The driving pad, or saddle, is of a traditional design with a modern twist!
The nicely shaped pad has a metal tree and is stuffed with wool rather than rubber. Wool not only ‘breathes’, it will move and shape to the horse’s contour whereas rubber always tries to push back to its original form. We have paid particular attention to the back edge which is where saddlery tests have shown up significant pressure points. Pads have tended to get narrower over the years having been copied from show harness which was designed to show off as much of the animal as possible. Old harness was wider to spread the load for working animals. We have gone for a good medium width here – wider than many but not so wide it looks chunky and out of proportion.
The pad has a sliding back band, for a two wheel carriage, attached to quick release tugs. This is to allow them to be used for traditional shafts and also modern carriages with loops on the end of shafts.
The tugs can be quick release or conventional. The tug is then attached to the belly band.
The girth has traditionally not received much attention in driving circles, where riders long ago recognised its importance for comfort. Again we have gone for something a little wider than the norm so as to spread the load more evenly. It is solid leather. Just above the top of the girth there is a leather sleeve which is for the bellyband to pass through when using independent shafts on a four wheel carriage. This sleeve prevents the tug from sliding up and down too much and stops the tug slipping off the pad and pinching the horse.
The girth on the pony, cob and horse size are all shaped, well padded and 4 inches wide spreading the pressure created more efficiently.
The buckle for the girth has two slots, the lower is for the girth strap using the tongue to secure, the upper slot is for the belly band to pass through then attach to the belly band buckle below. This is so the belly band stays on the girth and does not slip either in front or behind the girth and pinch the horse.