The Austrian SME identified the need for a solution to address certain demands in the area of horse riding and this led to the idea and design of an innovative balance cushion to be used on horseback.
The product is an air-filled balance cushion in a range of different shapes and sizes which is integrated into the specially-designed horse riding and training saddle and can be used for:
1. hippotherapy - to improve mobility and to strengthen small muscles;
2. horse riding - to promote good-seated posture and to improve balance;
3. horse training - to smooth and relax the muscles of the horse's back.
Balance cushions are standard products (with variations depending on size/material/thickness) which can be purchased in orthopaedic shops. However, a balance cushion of a specific size and shape made of soft PVC is required for use with the training saddle and belt. The most important elements of this training saddle have already been developed and several balance cushions have already been tested. These cushions have all the requisite functionality, which is needed in order to achieve the above-mentioned purposes.
Experience with different-sized horses has shown that the cushion shape is significant and, in the case of high-withered horses, a heart-shaped cushion would be ideal. For this reason, the Austrian SME is looking for a production partner to produce a prototype of the heart-shaped balance cushion precisely according to the technical specifications (shape/size/material). Upon successful completion of the prototype, the cushion can then be ordered in larger quantities. The PVC material used should be very soft, in order to adjust to the horse's back and to protect the rider from pressure on their body. The cushion should come with soft nubs on one side and a smooth surface on the other side. The overall height is rather flat; approximately 2.5 cm (see technical specifications). A company, which can produce in rotational moulding technology is sought. The corresponding pump is also required and should be produced according to the illustrations provided. The SME wants to work together with potential partners on the development and production of this heart-shaped cushion under manufacturing and/or technical cooperation agreements. A licence agreement is also possible should the partner be interested in purchasing a licence from the Austrian SME.
The training saddle is already on the market since 2015 where the main markets are Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg in addition to Dubai. Further European expansion is planned to start in 2021 followed by Asian and American market launches in 2022/2023. Production of the cushion needs to be scaled up to significantly larger quantities for these market entry plans.
The Austrian SME's preference is to work with European production partners.