California Riding Magazine • January, 2009

Letter to the Editor

Regarding: December 2008 article Wool, Foam or Air, written by David Young and sponsored by County Saddlery.

With all due respect to Mr. Young’s training and extensive knowledge and points made (most of which we do agree with), this article shows one small error. Under “Air Panels” he states, “Air is unstable and tends to expand and contract as temperatures change.” While this is true as a principle of physics, the fact is that the temperature of the horse’s back will not change to any great extent (ie: cold to hot. It would be more like warm and warmer), so that once the horse is warmed up, the air panels will not significantly expand or contract.

Then he states, “As the rider’s weight goes forward, the air tends to be forced in the opposite direction, leaving the back unprotected.”
If he is specifically referring to the Cair panels, this may indeed be true, but with Flair panels, you are dealing with a total of four air bags, so that this is not significantly an issue.

I just wanted to clarify that air panels are not always air panels are not always air panels. Understand?

His point about “lack of communication and effectiveness” using air panels has some merit. Our experience has shown that, generally, air panels (specifically Flair panels - if the tree is adjusted appropriately to complement the panels) will allow the horse such freedom of movement that many riders actually have trouble sitting on such a suddenly “bouncy” and freely moving horse!

Sabine K. Schleese, B.Sc., MBA
Managing Director, Schleese Saddlery