My family have been breeding Welsh Cobs for the last 20 years at Kings Town Welsh Cobs in WA. My sister and I breed, train, and compete our home bred Welsh Cobs in breed, dressage and jumping shows. We grew up breeding and riding Welsh Cobs from a very young age and have found them to be such a diverse breed for all disciplines and they really shine in the competition arena. We have had a lot of success in the competitive pony dressage arena with many state championship titles and receiving wonderful feedback on our ponies.
One thing we have always struggled with through the years has been finding a saddle that works for the Cob shape as well as complimenting us as riders for that close contact feel. Welsh Cobs have such a broad strong back pony with generally a lot of power in their hindquarter and a forward girth groove that every saddle we tried over the years would either not sit in the right place, bounce quite a lot in the back or just not have the right tree/gullet/panels, especially as they became stronger in their work and moved up the levels.
I searched high and low for many years trying everything that came along in the end I just had to find something that 75% worked for the pony not necessarily myself as a rider. As a consequence, I started researching saddles overseas and I contacted many riders who had competed Welsh Cobs to a high level of dressage to find out what they were riding in and what they loved about the saddles they were using.
Finally, after many years of research and searching I came across Fiona Cork saddles.
I was initially interested in them because they had such a classic design and I had seen so many Welsh ponies competing in them in various disciplines at low level and higher levels overseas. Interested but not brave enough to take the punt in bringing one downunder, lucky for me I found out that Victoria Hamilton had brought some into Western Australia.
I quickly jumped at the opportunity to try them on my ponies and my saddle fitter and I were amazed! It was the first saddle that we had sat on my ponies that had just worked with no need to change anything at all.
It was stable, especially on my round pony who has no wither who I had always had trouble with saddles slipping and sliding but not this one. The pony was so much more confident under my seat, there was no bouncing in the back of the saddle and no sliding forward due to the fact that there were so many girth point options. The ponies were finally happy and comfortable and the 1 Saddle fits both of my ponies and not only did it fit them I had such a close contact to the pony and the knee rolls on this Fiona Cork saddle are so soft and sit in the right spot not making me feel like I’m jammed in on constricted at all it was a definitely a winner for myself and the ponies.
I highly recommend these saddles, there are so many varieties and I really feel Fiona Cork really understand the broad back and the type of ponies and what we need as riders.
I’m very eager to kick start 2024 with my ponies and their new saddle!
Dr Victoria Hamilton is an icon in the Western Australian Equestrian Community, with a wealth of experience as a veterinarian, coach, breeder and international dressage competitor. As one of Australia’s top dressage riders, her love of horses is contagious and apparent in everything she does.