Field report
by animal osteopath Braun

Animal osteopath Steffi Becher Braun

My name is Steffi Becher-Braun. I am an animal physiotherapist, osteopath and acupuncturist. In my spare time, I spend as much time as I can with my four-legged friends and with working equitation. My therapeutic services are aimed at pet owners, whose four-legged friends I would like to relieve of their problems through various treatment methods, but also to improve their everyday life together through practical tips.

My perspective from animal osteopathy

For me as an animal osteopath, it is part of everyday life that I am called to a horse appointment where, for example, a sensitivity in the back has been detected, the horses show abnormalities when being ridden or "something is just strange".

It goes without saying that my work includes checking the bridle and saddle. It is not uncommon for things to go wrong. Time and again, the saddle is one of the most frequent topics of conversation between owners and myself. Many horse owners despair of finding a suitable saddle for their beloved four-legged friend. And if we're honest, the subject of saddles always hurts financially too! No matter whether it's the purchase or when the saddler has to come back for a fitting.

What connects me with SIGNUM

People who know me know that I have been a fan of Signum Saddle Service for many years (out of my own conviction, as I was also faced with the saddle problem with Bomber, our Shire Horse). I am not only convinced by SIGNUM because of the comfort for my "backside". The variety of saddle designs in particular and the resulting "perfect" fit for the horse made Signum my number one choice years ago - but I simply can't imagine my job without it.

My experience with the SIGNUM riding pads

When the pads were launched on the market, they seemed special. The design was "special" and the very high cut-out at the withers was striking. When the Velcro pads for spinal freedom were added, I could no longer contradict my "pad fan customers" from an osteopathic point of view and I was happy to be able to introduce them to this product for the benefit of the horses. It was a tool that they could agree on, so to speak.

I kept seeing pads from other companies that explained some of the problems in the horse. When it was mentioned that stirrups were sometimes used, I was no longer surprised. I know that the customers where this was the case wanted anything but something bad for their horse. They just didn't know any better. The pad was designed that way, so why shouldn't they be allowed to use it? A legitimate question!

My experience with PADDLE®

I was all the more critical at first when I heard that Signum was working on a pad with stirrups. The Paddle® was to be created. I followed its development with a critical eye. How was the problem of massive pressure peaks in the area of the stirrup suspension to be solved? Well, it was solved. Analyses show that it is possible.

But it's not just the analyses that show this success, the horses also seemed extremely positive, which I really wouldn't have expected. Could it be due to the significantly lower weight, the freedom at the rear or the direct influence of the rider? But maybe it's also because the owner can check and adjust the fit himself without having to wait a long time for the saddler and spend money again. I think it's a mixture of everything, but the most important thing is the satisfaction of our sport and leisure partner.

In my opinion, is the PADDLE® a substitute for a saddle?

Now, finally, there was a product on the market that was a solution for many desperate horse owners and therefore also for many of my customers. But is the paddle a complete saddle replacement? I always answer this question with "yes and no".

Stefan Baumgartner, founder and saddle developer at Signum, once explained it like this, which has stayed very much in my head. "The pad is the flip-flop, the paddle is the trainers and the saddle is the hiking boot!"
If you realise this sentence, you know how different it can or should be in which situation you use what. If you are an upmarket leisure rider who sometimes goes for a short ride through the bush, sometimes takes a dressage lesson a week, or otherwise likes to work with the horse from the ground, the paddle is certainly an absolute enrichment for you. If you prefer to spend several hours a week riding over hill and dale and training for your next trail ride, you should favour the "walking boot". But even then, I still hear people say: "Well, I can walk for hours in trainers." Yes, our horses can also be so different.

So you can't make a generalised statement that it has to be/is one way or the other, but my experiences over the last few months have been very enriching for both the horse and the desperate owner, and therefore also for me as a desperate therapist.

Actually, we all want the same thing, the satisfaction of all living beings in our environment, whether human or animal!
And I would like to say "thank you" to Signum Saddle, whose products always contribute to this in my work.