Bianca Koevoets, Aram Hartsuyker & Marius Stanasel
NEW CRAFTS by Crafts Council Nederland
A horse saddle that adapts to the horse’s body and communicates with its rider through sensor technology and an app: it sounds futuristic, but according to Bianca Koevoets, Aram Hartsuyker and Marius Stanasel, it could soon be reality.
Ill-fitting saddles are a major problem in equestrian sports. Koevoets, who has been working as a saddlemaker for multiple years, knows it all too well. A saddle can be made to measure, but when a horse changes in weight or becomes older, it can begin to pinch, wrench or slide. That can hurt the horse, and even injure it in the long run. However, a horse cannot tell its rider whether a saddle has the right fit or not. Moreover, sometimes the rider itself is the problem: a wrong posture, for example, can cause unequal and uncomfortable distribution of pressure.
Together with industrial designer Hartsuyker and Stanasel, specialist in connective technology, Koevoets worked on a saddle with built-in sensors that collect data about horse and rider during training. These data are reported to the smartphone app Mind Your Ride, built by Stanasel. Based on these data, the rider receives feedback or suggestions to improve their posture or adjust the saddle.
The saddle itself was developed by Koevoets and Hartsuyker, who combined innovative technology with traditional materials such as steel and leather. The latter was hand-worked by Koevoets. Using digital design software, the saddle was constructed to be easily adaptable as well as modular, which extends its lifecycle.
In the exhibition, only a prototype of the saddle was on display. A patent request is currently ongoing for several elements of the saddle.
Text: Nora Veerman
Photography: Fan Liao