A client review ....

I get lots of messages from clients as they write their own TCS Story. I open each one with a little trepidation. No, not because I’m really not confident about the response they might give to their TCS because they just seem to be good all of the while, however, I know that one time one might not be - it’s a simple rule of averages that there will be one sometime. I’m grateful for each and every one and I read them with humility as folk tell me about how the ‘simple bit of leather’ has changed their horse’s behaviour, improved performance, helped them connect with their horse again or even just allowed them to ride again and overcome a physical barrier they faced in enjoying their time with their horse.

This review came in from a client “NTH” who lives in the UK. It’s unedited - apart from bits of punctuation to suit the needs of this blog - and she’s given me her permission to use the text. Read what she has to say. The images are her horse ….

Natalie Hamer 1.jpg

“Its taken me this long to post this- partly because I have no time and partly because I was dubious about the response and didn’t want to deal with backlash etc. Everyone is entitled to an opinion! I had one initially too but I am open minded and I triple check everything daily to ensure Zee is happy and would never cause unnecessary harm to her whatsoever!

So anyways, the total contact saddle (TCS). Now before anyone judges, keep an open mind. When I first looked into the TCS, my initial reaction was quite literally “absolutely NOT! No way! The pressure would be horrendous not to mention the mess it would make to my riding”, fast forward a few months and several trips to the chiropractor with severe back and hip pain, a good few tears shed and an almost “for loan” advert, I decided to do some research.

I started with my saddle. My backside is so large that I’m restricted to move and I’m fighting to keep my back straight. I have extremely tight hips and can’t engage my gluts correctly to sit deep enough. So I concluded a bigger seat would solve my issues. This is true, however, money doesn’t grow on trees and I needed something for now so I could save. Again, the TCS pops up, reasonably priced and promising to solve my issues I decided to really look into it. 

I don’t take research lightly. My degree was based on research so a quick Google doesn’t cut it for me! Four months of research, (Google, online forums, papers, my chiropractor (who also has consulted colleagues/ friends one of whom is an equine physio and one an equine chiropractor, plus she herself researched everything possible)- we looked at pressure, we looked at movement with both horse and rider and we looked at weight distribution etc plus about a million emails back and forth with Stuart who is most helpful) I concluded I would try it on the week trial basis. So, the ‘saddle’ arrives and I’m thinking this is ridiculous and it’s not going to do either any good! But, I needed to do something, I was starting to hate the thing I was most passionate about! So I try it! (Image with the black numnah - the air pad was used as I didn’t have a gel pad at the time - No, the gel pad isn’t there because it digs in, it’s purely because it’s a slippery piece of leather, and I can fully confirm this 😂). I am in no way lying when I say this... what an improvement!! In both me, and Zee! My seat improved a 1000%! I was actually sat correctly! I could engage my seat so much more efficiently! Zee was far more accepting of the aids and didn’t seem to avoid the contact as such. Even Nan noticed a difference and said I looked like I could actually ride again 😂 (she’s my biggest critic). So, delighted and finally having my mojo back, I decided to try again the following day! 

Day 2 wasn’t great. I won’t lie. Zee was in season and we clash then anyway, and I hurt. Not my usual agonising pain where I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus and need cracking like a glow stick, but more of a ‘I’ve done 10 leg days in a row down the gym and can’t walk’. Where I had been fighting myself for so long, my body was fighting back with unused muscles! (I had a little cry in the shower that night 😂). So day 3 and 4 were an improvement on day 2 but still not as great as day 1! (Every day I was checking her back for lumps, bumps and patches so I can 100% confirm it’s because she’s a cow in season and not a rubbing issue!) 
Day 5,6 and 7- AMAZING!! We manage to leg yield correctly and everything starts falling into place!! So, I decide to purchase this saddle. Fast forward a few days and I go back to the chiropractor... she herself comments on the improvement in me, though I still have some issues, it’s not a magic wand that’ll solve everything in a week and rather than going every week/two weeks, I’m now going when I need to! 

Natalie Hamer 2.jpg

In conclusion, I’m just trying to point out that having an open mind to things and just changing a thought process can make a difference! Not going to lie here- this was July time and we have had 3 weeks off due to life but I’m finally feeling optimistic about things and always looking forward to a ride now rather than it being a chore! I know it’s not BD legal, and probably never will be. And for me, this is not a long term solution, it’s a stop gap until I can get a saddle made for Zee and I and for training purposes (I probably only ride for 45 minutes tops), but I must say, at this point in time, this has been the best decision I’ve made in a while! I’d spend nights crying and hating what I was doing! Don’t get me wrong, Zee is my superstar but I couldn’t help wishing that Amber was still going (she’s an absolute biatch by the way- next person to say she’s a breeze will get a kick😂😂). There’s no guarantee that this will yield the same results for me in about 6 months time, but as it stands I’m chuffed with the results and will continue to use the TCS until I feel I need to stop (whether that be competitive reasons or because it’s not working for us anymore). But, I can honestly say, the TCS has had no effect in terms of physical issues such as pressure problems or rubbing issues on Zee, and to be honest that’s the only proof I’m happy with!

This is an honest post from someone who’s so “just so” with her ponies. They aren’t even allowed to eat out of ‘dirty’ buckets and they’re gear gets washed more than my jumpers 😂 Also, can I get some appreciation for those perfectly wrapped bandages 😉😉 they took me 35 minutes"

So there you have it. A detailed part of her TCS Story so far. It’s not unique as I say and all of the TCS Stories I get are placed on the Facebook page - Total Contact Equine Solutions - all are unedited and as they come in to me.

Just one small thing …. BD do allow treeless saddles in their rule book (correct as at 2019) and the Total Contact Saddle is a treeless saddle. Other clients have used it with success in affiliated and unaffiliated competition. Sometimes an arena steward will need reminding about their own rule book entry but most of the time they don’t even notice the TCS because it’s so discrete ! :-)

Thank you for reading and if you’re anything like “NTH” maybe this will give you the encouragement to “give it a go” like she did ….


Stuart Attwood