SOUND SADDLE FITTING
Hi, my name is Julie Lobban, I have been a certified independent saddle fitter serving the pacific northwest for over three years. As a independent Saddle Fitter I will provide an un-biased opinion of your saddle and its fit. I wont pressure you to buy a saddle because I am not a rep for a particular company. I will be open and honest about the saddle you own and do my best to fit it properly, if its just not the right saddle I can give you advice on other saddles that will be best suited for you and your horse.
A poorly fit saddle can adversely affect both horse and rider, possibly causing physical damage as well as behavior and training issues.Some issues are refusal to freely move forward, resistance to lateral flexion, rearing ,bucking and much more. In studies done, they indicate that 75% to 90% of saddles do not fit correctly. Fortunately, there is hope as most of these problems can be changed by correctly adjusting the saddle. Or purchasing one that fits.
Are you riding in a ill fitting saddle? Heres some easy signs to tell. Do you have to fight to stay in position, have lower back or pelvis pain or struggle to keep in balance? These are all symptoms of a saddle out of balance.
How often should I fit my saddle?
Due to variables such as diet, season, age, health and level of work, your saddle should be checked regularly for proper fit (every 6 months to a year depending). Checking your saddle regularly will help prevent tack related muscle inflammation and soreness which will help avoid costly vet bills and long term damage. I deal with English and Western saddles, both wool and foam. I am able to adjust foam with the use of correction pads and shims. Wool stuffed panels are universally considered superior to foam, because wool conforms to the many shapes of the horse's back and can be adjusted to correct a multitude of fitting problems.
Whats the difference in saddle fitters?
There are three types of saddle fitters, Certified, Qualified and company reps. Here is a brief summary of the three.
CERTIFIED SADDLE FITTER
To become a Independent Certified Saddle Fitter,A person must go through 6 months extensive training.A student is required to gain full knowledge of conformation and the correlation it has to saddle fitting . Extensive anatomy, gait, symmetry analysis, biomechanics, static-dynamic saddle fit, template tracings, saddle construction along with repairs ,custom flocking ,complete conversions and billet replacement.
During the 6 months the fitter is also required to shadow other professionals in this industry.Several trips across the country is required during this process.At the completion of the 6 months there is a final exam, a project and separate anatomy exam must be completed to attain certification.
SMS Qualified Saddle Fitter
Five days in England, consisting of four days of lectures and basic learning and one day of testing. No flocking or adjusting is offered with this. A passing grade on the fifth day will earn you the title of Qualified Saddle Fitter.
Saddle Company Representative
These fitters go through that company's program to learn about their brand of saddles. In the classes they learn all about those saddles, how to fit and sell that saddle. While each company is different the program is usually about 2 weeks long.
My Further Studies
I completed a week in South Carolina where I continued learning more flocking and conversion techniques. I recently returned from Maryland, where I was for a week doing further flocking,bench work and continued saddle fitting classes.
I will continue my education this November to achieve the title of a Master Saddler (once again not the same as qualified fitter).