Charlotte Dujardin/Equipe

Wierd question but does anyone know why Charlotte Dujardin switched from Equipe to Fairfax? And if you have an equipe, how do you like it?

I don’t know but I’m guessing more money? Perhaps the Equipe sponsorship was coming to an end and Fairfax was willing to pay more. Fairfax may also have a sponsorship deal with the entire British dressage team which would conflict with individual saddle sponsors for riders? All just guesses on my part.

If a rider is sponsored by a certain brand, does the rider have to ride and compete in that brand?

I am always fascinated by what saddles the top riders are using.

That’s generally the deal, although usually there’s some wiggle room if you have one horse that is truly an outlier in a barn full of horses that can wear the sponsor’s brand.

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I have an Equipe and have never really loved it. The annoying thing is any fit adjustments have to be done with creative shimming as the saddle is memory foam. It’s about 4 years old and there is bubbling on the saddle flaps and color fading. I bought it because it fits my smaller horse fairly, well but given the chance I would dump it in a heart beat.

I suppose there are a variety of reasons. Money, preference, sponsoring a whole team, personal relations, and possibly others.

For some reason, I thought she had involvement with Fairfax previously, but cannot recall.

I rode in my trainer’s Equipe and liked it well enough, but they don’t fit my horse (tried a few models) because there isn’t much wither room, his is tall and wide. The panels are also too slim, because he’s uphill and high in front, the saddle tilts back unless there is a decent height to the panel (nothing too outrageous, just more than Equipe offers). Plus, it is foam and I didn’t want to mess around with half pads, shims, and whatnot. So they’re not for me/my horse.

He went quite well in a Fairfax Fareth for 3 years though. He changed shape quite a bit through age and training so I ultimately switched to something else, but had no real problems with the Fairfax.

The deals are very individual. For example, I am personally familiar with one sponsorship deal for a very Big Name Rider who not only requires him to use their saddle in competition, but it has to be replaced every year. This was apparently the result of said rider wanting to ride only in his old, faded saddle from the brand, which the brand didn’t feel was a good advertisement.

Another deal I’m familiar with only provides the trainer with a discount on saddles and the brand is more interested in clients purchasing saddles than what he rides in at the shows, so he has horses in a number of brands.

I tend to believe that truly top level riders kind of have their pick of who they want for a saddle sponsor, as they could likely get anyone they wanted to give them saddles for free, so it does mean something to at least some degree. Fairfax is a big name/popular in the UK, so it’s not too surprising that it found its way to the UK’s biggest rider.