause chafing and discomfort.
  2. Make sure the buckles are above the elbow: This helps to prevent pressure points and distributes pressure evenly across the horse’s chest.
  3. Place the girth about a hand width behind the elbow: This gives your horse plenty of freedom of movement and prevents pinching.

Checking the fit

After lacing up, it is important to keep a close eye on your horse’s behavior:

  • During hitching: Watch for signs of discomfort or resistance.
  • During warm-up and riding: Observe if your horse has an even gait and shows no signs of discomfort.
  • After riding: Check for chafing, hair loss or swelling around the girth area.

Regular checking of the girth and saddle is crucial, especially as your horse goes through changes in weight or muscle development. A well-fitting girth contributes to your horse’s comfort.

Professional help in choosing the right girth

While trying on a saddle, you and your saddle fitter can test different girths to find the best fit for your horse. Our saddle fitters are trained to look not only at the saddle, but also at the correct girth, so that you and your horse can perform at your best. Take the time to choose the right girth length and check the fit regularly to ensure your horse is comfortable and free to move.

◆ 21 August 2023
Never hesitate again: This is how to place your saddle perfectly on your horse's back!

A properly placed saddle will prevent discomfort and injury to your horse. A common mistake when saddling a horse is putting the saddle too far forward. If the saddle is too far forward, it can restrict the movement of the shoulder and cause pain. This can lead to resistance, uneven gait and even long-term injuries. By placing your saddle correctly, you ensure that your horse can move freely and prevent injuries. Doubting whether you are laying your saddle down properly? Follow these steps:

4 steps to put your saddle in the right place

  1. Determine the position of your horse’s shoulder: Feel the front of your horse’s shoulder with your hand. The shoulder blade edge is a good indication of where to start.
  2. Note the shoulder movement for proper saddle position: Lift your horse’s leg and extend it forward. This allows you to feel how far back the scapula moves. It is important for the shoulder to rotate freely and not be obstructed by the saddle.
  3. Find the tree tip (the basic structure of the saddle): This is the hardest part of the saddle, just below the front cushions. You need to position this point.
  4. Place the saddle with the tree tip 3-5 cm behind the shoulder: This ensures that the shoulder can move freely and that the saddle does not lie too far forward.

Key points that ensure your saddle stays in place

A well-fitting saddle stays in place during work and allows your horse to move comfortably and freely. The proper fit of a saddle depends on several factors:

  • The right tree size and fit: A saddle that fits your horse’s back properly prevents pressure points and ensures even weight distribution.
  • Well-fitting cushions: Cushions should fit snugly on your horse’s back and apply even pressure.
  • Correct position of girth struts and appropriate girth: The girth must be in the correct position to keep the saddle stable without pinching.

Get help from your saddle fitter

Have you gone through these steps and still have doubts about whether you’re putting your saddle in the right place? Ask your saddle fitter for help!

◆ 18 August 2023
Photo shoot Veerle de Meyer and Eline Segers

A fun photo shoot was scheduled today with Empire saddle fitter Veerle de Meyer of Passend zadel and her client Eline Segers. Together with photographer Sorcha Tijmons of Colour Focus, we traveled to sunny Belgium and held a photo shoot at a beautiful location. Eline rides her nice mare with the Empire Maratha. What beautiful photos!

◆ 1 June 2023
Studio shoot with Swarovski and lacquer!

It was time to take a hard look at the options! From matte croco, to Swarovski stardust and a crystal chain. Photographer Sorcha Tijmons of Colourfocus used her skill to capture our saddles beautifully, including our newest model, the Empire Aztec. Here’s a sneak peek in advance!

◆ 31 May 2023
Check your saddle: Avoid these 3 common saddle problems

A well-fitting saddle is essential for your horse’s comfort and health as well as your riding enjoyment. But even with the best saddle, problems can arise if it is not properly maintained or checked. Do you check your saddle occasionally for these common problems?

1. Uneven Filling

One of the most common problems is uneven padding in the cushions of your saddle. This can cause pressure points and lead to discomfort for your horse while riding. Be sure to have your saddle checked regularly and refilled or refilled if necessary.

2. Crooked or Shifted Saddle

A crooked or shifted saddle can upset your balance and hinder your horse while riding. Check your girth regularly to make sure it is properly tightened and position your saddle correctly on your horse’s back. Also, always use a stool when mounting to evenly distribute the pressure on your saddle.

