I was originally trained by Lavinia Mitchell, who encouraged a love for learning, biomechanics and rehabilitation. The focus was on rider balance and redeveloping muscles which had suffered from atrophy, helping the horse to then move correctly.
My training started with dissection, so I knew what was beneath the surface of the horse, something I feel is crucial to fitting a saddle. I was then trained by an SMS award winning saddle maker, whose knowledge of trees has been a foundation for my own research.
Now I have chosen to fit Stride Free and Solution Saddles, which I believe are the two top saddle ranges available in their fields today.
With my 10 year experience in the use of shims to rebalance both horses and riders, I can transfer these skills as both allow a huge range of adjustment.
I am also happy to refit and adjust other saddles makes, as long as I feel that these are able to fit well. I will often refit a saddle where possible, to allow short term muscle development, whilst the rider sources a more suitable saddle for the future.
A fitting takes up to two hours, including a biomechanic assessment for both horse and rider, which I feel is beneficial. This applies to both happy hackers and competition riders, everyone has the same assessment, and other professionals may be suggested if I feel this would help. I usually expect you to ride your horse during the assessment to ensure the best outcome, and help resolve saddle issues.
Saddle fitters should be considered part of a team to help your horse, along with your vet, body professionals, instructor, farrier / trimmer, I feel we need to work together to get the best outcome, and I am always happy to work with other professionals. I am also happy for them to shadow me to understand the role of the saddle fitter!