~ About the creator ~
The designer & engineer of Strada Saddles
~ Strada with original owner at 3 years old
~ David and Strada in their early days (approx 1993)
The existence of Strada saddles was born before David even knew it around 1992. When David’s partner at the time, acquired a plucky 15.2hh, 6yo 3/4 arab called Strada. Strada was a very sensitive soul who took David on a journey about ‘saddles’.
Strada & David’s relationship bloomed & the pair where never to part, albeit the stresses & pains Strada would put David through. After the umpteenth fitter had been & the purchase of yet another saddle (about the 20th saddle to the collection accumulating in his shed), David’s technical, perfection seeking mind told him, there where too many ‘problems’ & ‘solutions’ with all the saddles on the market that he was buying - why not design saddles so that 99% of the time, they always worked! Then riders can forget about their saddles & get on with riding & enjoying their horses!
David had an intuitive & inventive mind, along with a range of experiences in different vocations that armed with him with a vast range of knowledge. What he didn't happen to know at the time, he would learn on the way and with help from his close friends & the magnificent 'Strada' saddle was eventually created after years of designs, tests & trials.
As with all design there are pay-off’s in aid of the benefits. So with every design feature, David rigidly stuck to the principle of a saddle that works & does everything it says (and is meant) to do!
The special Strada tree designs came from numerous back moulds of different breeds - that in turn proved to show groups with similarities - so much so, they used the same tree regardless of the horses height! It became a proportion based system, rather than ‘sizing’ & it worked.
The finished design of the Strada saddle had thousands of hours (over years) spent testing, for exploration & many discovery’s came to the surface about why other ‘traditional’ saddles performed detrimentally.
No single feature of the Strada creates the answer, but the special attention & detail on each component working together perfectly, produces the Strada saddle’s success. As David named it, the 'Ferrari' of the saddle world. These components being:
• Tree shape - specific to skeletal confirmation based on breeds & having multiple different tree shapes to fit all horses.
• Fitting - by back confirmation angles, slopes, length & curve
• Modern materials - strong, light weight & no metal
• Panels - that literally eliminate pressure & never need maintenance
• Girth & stirrup bar placement - for allowing the perfect aligned position.
• Open seated - so any sized rider can use our saddles, nothing holds a position, but the perfect balance allows all riders to feel secure & in-sync with their horses.
• No seat sizes - as the tree type dictates the exact centre of balance for that horse, so any sized rider, riding that type horse, needs to sit in the horses centre of balance.
With a laser sharpe vision on his Strada Saddles abilities & performance, this perfectly matched his passion for Classical dressage training & the ‘right way’.
David spent his life’s savings on developing & making these Strada's. With nothing left over for marketing or advertising, Strada Saddles could be considered Europe’s best kept secret.
The saddles have been in production & sale since 1997, these dressage saddles were first named 'The Strada', then known as the 'Vienna'. The 'St Christopher' was an adapted dressage saddle for endurance riders. In 2007 David moved onto his updated Strada designs in his own company Strada Saddles Europe Ltd and these upgraded designs became the 'Esprit' range with dressage (Luneville) and GP (Equitation) saddles. And the Esprit range was completed when Sarah Cullen (nee McDonald) came to David with her design of a jumping saddle in May 2008 & a year later after prototype trials, the Esprit de Cross went into production.
Strada (the horse), under his ‘saddle’ went on to learn all the classical movements with ease - a clever & ethusiastic partner for David, after all the ‘mistake years’ (as David calls them) learning what ‘not to do’ - as most of us riders can relate to....
Strada, enjoyed many years in his later retirement with the odd ride given to the grand-daughters, Strada passed away at the age of 27.
Strada shared his tricks with paddock mate Luis, David’s later riding horse, a pure Lusitano Stallion who David purchased as a 4 year old & rode him into his early 20’s, then enjoyed plenty of retirement untill his passing in 2017 at the age of 27 years old.
It was an exciting time for David with his Esprit range of Strada's expanding world wide, and he continued to hone the design & future ideas to add to the collection - a purest, high level dressage saddle. A 6th tree type was added to the his range, which improved the fitting capacity of the wider horses. David's own higher level training with Luis was progressing well & they rode as much as possible when both of their health allowed. David would see a moment of sunshine (which was rare at times!) & just pop on a bridle in the field to squeeze in 10minutes of play time with his stallion Luis, who was always a willing & safe partner.
David also rode Luis into his early 20's & was truly heartbroken in 2015 when his beautiful Luis departed two days before Christmas at the age of 25.
Many should know, David was not only a wonderfully knowledgable & experienced equestrian, but his information hungry mind and talent for ingenuity helped him where ever he turned his hand to: making guitars & a spanish guitar tutor, a saxophone player in a band, live concert speaker sound expert, designing fuel injection systems for vehicles - and this vast list does go on surprisingly.
David passed away on 30th April 2017, after many years ill health (not that people would have known he was unwell! David kept it secret). Strada Saddles will be continued with his legacy - for the wellness of horses & their backs - worldwide! & for the joy of ALL riders who seek this.
~ A duo through all their years, their love of each other & to learning new things
made them an exceptional team!
Strada bravely contemplating an adventure in the snow, while Luis watches from his stable (as he wouldn't think twice of going outside in that crazy weather!)
Artwork by Hazel Burges ©
~ David & his beloved stallion Luis 2015
~ David & Strada riding in New Forest
We are forever grateful for your phenomenal creation
~ The Strada Saddle ~