Why use a Qualified Saddle Fitter?
All Qualified Saddle Fitters have a minimum of 3 years fitting experience and have attended intensive courses before taking the final assessment.
The assessment covers several areas including conformation, anatomy & movement of the horse, in relation to the fitting of saddle and recognising any problems that may need to be referred on to the vet. Whilst fitting various saddles for different disciplines, candidates must have a good knowledge of saddle construction and types and have to be able to recognise faults and damage. They also have to know how to carry out any adjustments to ensure as good a fit as possible. Should a Saddle Fitter not be an actual working saddler themselves, they will use the services of a Master or Qualified Saddler to do the work for them, thus ensuring a high standard.
Once qualified, all Saddle Fitters have to attend a compulsory bi-annual refresher course and re-register annually whilst abiding by the Society of Master Saddlers Code of Conduct.
At the actual fitting, the horse’s history, workload (now and future) and discipline are discussed, his back examined and he is seen moving in-hand. Then he will be seen ridden in his own, or if required, any potentially new saddles. Templates are taken as well as any notes about the rider that may be beneficial. All of this is noted and the customer given a copy which they have read and signed. This is a good way to monitor any changes and for both parties to keep a record of any work that may have been undertaken.
I am both a Qualified Saddle Fitter and Master Saddler and endeavour, where possible, to carry out any fine tuning adjustments to the saddle at the time of fitting with both horse and rider present as I prefer the saddle to be retried. This is especially important in the fitting of a Side Saddle as many small adjustments may be needed to truly balance the saddle for both horse and rider. Should more extensive work to the saddle (either astride or aside) be required i.e. a complete reflock, then this is carried out in the workshop before being refitted and re-evaluated.
For the horse and his owner/rider to gain full pleasure and achievement in their partnership requires team effort regardless of the level of riding. This includes the Instructor, Farrier, Vet, Equine
Dentist, Physio, Chiropractor etc, as well as all the hard working grooms, yard owners, long suffering husbands, wives and partners.