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With 144 different designs in each size, WOW's panels accommodate every rider-horse combination imaginable.
Our panels have a thorough selection criteria:


  • Length of Panel

  • Lift in Front of Panel SD, D & DD

  • Tab or No Tab

  • Gullet Width

  • Stitch Line

  • 1 ½" and 2 ½" Back Gussets and "Roofy Backs”

    As a result, they can be completely tailored to fit perfectly.


WOW offers 15 standard panel types to suit all breeds and sizes of horse, whether that be a Belgium Draft or a thoroughbred. There are 100’s of variants and modifications to these standard types, that are available when required.


Panels are available with Wool Flock, Foam or the Flair Air Flocking System Original or Flair Mark II. Flair technology still leads the market in pressure testing and gait analysis results. Horses move better with Flair. For those that need to throttle back the performance Flair Mark II is air adjustable panel with a more solid feel. Then we have foam panels followed by wool flocked.

Our panel options are not limited to particular Seat or Flap designs, they are fully interchangeable throughout all of our saddles. 




The WOW panel system is in fact an extension of the tree. This is not so with other brands. We call it our Pointless Panel System or PPS.


Most manufacturers make their panels purely from leather or similar materials, which due to their soft nature, provide no or little extra support in addition to that of the tree. With this in mind, we created a panel which would support the tree, nullifying any of the pressures we would normally see from the stirrup bars and tree points, whilst extending the bearing surface of the tree to achieve a much greater and more consistent bearing surface for the saddle.


A conventional tree has tree points which are 2 - 3 fingers wide and stop approximately 7.5” down from the head. WOW does not have tree points, the front of the tree is a lobe which incorporates the double stirrup bar. This lobe is then extended by the PPS on top of the panel, covering the bottom of the panel to create a pointless tree and panel ending 12 -13 inches down from the head. The square inches of support surface produced by this saddle is greater than that of comparable sized western saddle.


This extra depth of support decreases pressure on the shoulder and in combination with the Lateral Flexion of the WOW tree, they encourage better movement of the horse.


A size shorter panel can be fitted to a larger seat where a horse has a short back i.e. a 17″ panel on a 18″ seat.  Conversely, a extended or loner panel can be fitted to a 1” smaller seat.  The extension is at the front and moves the saddle back which is very useful for petite riders on large horses doing dressage as the weight of the rider becomes more influential and the horse has more ability to lift through the shoulder.


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In 2022 the BBS (Big Bearing Surface) Panels were introduced. However, BBS is not suitable for every horse or every rider.


Riders that struggle with abduction of the leg or have hip issues will struggle with the BBS panel, as it fills the space that would normally be seen between where the panel finishes and the flap sits. This means that the leg cannot sink in towards the horse as much, which gives the hips of the rider a certain level of relief, as they are not being held in the higher abduction position.


Panel length is dictated by the distance between the back of scapula and the last rib. 


This is a moving feast because as the horse becomes fitter, the scapula will move down and back, which can substantially shorten the back available for the saddle to sit.


In essence, the panel sits 1” onto the most cordial palpated edge of the scapula, to the end of the last rib.  




Short panels are used when it is a struggle to get the correct seat size for the rider on a short coupled horse.


It was possible on older models of WOW Seats to put a panel that is 1” shorter on and larger seat i.e. 16” panel on a 17”, BUT the amount of lift achieved at the back of the saddle will be less than the rear gusset size by around 1/4“. 


We now produce SHORT panels where the top of the panel is the size of the seat (17”) but the bottom of the panel is 1” shorter.  The rear gusset will be more vertical at the cantle but the lift the panel produces will be the same as a standard panel.


Because it is possible on older models to take this shortened panel a 17” short, effectively a 16” and put it on a 18” seat we have placed warnings on the panels to ensure correct use.  “Only use this panel on the same sized seat”.


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Extended forward panels move the saddle further back.

When a horse has a long back, long withers or you have a small rider on a long backed horse, these panels will move the tree /seat backwards by 3cm.

This is normally enough to fill the back better, clear the long withers, or put the rider in a better sweet spot on the horses' back.


The Front Gusset describes the shape and size of the front of the panel, dictating the

amount of lift and support the panel can offer. We offer 3 types: SD, D and DD.


SD panels (1” of lift)


SD panels are very rarely called for and extreme caution should be used when ordering these panels. If the horse is round WITH MUSCLE NOT FAT and has absolutely no definition to the shoulder then we cannot use a gusseted panel as it would perch the front of the saddle up and away from the horse. In these case's the scapula is not "sticking out" and therefore will rotate freely under the saddle. Rare to almost non existent.