3. Damaged Stirrup Straps.

Damaged or uneven stirrup straps can not only be unsafe, but also interfere with your balance while riding. Inspect your stirrup straps regularly for wear or damage and replace them if necessary to avoid accidents.

By regularly checking your saddle for these problems, you can ensure that both you and your horse can ride comfortably and safely. Prevention here is always better than cure!

◆ 5 May 2023
Photo shoot Manu de Brauwer and Marcus Bergez

Today we had another photo shoot scheduled to feature Empire dealer Manu de Brauwer of In Balance Saddle Fitting and his customer, eventing rider Marcus Bergez. Together with photographer Sorcha Tijmons, we traveled to the very beautiful location of Sport Vlaanderen Waregem.

Manu has been active in equestrian sports as a dressage and jumping rider for many years and is also an MSFC certified saddle fitter. With his background and knowledge, he can provide riders at all levels with a well-fitting saddle. Marcus Bergez rides his horses during dressage training and trials with the Empire Omani.

◆ 21 April 2023
Photo shoot Yaël Reijnders

Today was scheduled for a fantastically fun photo shoot with Yaël Reijnders of Het Ruiterhuis by Yaël. Photographer Sorcha Tijmons of Colour Focus was on hand to photograph Yaël with her beautiful horses. Yaël has been riding all her horses with our saddles for several years and we are proud that this Grand Prix rider has chosen our brand!

◆ 4 April 2023
Annual Empire dealer day led by Ergonomie Equestre

At Empire Saddles, we are committed to the ongoing training and support of our dealers. In addition to guiding our dealers individually, we organize an inspiring dealer day every year. On Monday, April 3, 2023, our annual Empire Saddles Dealer Day took place, and what a great day it was! Almost all of our dealers attended, and it turned out to be an educational and inspiring meeting.

Special Guest: Eugènie Cottereau

This time we had the honor of welcoming Eugènie Cottereau of Ergonomie Equestre from France. Eugènie is an authority on the rider’s posture and seat and has trained as many as 30 saddle fitters. Her deep expert knowledge and passion for ergonomics brought a wealth of insights during the dealer day.

The day began with an engaging theoretical session in which Eugènie shared her vision and knowledge. Topics ranged from the anatomy of the horse to the ideal rider’s seat and its impact on performance. Jolanda and Eugènie had recently conducted saddle consultations together, resulting in practical and very useful information for our dealers.

Practical Workshops

After a delicious lunch, where we had a chance to network and exchange experiences, we went to work in the indoor hall in the afternoon. Under the expert guidance of Eugènie, we worked with different combinations of riders and horses. The hands-on workshops provided a valuable opportunity to see theory in practice and experience how small adjustments can make big differences.

◆ 5 March 2023
Keep your saddle in top condition: 5 tips!

With proper maintenance, you can enjoy your saddle even longer. Here are five handy tips to make sure your saddle stays in top condition:

1. Clean after use

After riding, it is important to clean the saddle. First remove dirt and dust with a soft brush or dry cloth. Then you can use a damp cloth to wipe away the sweat. This prevents sweat residue from damaging the leather and causing tears.

2. Choose the right saddle support

When storing your saddle, the choice of saddle support is very important. Choose a support that leaves the cushions free to avoid denting. Your horse may suffer from dented cushions, as the saddle will sag faster around the withers and no longer fit optimally on the back!

3. Don’t overdo greasing

Use a gentle leather balm to maintain your saddle regularly, but don’t overdo it. Too much fat can cause your girth struts to stretch quickly.

4. Step up with a stool

To preserve your saddle, step up using a step stool. That way you won’t skew your saddle.

5. Store your saddle dry

Store your saddle in a well-ventilated area and never let your cover dry under your saddle. This is because moisture can soak into the wool of pillows, reducing their resilience.

These simple tips will keep your Empire saddle in top condition while your horse enjoys optimal comfort. Have fun driving! 🤎🖤

◆ 1 March 2023
New model: Empire Aztec

Wow! How happy we are with this model, the Empire Aztec. This saddle is specially designed for horses with high to very high withers. The shape of the saddle tree, combined with the cushions, makes it easy to create a correct balance point. We made sure when designing the tree to have a wide twist, so that your horse has enough room around the (base of) the withers and can make a good wither elevator.

