Are you interested in equine welfare and have a quest for knowledge? If yes, a career as a Saddle fitter could be perfect for you.
Saddle fitters work to improve the comfort and performance of horses and riders. They evaluate their client's requirements to provide the most appropriate saddle fitting services ensuring horse health, comfort, and long life.
You must complete certification in Saddle Fitting. It teaches equine biomechanics, physiology, rider interaction, and saddle construction and fitting. You also must apply for an ASFA Accreditation to work as a Saddle Fitter in Australia.
This blog gives you a complete overview of the Saddle-fitter profession - job responsibilities, qualifications, saddle fitting course, requisite skills, recommended training, salary, and the steps to land a position.
1. Why Is Saddle Fitting Important?
The horse rider equipment influences a horse's comfort, behaviour, and performance level.
Where an ill-fitting saddle can inhibit performance and cause damage to a horse, a well-fitted one gives comfort and maximizes the performance and quality of the horse. It also makes the rider feel secure and naturally balanced.
The saddle fitter makes the saddle the best he can, as it links communication between the rider and the horse.
2. What Is A Saddle Fitter?
Saddle design and saddle fit can make or break the horse's performance. A poorly-fitting saddle can cause back soreness in horses and adversely impact their performance. The Saddle fitter has a thorough understanding and experience of what kind of saddle works.
They have the formal training and years of experience to distinguish between a saddle that works and one that is not. They can transform a standard fit saddle into a customized item that easily conforms to the polymorphic shape of the horse's back, offering steady support for the rider's weight.
Saddle fitters protect horses from saddle-induced injuries or discomforts. Maximizing the saddle fit helps enhance the interaction between the rider and the horse.
Saddle fitters may work as independent saddle fitters or in a company that offers saddle-fitting services to clients.
3. What Does A Saddle Fitter Do?
Saddle fitters in Australia perform the following tasks:
Do a comprehensive evaluation of the health history of the horse.
Carry out a hands-on examination of the horse, including symmetry examination, static and dynamic fitting, gait analysis, and back palpation
Closely watch the horse's response when tacked up with a saddle or approached.
Determine the way the pony/horse moves under the saddle and how his movement impacts the balance and fit of the saddle
Discussing the rider-specific issues about riding and training that they experience with the current pair of saddles
Determine rider's preference in terms of sizes and model
Evaluate the horse's needs
Advise clients about the fitting of saddles
Make necessary adjustments to the saddle.
Test ride multiple saddles to find which one fits the best.
Notice how an optimally fitting saddle help improves some or all of those issues.
Properly fit the new saddle.
Sell an extensive range of customized saddles to suit varying budgets, riding styles, and performance levels that guarantee the optimum fit for horses and riders.
Work autonomously and use judgment with equipment to provide solutions for expected and unexpected issues.
4. What Skills Do You Need To Become A Saddle Fitter?
Enjoy spending time with horses daily
Good knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics, and physiology of horses and humans
Keen interest in the well-being and welfare of the horse
A genuine desire to help horses perform pain-free
A good amount of riding experience
Able to think on your feet
Knowledge of different types of saddles and what makes a good fit
Adaptability to any situation
Good interpersonal and customer service skills (when interacting with horse owners and riders)
Time management and scheduling skills
Good commercial values if you aspire to become a saddle salesman
A "Never stop learning" attitude
5. Steps To Become A Saddle Fitter In Australia
The following are the steps to becoming a saddle fitter in Australia:
Step 1: Complete Training And Assessment
Start your career by undertaking an introductory Saddle Fitting Course. The course gives you a basic understanding of the industry and the basics of saddle fitting for a horse and rider. Search for a "saddle fitting course near me" to find courses in your area.
Next, you can advance your learning by taking a professional certification in Saddle Fitting that contains theory and practical experience. You will learn about rider and equine biomechanics, gait analysis, anatomy, and pathology.
Step 2: Get Accreditation
To become a certified saddle fitter, you must obtain accreditation from the Australian Saddle Fitters Association. It is a leading independent Institution for Saddle Fitting Accreditation in ASFA.
You must do the ASFA Accredited Saddle Fitters training to become an accredited saddle fitter in Australasia. It ensures you are compliant with rigorous saddle fitting principles and capable of delivering the best saddle fit for the horse and rider.
This training educates on the importance of a regular Saddle Fit. It explains the ASFA 15 Saddle Fit Checks to identify the right time to replace an old saddle fit.
