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Saddler or Saddle Fitter

Two titles which are often misunderstood in the equestrian world but what is the difference?


Saddler


The term saddler has traditionally been used for all things saddle related whether it’s repairing a broken noseband, fitting a custom-made saddle and everything in between! The truth however is that saddlery and saddle fitting are very different.


Saddlery refers to the craftmanship of leatherwork. To quote the Society of Master Saddlers, saddlers are ‘individuals who are trained, skilled and qualified in their own right to make and repair saddlery’.


Saddlery in itself does not require any hands-on horse experience and it is not uncommon for saddlers to have little to no experience actually working with horses. It does however require a high degree of skill and craftmanship and many years of training are required to become a competent saddler.


Saddle Fitters


Saddle Fitters on the other hand are specifically trained to ‘fit’ a saddle.


Fitting a saddle has significant physiological and biomechanical implications for the horse and rider and it is important that the person fitting your saddle has an in-depth knowledge of this complex interaction.


In short, a saddler makes a saddle and a saddle fitter fits the saddle.


It is possible to be both a saddler and a saddle fitter but one does not automatically lead to the other.


The saddle industry has historically been led by saddle making and access to saddle fitting education has been restricted to those already qualified in the craft.


Fortunately this is starting to change and saddle fitting is gaining the recognition it deserves as a profession in its own right.

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