The cushions have a wide chamber and because they are filled with wool, they can be accurately adjusted to your horse’s back for optimal pressure distribution and balance. And through the TreeClix system, the tree size can be adjusted by up to 4cm.

The Aztec’s deep seat provides an extremely stable and confident feel, giving optimal control. The singleflap design gives maximum close contact feel. The extra soft knee rolls, available in different lengths, subtly supports you without hindering you. In addition, the position and length of the sweat sheet can be adjusted according to your needs to allow for optimal posture and seating.

We have already tested it with a few riders and they were very happy with how their horses felt and how they themselves could easily sit in balance in this saddle. Would you also like to learn about the Empire Aztec? Then schedule an appointment with one of our dealers soon.

◆ 31 August 2022
Photo shoot Frederieke Biemans and Delphine Meiresonne

Today a very nice photo shoot with Belgian Grandprix rider Delphine Meiresonne was scheduled. Photographer Kim van Garderen of KVG Photography photographed Delphine and her horse Diva. Of course, her saddle fitter Frederieke Biemans of Bie-Fit was also present.

We really like that Delphine is so pleased with her Empire Omani. She has this to say about it herself:

I always assume that a horse is not just “naughty” and I think it is very important to listen to what a horse is “telling” you.
Over the years, I have discovered that a well-fitting saddle can prevent many problems for both horse and rider. And that is exactly what I think is the strength of Empire! So much thought and testing went into it…. It is also important that they remain open to discussion to make any adjustments to get the best out of horse and rider.
The Empire Omani made me feel like I could sit in the saddle and let my horse, Diva, perform naturally with a top-notch feel. She has stopped grinding her teeth and she puts her hind leg further under, which makes for a better connection from back to front. This makes her flying canter changes almost effortless and she makes far fewer mistakes. So: happy horse = happy rider.

◆ 23 August 2022
Our first Empire dealer day!

Wow what fun! Our first Empire dealer day at Kim Noordijk’s barn. An educational, but mostly enjoyable day, during which we looked, among other things, at the different trees and pillows that can be ordered from Empire.

Proper saddle fit is critical to both your horse’s performance and well-being. That’s why Empire Saddles offers 6 different saddle models, each with their own tree and fit. Ranging from horses that are wide to narrow, have short backs or high withers, and everything in between. Regardless of your horse’s anatomy: at Empire, we start with the right tree as a foundation. This is the first, important, step toward a comfortable dressage saddle.

After choosing the right saddle tree, we move on to choosing the right cushions. Our saddles have a large supporting surface, which minimizes pressure on the horse’s back and allows the horse to perform at its maximum potential. During the production of the saddles, we can also have adjustments made to the shape of the cushion for a custom fit!

◆ 23 June 2020
New: all saddles adjustable with TreeClix

From July 2020, all models of Empire by BB will come with the TreeClix system! TreeClix is a completely new system that allows you to adjust the width of the saddle tree to develop with your horse.

Through the use of TreeClix on all our Empire models, it is possible to narrow and widen the saddle, without having to press the tree of your saddle.
Big advantage of this is that the life of your saddle tree is significantly extended, as using TreeClix does not involve a higher risk of breakage, unlike pressing.

If you have a horse that changes condition easily throughout the year, your saddle fitter with TreeClix will be able to change your saddle with it. It eliminates the need for underpads and guarantees a perfect fit!

◆ 24 September 2019
New model: Empire Omani

New to the collection: the Empire Omani. What a stunner of a saddle!

The Empire Omani is specially designed for horses with medium to high withers and a wide spine. The saddle tree is tailored to this anatomy, providing optimal shoulder freedom and comfort during every movement.

For the rider, this model offers a deeper seat for a stable and secure position without restricting. Because of the singleflap, the saddle gives you a close contact feel. The Omani has a sweat pad tilted a little further forward, with an integrated knee rise. This wrong gives a lot of freedom as well as support. Because of the soft foam, you always feel contact with the curb, without being forced.

Got curious? Request a fitting consultation with one of our dealers.


View our saddles

Our collection consists of 6 models, on different trees and cushions and with different options for seat depth, knee rolls and sweat pad position.