Equine professionals share the Saddlefit 4 Life® vision and dedication to improve the health and welfare of horses and riders. Saddlefit 4 Life® works cooperatively with equine professionals to facilitate opportunities for industry collaboration and education through wisdom exchange, symposia, workshops, clinics, lectures and demonstrations.

Saddlefit 4 Life® offers continuing education programs geared to veterinarians, REMT’s, chiropractors, physiotherapists, trainers, farriers, saddle fitters and retailers customized for specific training requirements. Professionals may apply for Equine Ergonomist internships and certification.

We recognize the challenges faced by trainers and coaches.  The rider’s expectation is that that your broad range of knowledge will provide much needed guidance in all aspects of equine training and care. Educated consumers are increasingly aware of ongoing innovation in equine technology and the myriad of products and services. Riders look to their trainer as a valuable resource for information and help. Trainers also face ongoing risks for their business – cancelled lessons and reduced income – from rider concerns such as sore backs, lame horses and behavioural issues.

Veterinarians are called upon for their expertise regarding common concerns in the equine industry – muscle definition and atrophy, hock and stifle injection, S.I joint issues, kissing spine, spondylosis and undiagnosed lameness. Research and technology has made tremendous advances in the last decade – equine MRI’s, fiber optic cameras, thermography, and computerized saddle pads to find solutions to previously undiagnosed and unresolved lameness issues. Saddlefit 4 Life® programs cover principles of saddle fit and issues not taught in vet school with information and techniques to shortening the diagnostic process.

Saddlefit 4 Life® provides farriers an understanding of saddle construction, saddle fitting principles and equine issues caused by ill-fitting saddles. This information needs to be considered when shoeing to balance the horse and for educating their clients about the importance of saddle fit.

Riders look to saddle fitters for ongoing saddle maintenance and also for advice about suspected or known saddle fit issues. Riders need to be comfortably positioned and supported to promote giving of ‘aids’ while promoting movement. Female riders commonly experience but rarely mention ongoing issues: back, hip and pelvic discomfort and pain, recurring bladder infections, collapsing at the hip into a chair seat, knees and toes turning out, feeling ‘behind’ or ‘in front of’ the motion, legs swinging, feeling ‘pulled apart’ through the hips, struggling to achieve shoulder, hips heels position, discomfort and pressure in the pelvic area (sitting on soft tissue). All of these issues may be attributed by riding in a ‘male’ saddle.

The horse may be exhibiting signs of poor saddle fit (stumbling, head tossing, white spots, bucking, bad behaviour, stepping short). With so many types and brands of saddles available today, it is difficult to know how many and what interrelating factors affecting fit may be at play (saddle type, size, tree composition, adjustability, horse conformation, age, weight and balance of rider, fit in motion). Unless you are a saddle maker it is increasingly difficult to help riders determine the issues and find solutions to improve and maintain saddle fit on an ongoing basis. Regardless of your training, you have seen challenging fit situations, and horses suffering from the effects of ill- fitting saddles. Your life’s work is to provide the best fit solution for horses, and this involves saddle fit checking and maintenance on a regular basis.

We invite you to explore opportunities with Saddlefit 4 Life®. You will be able to service your clients the most innovative system in the industry that was developed for the well-being of the horse.

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Testimonials

The riding school where I first took lessons had "good" saddles, made by a venerable European manufacturer, so when I noticed my riding was uncomfortable, I assumed a problem with my position. