Up until a few years ago, the idea of stuffed panels was virtually unheard of on a competition jumping saddle. Using the Pessoa brand as an example, 95% of the saddles sold in Europe had Bayflex Molded Memory Cell foam panels.
Five years or so ago, the maker of Pessoa saddles, Pedro Ruiz Diaz, worked with a German company to develop a stuffed panel that improved upon the traditional wool or synthetic wool flocked panels used in dressage saddles.
The goal was to create a panel that could be re-stuffed and shaped like a flocked panel, yet did not have the problems of the wool shifting or bunching up, which can create hot spots and bumps that create soreness. The AMS panel was the result of this quest and it stands apart from other panels.
The extreme quality of Bayer synthetic wool provides resilience under all weather and temperature conditions with no chance of mold or mildew. This synthetic wool is encased in a breathable neoprene wrap that provides a smooth, yet adaptable, surface that absorbs rather than transmits pressure to the horse’s back. Neoprene was chosen due to its breathability, shock attenuation and wear-ability. Latex was ruled out as it had a tendency to become hot, as well as to break down and crumble over extended usage.
In Europe, the AMS panel soon found favor. The neoprene sheath proved even more interesting as it became clear that the panel, which was not firm and did not have hard solid edges, molded itself to the horse’s back. The softer composition, unlike non-molded Latex, flattened out on the horse’s back to provide an even more effective platform for the even distribution of the rider’s weight.
By some stroke of chance, a German customer asked to have AMS panels put onto the Pessoa jumping saddle. With a curious eye, Nelson watched as the new model was developed. The outcome was transforming. The panels worked as well on a jumping saddle as they did on a dressage saddle. While show jumpers did not have the same inclination for a stuffed panel saddle, many found that the AMS panels improved their horse’s performance and well-being.
It did not take too long for the AMS fitted jumping saddles to become popular in Europe, in the tradition set by the dressage models years earlier. Today, more than 50% of all European Pessoa production is outfitted with the AMS panels. The AMS panel system is available on the Pessoa A/O as well as certain Gen-X models.
We think our motto – No lumps, No bumps, No hotspots – pretty much sums up the benefits of the AMS panel system. The AMS panels are a plus for everyone truly concerned about how a saddle fits and works on the horse’s back.
Provided by guest blogger Kelly Lynn Smith. Kelly is a Saddle Manager at English Riding Supply. Entry represents the personal opinion of the blogger and is not formally edited.