Are you a qualified saddle fitter?

Are you a qualified saddle fitter?

Yes I am qualified with Saddle fit 4 life

Why SF4L and not the Society Master Saddlers?

When I trained and qualified with SF4L I had been working for a couple of years with an SMS fitter, trainer and examiner and for me personally it hadn’t been a good learning experience, the way of fitting and depth of knowledge definitely wasn’t resonating with me. At the time I was already a BD listed judge, I was classically training my horses with some of the best classical trainers in the world and when it came to rehabiltating two German Warmbloods I owned I was struggling to find an off the peg saddle for improving performance and ultimately my kissing spine horse. Which in a tack room of some 500 saddles was quite frustrating 🙈

The training that SF4L offered made more sense to me and so I travelled to Germany initially to train with Jochen Schleese. The training was intense but it was in-depth and a well rounded course. Just one part of their training ensured we could carry out an 80 point check, looking at every detail.

Since qualifying, yes I considered an SMS or MSFC qualification but I haven’t felt it would add much value. Yes it would offer some sort of support group. I may have chosen a slightly lonlier path but it’s definitely the right path for me! Maybe had I seen consistent rave reviews from these qualified fitters or had amazing feedback from the fitters that had attended the courses I would have felt differently. There was a fitter on my SF4L training who had done all of the saddle fitting courses available and she cemented my decision in that I had completed the correct course for me. I also knew that to now complete any of these courses, I would have have had to change the way I fit saddles on my clients horses and I just wasn’t prepared to do that.

Anyway for me a qualification is just the start of a journey and every individual finds their own unique skills, interests and passions. Alongside saddle fitting I just love seeing and being part of correct training, supporting performance at all levels and getting into the deep dive of horse and human science, biomechanics, symmetry and development.

Every year I attend lots of CPD (over and above the requirements needed) often being the only saddle fitter in attendance, I am a qualified Testt (rider symmetry) coach, I am a fully qualified human massage therapist, I carry out and support saddle research in UK universities and am so invested in understanding the horse/saddle/rider combination I invested in the world class technology myself, I use my technology to study individual client/horse needs and have travelled the globe exploring rehabilitation and biomechanics, I work closely with a number or vets, body workers and trainers. I am passionate about working closely with my brilliant supported riders ensuring both their needs and their clients are being met. They get to work with these clients weekly and are therefore key to saddle design, client performance and progression, and they thankfully feedback what is needed from me - whether that be biomechanics support or saddle adjustments.

So I suppose what I’m trying to say is if at the top of your tick list there is another qualification you prefer then you should absolutely go in that direction. I am of course fully insured for the many hats that I wear.

I should also add this post was partly inspired by Steph Bloom who has no qualifications but is a saddle fitter I admire for following her own path and staying true to what she believes 🙏