To maintain the accreditation, you must continuously learn new methodologies emerging with technological advancements.
Step 3: Enrol In an Apprenticeship
Though an experienced saddle fitter is preferred, it is not a requirement for an entry role in the occupation.
If you are interested in gaining industrial exposure, a saddle fitter apprenticeship is one of the best options. Most saddle fitters choose this route to find employment with a Society member willing to train them via an apprenticeship.
Alternatively, you can train as a saddler fitter and become part of society to progress into saddle fitting.
Step 4: Apply For Jobs
After you complete the Saddle fitting course, you can choose to work in any of the following options:
Become an autonomous master saddle fitter consultant
Become a mediator between horse owner and saddler
Specialize in various saddles such as Icelandic saddles and Spanish saddles
Become part of a vet team at the clinic
Become an advisor for saddle manufacturers worldwide
Peter Horobin Saddlery is a Melbourne-based family business in Australia that provides job opportunities to qualified saddle fitters.
Click here to apply for the position.
6. Saddle Fitting Courses
Are you fascinated by how a saddle impacts the horse's behaviour and want to learn saddle-fitting processes to keep the horse and rider happy? If so, you should consider studying a course.
We have discussed top saddle fitting courses below that give you an overview of the industry and a basic understanding of saddle fitting for horses and riders. Completing these courses is the ideal learning route to entering this rewarding profession.
Saddle Fitter Pathway Course – Saddle Bank
Who would benefit from this course:
A school leaver planning to enter this profession;
A career changer who is bored of the everyday 9 to 5 schedule
An equine professional who wants to gain more equine knowledge and supplement their service offerings
Anyone who has an interest and experience in handling horses can take up this course. It will help them become qualified saddle fitters to do a job they like and control their time.
You will learn in this online saddle fitting course:
Basics of saddle brands, construction, and fitting
Physiology and biomechanics of a horse
Desirable Saddle fitter qualities
Impact of the saddle and the rider
How to perform a proper back exam
How to check a horse for lameness and poor movement
How to know when to send the horse to a vet
How to measure a horse's back to identify the right saddle and fit it correctly
Learn when and how to use therapeutic pads properly
Basic understanding of Equine Anatomy concerning saddle fitting
Equine conformation and conformation when fitting saddles
Saddle Fitting process and consequences
Saddle faults and repairs
Setting up a saddle-fitting business
Are you looking for saddle fitting courses in Australia that can teach you the technical and business side of setting up a Saddle Making Business?
This 5-day training course covers every aspect of saddle making. It is ideal for people with no experience in saddlery wanting to develop saddle-making skills.
People who wish to acquire the time-tested skills of leather craft and saddle making should take this course. It can help train other people and establish manufacturing, retail, wholesale, import, and exports business.
After the course, participants receive a certificate confirming they are competent in making a saddle.
Saddle Fit 4 Life Academy offers two certification courses, the Certified Equine Ergonomist and the Certified Saddle Ergonomist.
Become A Certified Equine Ergonomist
It is a fully-online Certified Equine Ergonomist course providing elaborate concept-based lessons, in-barn projects, real-time virtual sessions, trainer-led case studies, and more.
By completing this course, you will gain the skills and confidence to precisely examine the saddle fit to the horse to prevent discomfort and injury.
This certification course is for veterinarians, horse owners, trainers, bodyworkers, riders, farriers, and other equine professionals.
Become A Certified Saddle Ergonomist
Suppose you are an equine enthusiast and wish to provide on-site saddle fitting sales and services. In that case, this certification course is for you.
Learn evidence-based Saddle fitting, methods to choose and adjust a new or used saddle, and the dos and don'ts of saddle fitting to prevent injury to horse and rider.
After completing this course, you become competent to offer superior services to clients. This course is available for those who have completed the Certified Equine Ergonomist course.
By completing this unit, you will gain the knowledge and skills needed to choose and fit saddlery equipment for horses and riders to perform a variety of horse sport disciplines.
This unit applies to all those individuals who provide saddle fitting services for clients.
Working as a Saddle Fitter, you meet different types of horse owners and riders, making the job exciting and rewarding. It gives a noble opportunity to help horses and riders be more comfortable and perform better.
If you want to follow your passion for working with horses but want to be something other than an instructor, this profession could be ideal for you. Don't procrastinate on your career aspirations, be brave and take the step now.
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