Wins "Killer Application" Web Award
CA: Inc. Magazine, deemed the small business bible by
the New York Times, has awarded its 2002 Web Award for Killer
Application to SADDLETECH.com, owned by inventor Robert Ferrand.
The website provides comprehensive information about saddle fitting,
including scientific research, educational video and saddle fitting
solutions. A variety of scientific instruments that eliminate the
mystery of saddle fitting are featured on the website.
Fitting is an issue for all horsemen, regardless of skill
or discipline. Ill-fitting saddles can create lameness, soreness,
impaired performance, behavioral problems, and a variety of health
issues for the horse. In his quest to solve saddle fitting problems,
Ferrand boldly decided to approach the age-old problem with the
entered the equine market in 1992 with the invention of the patented
Saddletech Computer Saddle Fitting System, adapted from medical
technology Ferrand originally invented to prevent pressure sores
on humans. Creation of the patented Saddletech Gauge followed in
1996, providing a three-dimensional measurement of the arcs and
angles of a horses back, which includes a secret
formula to compensate for the effect of the weight of the rider.
Saddles are measured three-dimensionally with the Saddletech Sizing
Stand, invented in 1997; this information is the basis for generating
Saddletechs measured saddle database. In 1999,
the Saddletech Adjustable Jig was developed to produce Western saddle
bars to Saddletech measurements. In 2001, Ferrand developed a method
to create custom-molded thermoplastic saddle orthotics based on
Saddletech measurements of the horses back. These sculpted
devices fit between the saddle and the horse, allowing most saddles
to then properly fit, protecting the horse from injury.
2002, Ferrand integrated the information gleaned from all these
measurement systems onto a state-of-the-art Oracle 9i database,
created by Netledger, a first in the equine industry. The Inc. Magazine
2002 Web Award bestowed on Saddletech is a tribute to this hardware/software
solution, emphasizing that it is a paradigm shift for industries
in general and the saddle industry in particular.
saddle makers and tack shops attempt to fit saddles using baling
wire, cardboard cutouts, or plaster casts. This lack of standardized
measurement has allowed saddle companies to develop a unique nomenclature
that does not relate to anything, not even the horse. For instance,
a wide tree from one company may measure the same as
a narrow tree from another company. The result? Sheer
frustration and significant cost for the saddle customer and potential
injury to the horse.
has been my experience over the past 10 years, using computer pressure
measurement, that more than 90% of the horses Ive measured
are being ridden with saddles that dont fit, proclaims
Ferrand. The saddle industry represents a $500,000,000 annual market
which includes more than 5,000,000 horses under saddle. That is
the good news; the bad news is that because there is no accurate
standardized measurement, virtually none of the saddles fit. But,
there is hope, Ferrand smiles, because the Saddletech.com
website is designed to educate people about how to solve this problem,
with online video and supporting scientific information. Our database
is the only one in the saddle industry, tracking over 100 pieces
of information about horses and saddles, including breed characteristics,
the arc and angle measurements of the horses back, as well
as the measurement variations for various saddles
one of Inc. Magazines three articles about the Killer App
Award presented to Saddletech.com, the writers stated, The
orthotics Saddletech makes helps eliminate ill-fitting saddles.
Saddle customers purchase or rent a patented gauge that measures
the horses back. Then the customer plugs the measurements
into Saddletech's Web site. From here, the information is fed into
an Oracle database that captures an array of information about the
horse. Ferrand's company then custom fits an orthotic by calculating
the weight of the rider and the measurements of the horse to fit
the orthotic that goes under the horse's saddle to make the ride
for the horse and rider smoother and more comfortable.
is apparent that Saddletech has taken an ancient industry, complete
with intrinsic problems, into the computer age, which is intrinsic
with solutions. As for Ferrand, he has an admirable vision of how
he wants to run his company with this powerful database - wirelessly.
"My concept is to run Saddletech on horseback from Yosemite,"