The Saut Hermès returned to Paris last month following a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus. The CSI 5*-certified show jumping competition featured 55 of the best riders from around the world, among them 2016 winner and Hermès partner rider Abdelkébir Ouaddar of Morocco, and Frenchman Simon Delestre and his gelding Hermès Ryan, who together won the Grand Prix Hermès two years in a row. Making a spectacular debut at the competition, after three years in the making, was the new Hermès red saddle.
Characterized by its open, deep seat, the saddle allows the rider to fuse with the movements of his horse. The saddle tree, made of supple beech used for shock absorbency and comfort, features a slender fork allowing for increased lightness and closeness. The skirt is incorporated into the saddle’s flaps and has recessed blocks avoiding unnecessary thickness that could impede movement. In perpetual search of lightness, even the saddle’s padding and panels are made finer. The stitching is single seam punctuated by backstitching in saddlestitch with the aim to avoid friction.
Its rich red hue – saddler’s red – is born from the oiling of a leather saddle in the maison’s emblematic color, Rouge H. The saddle is finished with nourishing oil and glycerine soap, resulting in the warm hue. Artisanal saddler Charly Palmieri proudly showcased the motion of oiling the leather of the saddle at the Saut Hermès. Having been at Hermès for 10 years, he, like his colleagues are responsible for working on a saddle from start to fruition. Twelve Hermès saddle experts travel the world for personalized meetings with riders. Everything starts with the horse. “I observe him, I study his character, his temperament, his musculature, his mobility,” says Francois Boissinot, saddle expert and saddle development adviser. “This gives me insights into his health, and any illnesses or conditions. We look at what can be improved and harmonized. If the horse is comfortable, the rider will be too.”
Hermès’s relationship with horses stems from its earliest days. Thierry Hermès founded his maison in 1837 as a boutique specializing in saddlery and horse harnessing. Today, some 400 to 500 saddles are created by Hermès each year. Riders can select from the Cavale, Allegro, and Steinkraus saddles intended for obstacle riding. The Corlandus and Arpège saddles are to be used for training; the Senlis is for outdoor riding; and the Oxer is a sporty, mixed saddle.
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Originally published in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Vogue Man Arabia