The Independence Saddle

Freedom Through Adaptive Technology


The Independence Saddle is an adaptive saddle with adjustable and removable headrest, backrest, forearm supports, hand grips, Italian safety irons, and a Safety Release System. This therapeutic saddle features a prompt reduction technology that gradually allows more independent sitting on horseback by riders with special needs.

Adapting and supporting according to the needs of each individual, The Independence Saddle, and its prompts allows a person with severe physical challenges to sit safely and independently astride a horse, while the traditional physical dependency on side walkers is dramatically decreased.

The Independence Saddle offers both safety and versatility, and is adaptable enough to accommodate riders of varying sizes, disabilities and/or injuries. Once the rider's needs are evaluated, prompts will be determined and provided as needed. Head and back supports provide head and trunk control. Adjustable forearm supports stabilize the arm and shoulder girdle, allowing the rider to lean slightly forward into a functional sitting position. Hip supports stabilize the pelvic girdle. As the rider gains core strength, and goals are achieved, prompts may be removed.

Our special needs saddle gives a sense of accomplishment, providing physical, occupational, and psychological therapeutic opportunities. The Independence Saddle offers each rider an immeasurable sense of success and self-fulfillment, maximizing his or her quality of life.

Collaborative Efforts

In the early 2000’s, a wheelchair-bound design engineer was encouraged by a friend to design and build a prototype for a safe, versatile, and structurally sound adaptive saddle. One of the first tasks he and others faced was finding a saddle maker who could supply a saddle that could carry the weight of a support device.

Colin Dangaard of Malibu, California, a legendary Australian saddle maker with 50 years of experience was eager to accept the challenge. His success in marketing the Australian Stock Saddle in North America gave him the necessary expertise to choose the type of saddle he felt would best accomplish that goal.

The particular model now used for The Independence Saddle is The Survivor Poley, a modernized version of the classic Australian Stock Saddle, popular in the Australian bush for over 100 years.

Characteristics of this saddle are:

  • Enormous weight-bearing surface area
  • Spreads weight of the rider over several hundred square inches, dramatically lowering pounds per square inch
  • Deep seat, high cantle and poley thigh support, providing a feeling of safety and security
  • Comfortable for riders such as police or military who often spend 12-hour days in the saddle

While these characteristics and others make it an ideal choice for therapeutic riding, the desirable weight-bearing surface was the deciding factor in using this model as the base for our support device. Our partnership with Colin continues to this day.

After Colin builds our specially designed bracket into the tree of the saddle, the focus shifts to the Independent Strides production facility where the team of Ken and Ginni Lampe complete the process. After assembling the versatile support device, and following a rigorous final inspection, The Independence Saddle is ready to be packed and shipped to customers around the world.

We dedicate The Independence Saddle to design engineer,

Troy Kalmbaugh, 1969-2018.

Because of his efforts, the saddle became a reality.