D panels (1½” of lift)

D panels are the most common type of panel used.  For a horse with a defined shoulder and a place where the saddle will sit, "a hollow", behind the scapula, all be it small. The gusset allows the scapula, that is to a certain extent "sticking out" from the horse, enough room to push under the tree without restriction. Without a gusset the scapula would bang into the front edge of the panel thus restricting movement.

DD panels (2” of lift)

DD panels are used on very hollow high withered horses.  In the case of extremely high withers with big hollows behind the scapula. We can provide a doubly deep "DD" type panel. This can be in conjunction with no stitch line (see stitch line section) which gives a massive bearing surface with the ability to fill the hollow and support the tree.





The broader pyramid wither will require panels that are wider spaced at the pommel to allow the saddle to sit down and wrap around the withers. In these cases, a Pommel Panel Spacing Tab is required.


A horse with narrow withers will require a higher panel support to keep the saddle stable. In these cases, you do not require a Tab on the panel.


The tab widens the gullet of the saddle at the front dropping the support surface lower around the withers. No tab keeps the support higher and closer together for high withered horses.


These types could be defined as “Open” and “Closed” throats to the saddle.


Most horses can be categorised into having either a pyramid wither or a rail wither.


The pyramid wither gets broader as you move from the base of the withers towards the front of the horse, whereas a rail wither remains as a parallel rail even as you move towards the scapula.


NO TABS are for horses with a rail wither - most common


TABS are for horses with pyramid wither - less common. 


If in doubt do not use a tab.



Gullet width is the space between panels once they are mounted on the seat (measured at their maximum around 200mm from the front of the saddle).

A vital and much overlooked part of fitting a saddle is the gullet width at the base of the withers. It is so important to allow the musculature at the base of the withers room to work. If there is not enough room the horse can at worst become hollow in outline and at best not swing through in lateral work.


There is a choice of five different gullet widths


  • Standard Gullet Width No Tab

  • Wide Gullet Width No Tab

  • Extra Wide Gullet Width No Tab

  • Wide Gullet Width with Tab

  • Extra Wide Gullet Width with Tab


It does not follow that wide gullets are for wide horses. A horse that is well muscled but narrow in Headplate angle will require a wider gullet to compensate for gullet narrowing with a narrower Headplate.

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Stitch line and No Stitch line are also known as Tapered or Non Tapered panels. 

The Stitch line in a panel tapers the panel so that it blends to the rib cage. On some horses this is not wanted. The Stitch Line refers to the line of stitching on the front lobe of the panel under the air bag. It’s provision or not, changes the degree of "lift" of a panel and how the panel sits on a horse.


Most horses have a shelf where the wither merges with the rig cage, so the panel is designed with a stitch line to allow the panel to blend out as comes off the shelf that the top of a rib cage creates. If the horse is slab sided, so the rib cage is not well sprung and is flat, then it will need a NO STITCH LINE panel i.e. the rib cage does not create a shelf to hold the panel, the panel will drop until the tree is too low over the spinal processes of the wither. A horse with a shelf to its’ rib cage but big hollows behind the scapulas need a DD panel not a no stitch line panel.


Comparing a traditional flocked panel and a WOW flocked panel. The WOW has a reinforced structure on top of panel that disperses the pressure much further down onto the rib cage of the horse. In a traditional saddle the points work their way through the flocking, compressing it and causing pressure points. The panel / tree also cannot flex with the movement of the horse, and this exacerbates the compression and pressure over time.



Rear Gusset Lift


We provide 3 amounts of lift at the rear of the saddle 1.5, 2.0 & 2.5 inches of lift.  2” is the standard.  When a horse is built downhill the gusset can be changed to allow the seat to stay in balance by selecting a 1.5” rear gusset.  Conversely when a horse has a very flat longitudinal back profile with not much rise in the back to support the rear of the saddle we use a 2.5” rear gusset.


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"Roofy" Backs


A "wedge" can be inserted into all panels to make it have a more vertical back gusset, to ensure better contact and pressure dispersal on horses that have a poor top line. Their shape resembles that of a roof with the spine as the ridge of the roof. If the horse builds muscle the wedges can be removed at any time.

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WOW saddles are manufactured in the UK by First Thought Equine Ltd. | WOW saddles exclusively use Patented technology that can only be found in these saddles. Registration No. 3186860 | Registered in England. | VAT Registration No. 724 8348 20 | Registered Office: Little Duskin Farm, Covet Lane, Kingston, Canterbury, Kent CT4 6JS © 2016 Copyright all information is copyright and cannot be reproduced without prior permission. WOW, Flair, Korrector & Equiform are Trade Marks of First Thought Equine Ltd. All products and features described herein are protected by Patents, Trade Marks and Registered Design Rights.
Little Duskin Farm
Covet Ln, Kingston, Canterbury
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