The ethos behind everything we design is that it should enhance your horse’s freedom of movement, strengthen your communication and allow you to achieve better results. We have proved scientifically that the right tack plays a part in the process of improving performance.
Our product designer
With a background as an international show jumper, Vanessa Fairfax understands the needs of the professional rider. She has been designing saddles for more than 20 years and is a Society of Master Saddlers Saddle Fitting Assessor. These two interests and skill sets have blended seamlessly to produce some of the most exciting saddlery developments in the last decade.
"I want to know the facts and not just base my designs on opinions or guesswork,” she explains. “It’s about harnessing technology to a very traditional and largely craft-based industry. Cutting-edge testing equipment and software means I can see the effect of tack on a horse in motion. A combination of pressure-mapping and gait-analysis is particularly insightful as together they show cause and effect in motion. When results synchronize, you know you’re on to something - it’s ground-breaking and very exciting. ”
Vanessa teamed up with international dressage rider Daniel Timson to develop the first Fairfax Saddle – the Monoflap Dressage. Daniel’s sensitive and intelligent riding style has coaxed winning performances from the most complex of horses.
Collaborations with more world-class riders followed, including Team GBR member and medallist Gareth Hughes. He needed a saddle to position him in precise alignment with his horse - and so the Gareth Monoflap Dressage was born.
Close consultation with multi-Olympian even rider Andrew Hoy led to the development of a revolutionary cross country saddle with removable shoulder blocks and, uniquely, multile girthing options: the Fairfax Andrew Hoy XC.
Perhaps one of her most revolutionary designs has been the Performance Girth – an item so influential in the horse’s way of going that Horse & Hound magazine described it as “Team GBR's secret weapon” at the London 2012 Olympics and Britain’s World Class Performance Director asked us to delay its launch until after the Games because he felt it could give the British Olympic team an advantage.
Download the Horse & Hound article about the Performance Girth here.
Fairfax's continued research and innovation has seen the company recognised with the Queen's Award for Innovation - an accomplishment that's unique in the saddlery industry.
The next development saw Vanessa turning her attention to competition bridles. And the results are astounding. In-depth analysis of pressure points caused by nosebands, browbands, cheek & headpieces, combined with gait analysis, has uncovered some unexpected (and uncomfortable) revelations about the most commonly-used bridles. This new understanding has led to the creation of the ground-breaking Performance Bridle.