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 really want to know the facts and not just base my designs on opinions or guess work,” 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 movement. 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.
Vanessa and Daniel worked closely throughout the entire project and the result is a dressage saddle so beautiful in its simplicity, it works in perfect harmony with the horse's natural design.
"The Monoflap Dressage saddle sits with such stability, supporting the rider but leaving the horse absolutely free to move in a natural manner," says Daniel.
Read more about the Monoflap Dressage here
Since then, Vanessa has gone on to work with other leading professionals in their field to develop a range of saddles including the Fairfax Andrew Hoy XC and the Gareth Monoflap Dressage created with Gareth Hughes.
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.
The latest development at Fairfax sees 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.