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.

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