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WOW Competitor Saddle Fitting Notes

Interchangeable Flaps And Headplates and Panels 

WOW has interchangeable flaps, head plates and panels which can all be purchased separately. Your local retailer will give you further advice or you can speak direct to FTE if your retailer cannot answer your query.  Email

Head plates 

The WOW saddle has an interchangeable headplate system. –1 to 9 in U shape and 3 further V shaped fittings ( -1 ,0, 1, 2 and 3) and also the extra wide wither plates, UU in -1,0,1,2,3 and 4)  So a total of 21 different plate fittings.  


  1. The head plate numbers 0-3 are similar in width fitting to the six head plates in range provided by Wintec, i.e. 0 = Wintec Narrow and 3 = Wintec Extra Wide.  Our number 4 to 9 are obviously wider than the Wintec plates.

  2.  If you are using a head plate direct on the horse to size the horse’s fit please note that the head plate should sit at 45 degrees to the vertical/horizontal and does not sit vertically. There should be even pressure down both arms of the headplate without it being tighter at either the top of bottom of the plate arm.   There is an instructional video on the WOW channel of U Tube and on our web site.

  3. If the rider can feel the seat lobe or skirt edge, it indicates that the tree head plate is too wide and needs to be reduced in size. 

  4. If the saddle rocks you have too wide a head plate fitting.

  5. The saddle will “sit up” and look too narrow when first fitted.  It “beds down” when ridden on after a few minutes.  Like all Flair saddles you cannot just put the saddle on the horse’s back and say it fits or not without applying a weight to the seat to push the air bags down.


Please remember you can rotate the flaps as well as remove and swap them for other sets of flaps.

To rotate the flaps

  1. Loosen the front bolt on either side of the pommel on the top side of the seat.

  2. Remove the 4 bolts on the underside in the gullet that hold the flaps onto the saddle.  

  3.  Reposition the flap by gently pulling it into the location.  Only screw the bolts in the configurations shown as not doing so will result in a distortion and creasing of the flaps. 

“X” indicates the panel locating bolt that is used to maintain the gullet width, it is not necessary to touch this bolt for relocation of the flaps.

Putting your saddle down on the ground 

Most people will use a saddle peg to hang their WOW saddle on.  If you need to put it on the ground, or in the back of a car, put its cover on and turn it upside down so it lies on the cantle and pommel with its flaps pointing to the sky.  DO NOT stand the saddle on its pommel as you will distort the flaps.

Flair Air Panels 

The saddle has the Flair airbag system fitted as standard to provide a soft totally flexible bearing surface that continuously moulds to the changing shape of a horse in motion. When fitted to the horse the saddle panels should feel very soft both at the front and the back. 


If you or your saddler has to pump the airbags so the panel becomes hard then you either have too wide a head plate fitted (at the front) or you need a different panel design. (If the airbags are hard the horse will not move as well and the saddle will feel bouncy).  If you require advice please speak to your retailer or email  

 Some horses when first ridden in Flair develop muscles along their top line rapidly, (particularly behind the withers) and hence may change shape.  You will then need to change the head plate fitted.  This should take you a couple of minutes.

Flair Air Bag Pipes and Valves Fitting Procedure 

The internal airbag pipes have been left very long so you can trim back a couple of mm each time you refit to ensure virgin valve pipe is used over the dummy valve barb when refitting.


Please remember that the saddle is “piped” so the left front and left back air bags are “valved” on the left side and the right hand side bags are “valved” on the right side. Accordingly, you will need to use your pipe extenders when adjusting on the horse so linking left and right front pipes and left and right back pipes. More information is available in the Flair manual available for purchase at our online shop.

Cross Threading Screw Holes 

Whilst it is very unlikely that you will cross thread the screw holes, if it happens a 6mm diameter 1mm pitch tap will re thread the fitting.  These can be purchased from First Thought Equine and sent by next day courier or you can buy them from a local DIY /hardware store.

Saddle Care 

Considerable care has been taken in the manufacture of your saddle and the very best panel leathers have been use in the entirety of it’s construction giving an instantly soft comfortable aged effect without the hardness most new saddles have. 

Leather is a natural product and we use leathers which do not have a sprayed finish on them. i.e. aniline leathers.  Accordingly you may find slight imperfections in colour, grain and visible scarring.  We suggest you clean using luke warm  water  only, without any cleaning product s (most of which contain detergents which are aggressive to some leathers) and then use a good quality hide /leather feed ( containing beeswax and lanolin etc) on a regular basis.  We recommend Effax supplied by most saddle shops in a brown pot.  Some leather products will coat and waterproof the leather , also preventing the natural oils from being replenished by the hide food.  Other products will prevent the leather from gaining an aging patina and darkening as they are used, fed and age.

Mineral oils will attack the air bags and if used too much will cause the airbag to harden and also rot the stitching on the saddle. 

Detachable Girth Straps 

Girth Straps are supplied as pre stretched butt leather.  The edges are not coloured as so are traditional in appearance. These straps are very strong but are detachable if you need to replace or to change the girthing pull or us balance straps.

Care of girth straps.

The leather we use is pre-stretched butt that is quite dry and this keeps the fibres tight.  Over oiling or waxing the girth straps is NOT recommended as it will let the leather fibre structure slip and stretch.   We advise that you wash/wipe off with water and only wipe over with a used effax cloth just to apply a bit of wax sheen.  Avoid excessive oiling and waxing.  It is better to neglect these straps than to over oil when you will cause the fibres to relax and so stretch.


All WOW saddles carry a twelve month warranty by First Thought (Equine) Ltd known as FTE against defects arising from faulty materials or manufacturing workmanship for a period of one year from date of purchase.  The  tree is guaranteed for a period of 5 years from purchase under conditions of normal use.   These warranties are invalid if Flair, the tree or the other components have been modified or repaired without approval from FTE.  The guarantee does not cover damage caused by improper storage or care, misuse or accident.

Stirrup Leathers 

Use the stirrup leathers supplied good side down onto the flap.  This will ensure that the rougher stitching on the back does not mark the flap leather. This is the correct way of using the leathers because it shows the good side of the leather outwards when ridden.

T Bar & Spare bolts 

You have been supplied with a no 4 hex, T Bar which will undo the bolts.  We have provided spare 20mm bolts for the Flaps and 16mm for the headplate and front top of Flap fixing..

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