“Most Valuable Riders” in Dressage Choose Custom Saddlery

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Steffen Peters and Legolas 92
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92

Wellington, FL - Grand Prix dressage rider Heather Blitz not only rides in a Custom Saddlery saddle, but she was also chosen as Custom Saddlery’s Most Valuable Rider (MVR) Award winner at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Blitz is one of the many top high-performance dressage riders who carefully considers their equipment and who chooses to ride in a Custom. Other dressage superstars who are fans of the saddle maker include Shannon Dueck, Devon Kane, Tina Konyot, Endel Ots, Steffen Peters, Caroline Roffman and Ayden Uhlir. Custom Saddlery calls its sponsored riders “MVRs”, or “Most Valuable Riders,” and is known for treating these riders as such by providing them with world-class saddles. Custom Saddlery produces handcrafted products made up of the finest materials with superior fit for horses and riders. Recently being named the USEF Official Saddle of the U.S. Dressage Team through the 2016 Olympics has further enhanced the saddle maker’s stellar reputation.

The Custom Saddlery MVR Award at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival recognizes riders who exceed expectations and embody excellence in the equestrian sport through horsemanship, performance, sportsmanship, and teamwork. Blitz and Paragon, an 18-hand, 12-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Don Schufro-Pari Lord, Loran), are working hard with the goal of improving at each show during the 12-week festival series. Blitz has had Paragon since he was a foal.

“He came up the ranks really fast because he has a lot of talent and generosity,” Blitz said. “We are really coming up in the Grand Prix and it’s taking a lot of practice and a lot of work. It takes more than a naturally talented horse, and we are working hard to make this a solid partnership.” Blitz said that it has been an exciting show season so far because there are more riders competing at the Wellington, Florida dressage circuit, including more European and foreign riders. She used to ride in other saddles, but once she found Custom Saddlery, she was hooked.

“Now, it’s all I use,” she said. “I love my saddles from Custom Saddlery. They are well constructed with a great tree design to benefit my horse’s comfort level. The leather is fantastic in feel and durability. The design is so right, and puts me in the perfect place on my horse’s back.”

Shannon Dueck is also a Custom Saddlery fan. The Grand Prix rider is a competitor and trainer and loves to give lessons, but first and foremost, she believes in classical training. She has learned from Bert Rutten of the Netherlands, Lars Peterson of Denmark, Kathy Connelly, Robert Dover and Steffen Peters of the USA, Hubertus Schmidt and Wolfram Wittig of Germany, and most recently, Carl Hester of Great Britain.

Devon Kane is a successful head trainer at the boarding, training, and sales facility Diamante Farms in Wellington, Florida, who spends countless hours in the saddle. One of her most recent successes is being named the 2014 U.S. Dressage Finals Grand Prix Champion.
“In the past, I have found that some saddles make my horses’ backs sore,” Kane said. “My young horses are so comfortable in the Custom Saddle, which allows me to get more out of them. They perform wonderfully in them. While riding so many horses, I have found in the past that at the end of day my back can be very sore. This does not happen in my Custom! I can ride several horses a day and still feel wonderful after my last ride.”

Tina Konyot is also an accomplished rider who has represented her country at the 2012 London Olympic Games and more recently at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

FEI Olympic Judge, Axel Steiner, comments, “Tina is a natural rider with the ability to command an audience when performing a test, and the bonus is that she is able to bring her talent to teaching and training.” She is articulate, knowledgeable, experienced, and committed, and she also rides in a Custom saddle.

Steffen Peters also chooses Custom Saddlery saddles, and says that “they are the best saddles on the market”. The Pan American Games, World Equestrian Games, and Olympic Games rider has achieved enormous success in the past and is poised for even more success with an 8-year-old Reinlander mare, Rosamunde (Rock Forever-First Lady, Fidermark).

Heather Blitz and Paragon
Heather Blitz and Paragon

Caroline Roffman’s career as a dressage rider has blossomed from the Young Rider divisions, where she won five medals, to international success in France and Germany. She operates out of her state of the art facility, Lionshare, and is one of the top up-and-coming U.S. dressage riders.

“For me, the most important thing about a saddle is the fit,” Roffman said. “Custom really goes above and beyond to make sure each saddle fits its horse and rider.

Endel Ots is a USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medalist who specializes in the sales, training, and development of young dressage horses to reach their highest potential.

“Custom Saddlery fits each saddle to horse and rider and by using input from riders and trainers, they continue to provide new models, styles, and designs,” Ots said. “Their state-of-the-art facility, qualified personnel, and knowledge of saddle making and fit puts them ahead of the curve and makes their saddles the most innovative and comfortable on the market.”

Ayden Uhlir is a 19-year-old dressage rider poised to move up the ranks. She and her Dutch Warmblood gelding Sjapoer (Contango-Jenia, Woldgang) have an impressive number of wins including capturing the gold medals in the Young Rider Individual and Freestyle at the 2013 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. Uhlir loves the options Custom saddles give to allow her the ultimate communication with Sjapoer.

Custom Saddlery is not only endorsed by and sponsor of some of the top dressage riders in the world, but the company is also happy to play a part in making the Florida dressage circuit possible by sponsoring the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and supporting riders through the MVR Award. Winners of the award receive a Most Valuable Rider ribbon and a Custom Saddlery saddle pad.

Based out of Aiken, South Carolina, Custom Saddlery is the go-to saddle maker for riders around the world and is the Official Saddle of the U.S. Dressage Team through the 2016 Olympics. The company offers twenty-two innovative, one-of-a-kind dressage saddles and offers professional fitting services and custom saddle accessories. To learn more about Custom Saddlery and what it can do for you, visit www.mysaddle.com or call 1-800-235-3865.