Thursday, October 24, 2013

Saddle Fitting Course - What We'll Cover

Thought you all might be interested to see a rough outline of what will be covered in the saddle fitting course April 11-13, 2014.  There will be "classroom" theory as well as hands-on work, so come prepared with horse-friendly clothes and shoes (and be prepared for mud ... or snow ... or hot, sunny weather ... or all at the same time; you never know what a Vermont April will bring).  If there's anything you'd like me to cover that isn't listed here, please let me know.

Basic overview: why saddle fitting is being noticed, why it’s important.  Two schools of thought:  UK/SMS vs. “Continental”/Forward Balance.  Why each works … or doesn’t.
1) What we try to accomplish when fitting a saddle.
2) Identify types and subtypes of English saddles:  cc (equitation, jump, xc), dressage, ap, trail/endurance
            Uses and focus of each
Fit for the rider; how seat depth, blocks, flap length/set affect fit and purpose.

3) Identify parts of the saddles

4) Identify types of panels

5) Identify types of trees (synthetic, spring, hoop/freedom head); purpose of the tree

6) Identify types of flocking, pros and cons of each.

7) Parts of the horse; identify major muscle groups 

8) Why correct fit is important. See #1.How conformation effects fit.  Different conformation challenges (big withers, croup-high, broad back, etc.) and which fitting options work best for each. 

9) Where the saddle should sit, why proper placement is important.  

10) Discuss how to check for back soreness; basics of how to evaluate movement.

11)    Checking static saddle fit – 7 Points including billet placement.  Cover finding rear edge of scapula and T18.

12)    Checking active fit
A)    Cantle pop
B)    Lateral roll
C)    Pad slip
D)    Watch horse and rider – ultimately, it’s up to them.

13)    Taking a template
14)    Taking a conformation photo 
15)    Gadgets:  Port Lewis impression pad, casts, correction pads, pressure pads, etc.

Q&A sessions at lunch and end of each day.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

April 11-13: Saddle Fitting Course

Well, I've certainly been threatening long enough (since 2012, according to this), and it's finally come to fruition (WOOT!!).  April 11-13, 2014, I'll be teaching the long-promised saddle fitting course.  It will be held at the Pullman Farm (former location of the shop where I used to work), 969 Trumbull Hill Rd. in Shaftsbury, VT.  It will start with a meet-and-greet and course overview on Friday evening (times TBA), and will run from 9:30-4 (approximate) on Saturday and Sunday.  The course will cover all aspects of English saddle fitting including saddle types, foam vs. wool, tree types, panel modifications and the conformations they suit, equine anatomy and gait analysis as well as fit for the rider.  The course will NOT teach repairs and flocking adjustments.  Cost is $550.00, which includes lunch/snacks, tools for taking a template and all course materials.  The course is limited to 6 people, and there is a non-refundable deposit of $200 required by Jan 30, 2014 to hold your spot.  There will also be an "on deck" list in case someone drops out.  There are numerous affordable lodging and dining options within 10 miles of the farm.  If interested, please email me at  Looking forward to this!