In 2001, Alan Brownlie began work with a unique force sensor array (FSA) pressure pad. The pad is like a blanket equipped with numerous sensor points throughout it’s interior that interfaces with a computer.
Alan used the pad on the backs of horses, underneath the saddle, to measure pressure points caused by a poor fit. The results were uploaded to the FSA program on a computer, either in real-time, or after being recorded remotely. The remote capability of the pressure pad allowed Alan to view results of a rider atop a moving horse and see how the pressure points varied while the horse galloped and even jumped. Using the results of the FSA pad, he could compare a standard saddle pad to a variety of prototypes of aircell pads he was developing.
The visual results were astonishing.
On a computer, the FSA pad shows the changes in pressure from one point to surrounding areas. A good reading would be an even distribution of pressure throughout the saddle resulting in a uniform color. A poor reading would show bright red or orange pressure points. With the air cell pads underneath the saddle, the weight of the rider was evenly distributed throughout horse’s back.
FSA Pressure Testing Results:
English Jumping Saddle Comparison