FAQ

BAREFOOT VPS SYSTEM

What does VPS® systems mean 

VPS® stands for "vertebrae protection system". It is a combination of several different materials, which either distribute or absorb pressure. The Barefoot´s build in VPS® system also ensures even pressure distribution on the rider´s weight along the whole lenght of the saddle with no pressure points. 

The VPS system Design is protected and may only used in original Barefoot saddles.  

                                         

Why VPS®?

VPS® distributes the rider’s weight ideal and on the largest area possible along the part of the horse back, which maybe be loaded to carry weight: between the withers and the 15th/16th vertebrae. As proven by several measuring peak pressure is eliminated. The construction of panels to the left and right of the spine create enough space for withers and spine. Even when standing in the stirrups (posting) the pressure is spread along the entire length of the seat – there is NO LIMIT regarding the rider’s weight.

 

The ‚panel construction‘ left and right of the spine allow for a distinct spinal clearance over the spinous processes and guarantee constant spinal and wither clearance. 

The VPS ® System is noticeably more narrow than a conventional saddle panel and therefore allows for very subtle communication with the horse which leads to much finer riding. The rider can feel the different areas of the horses back muscles work under the saddle.

The VPS ® System distributes the rider‘s weight in an optimal way over the largest possible area of the back.  

Flexible in all directions

Due to its flexibility and adaptability Barefoot Saddles work on just about any horse‘s back. Inserts in different sizes and materials guarantee optimal fit to the horse‘s shoulders. To avoid pressure points in the loin area, the Barefoot Saddle has a soft cantle which is flexible in all directions: sideways and up/down.

Due to the VPS ® System standing in the stirrups is possible without a problem as the rider‘s weight is distributed over the whole length of the saddle. The trapezius muscle will not be bruised and can develop.

Noticeably elastic sandwich construction made of pressure absorbing elastomer layers and pressure distributing polymerlayer. All materials have a smooth surface. We do not use padding materials which settles unevenly, so puntual hardenings are avoided. The fleece lining towards the horse back levels out any small unevenness.   

All Barefoot saddles from the 2008 production year are equipped with the VPS® system. 

 PHYSIOLOGIC SADDLE SYSTEM

Why is Barefoot a physiological saddle system?

The backs of our riding horses have a lot to put up with in the course of a lifetime. Horses aren’t really made to carry a saddle and a rider on their backs, so maybe it’s a good idea to take a closer look at their anatomy:

The rider sits on the animal’s spine, more precisely, directly on the spinous processes of the vertebrae. The spine is suspended between the shoulder blades and the pelvis like a suspension bridge; the nuchal- and dorsal bands are attached to the individual vertebrae. 

Only correct training, first on the ground and then under a suitable saddle, teaches the horse to arch its back upward and step under with its hindquarters (and take up weight with the hindquarters). Gradually, the horse develops sufficient musculature to stabilize the spine and carry the rider's weight and becomes a riding horse, something nature never intended. 

 

This means the horse must learn to use its neck and back ligaments in coordination with its abdominal muscles to arch its back upward.

The horse's spine is at its most stable between the withers and the 15th thoracic vertebra. This is where the horse’s actual centre of gravity lies and the best place for it to balance the weight of the saddle and the rider.

Since the Barefoot saddle has a flexible structure, it may be placed further forward than a conventional saddle. The Barefoot can be placed directly over the horse’s shoulder, because it allows the scapula (shoulder blade) to move freely and does not constrict the underlying muscles. It also places the rider exactly in the correct saddle position (Vertebrae 9-12/13), above the horse's centre of gravity. 

 

This is where our focus lies:

Comfortable and anatomically correct for the horse. Barefoot saddles follow the horse's topline and are flexible in all directions - without a rigid tree. They therefore adapt ideally to the horse's back and allow the horse to carry out swinging movements from the shoulder and at the same time arch its back upward. The movement of the spine and withers is not restricted in any way.

Even the sensitive shoulder area and the rear area of the back remain free of pressure. The integrated front pocket for various sizes of pommel insert allows the saddle to be modified to fit different types of horses. As the rider sits behind the pommel, it can move over the shoulder without putting pressure on the underlying muscles and leave them free to move = muscle development.

Comfortable for the rider:

Barefoot saddles adapt themselves to the horse's back at different training stages (summer/winter) or in the event of age- and feed-related changes. So there is no need for regular padding or buying a new saddle. A Barefoot can even be used on several different horses; if it has been adapted to fit the other horse properly.

Barefoot saddles give riders much closer contact with the horse, which is ideal for beginners or for therapeutic riding, because our saddles allow the rider to sit much closer to the horse and feel its movement very directly. This means that the rider can react immediately to the movement of the horse’s back and can quickly respond to its needs.

Barefoot saddles provide a soft, comfortable seat, even on long rides. Once you have experienced the Barefoot, you will never want to sit in anything else. They are also very light: This makes carrying and handling the saddle child's play. They can also contribute to relieving riders’ back problems,  as the saddle encourages the rider to move with the horse’s movement and gives doesn’t hold him in a fixed position.