For three generations, the Dawnay family have always used Berney polo saddles for their comfort, balance and performance. When Sebastian first started playing professionally in England he used his grandfather’s Berney’s saddles that he had inherited from his father Major Hugh Dawnay. Major General David Dawnay, Sebastian’s grandfather, had his saddle made by Thomas’s grandfather when he captained the Great Britain Olympic polo when it was last played in the Berlin Olympics 1936. Sebastian's father Major Hugh Dawnay, well renowned polo author of 'Polo Vision' and 'Playmaker Polo' had his saddle made by Thomas’s Father, Thomas Berney Senior who is still making saddles today, for playing professionally and for teaching students. Sebastian Dawnay has played for numerous high goal teams over the past 19 years and won a number of illustrious trophies internationally. He has captained both England and Ireland internationally playing in his own Berney Polo Saddle handmade by Thomas Berney. Sebastian said “As far as I’m concerned they are the best saddles I have ever played in and my horses love them too. Coaching students on their hitting platforms and riding positions has become even easier as the comfort in the half seat of the Dawnay Pro acts as an aid.” After the passing of Major Hugh Dawnay, Berney Bros. worked with Sebastian to design and produce a polo saddle in honour of their long standing relationship with the family. That saddle is the Dawnay Pro Polo Saddle, identified by its stamp of the Dawnay Family Crest and Berney Bros. Stamp. This saddle is designed with a medium deep seat and forward cut flaps giving the rider a very secure leg position. The goal Sebastian wanted to achieve with this saddle was to aid and support the rider in their ‘half-seat’ position and this saddle does just that. The slot in the flap for the over girth is positioned behind the riders leg so that there is less bulk between the riders leg and the horse and it provides easy access to the girth straps. Dawnays Pro polo saddle is made with a laminated beech wood tree, with a reinforced gullet plate, that is strength tested to the British Safety Standard. This tree absorbs some of the shock from impact, protecting the horses back, and it is fitted with recessed stirrup bars. The third component we use to achieve the ultimate comfort and welfare for the horse is our panels flocked with pure new wool. The biggest advantage that this material provides against others is that it spreads the weight of impact over a bigger surface area allowing the horse full use of themselves. Pure new wool also retains its spring and shock absorbency over time and moulds to the shape of the horses back compensating for horses changing shape throughout the season. The saddle is designed with half panels underneath the flaps to provide a closer contact between the horse and the rider for better communication and less weight. The saddle is fitted with three buffalo hide girth straps either side attached to two cross webs that are lightweight, strong and don’t absorb moisture. The ‘sweat flap’ layer beneath the girth straps protects the horses sides from rubbing and chaffing from the girth straps and buckles removing the need to use heavy saddle pads and blankets. This saddle is available in a size 18” for the rider and comes in two fits for the horse, narrow which is suitable for a standard polo pony, and medium for a pony with low withers. You can choose to opt for an all-suede saddle, all-leather saddle, or a saddle with a suede seat with leather skirts and flaps.
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