Interested in training as a Saddle Fitter? Here's an overview of the industry and everything you need to know to get started in a new and rewarding career.
Saddle Fittings differs from Saddlery (we have an article explaining this here) As a saddle fitter your job is to ensue the horse and rider have a saddle which fits the pair as well as possible and enhances the interaction between the two.
An in-depth knowledge of the horse, saddle, rider interaction is essential as well as a thorough understanding of equine and human physiology and biomechanics.
Historically it has been necessary to first train as a saddler (saddle maker) before being eligible to train as a saddle fitter, however this mode of access is outdated and it is becoming increasingly common for saddle fitters to train in this unique and specific field as a stand-alone profession.
How do I get Started?
The first thing you would need is a keen interest in equine welfare and a fair amount of riding experience as well as a thirst for knowledge and the ability to think on your feet and be able to adapt to any situation.
As a first port of call we suggest attending an introductory workshop or course like the IASF 1 Day Pathway to Saddle Fitting Course. This will give you an overview of the industry and cover the basics of saddle fitting for horse and rider.
Following an introductory course you are able to progress onto a professional certification in Saddle Fitting. A certification course will contain a huge amount of theory as well as lots of practical experience. The stages of saddle fitting will be covered as well as important surrounding subjects such as equine and rider biomechanics, gait analysis, pathology, anatomy and pathology.
When choosing a training provider there are some essential aspects which need to be included in their training offering:
1 - Training MUST include a significant practical element. Learning the theory without the practical application will not qualify you to professionally fit a saddle.
2 - Successful completion of your chosen course must qualify you to obtain appropriate professional insurance.
3 - The training provider must be suitably qualified, insured and experienced to deliver the course and clearly define the content, syllabus and learning outcome objectives as well as any limitations of the certification.
Once you have chosen your training provider you will have a responsibility to undertake the prescribed learning and must successfully complete an assessment of competence. The assessment criteria will vary from course to course and this should be discussed with you upon enrolment.
IASF offer accessible professional Saddle Fitter courses and horse owner training on saddle fit. Our Level 3 and 4 courses cover all of the requisite learning to become a competent and successful professional saddle fitter and can be accessed by attending out 1 Day Pathway to Saddle Fitting course. These one day courses are held around the UK and new venues and dates are constantly added to our event schedule. For more information visit our 'Courses' section here.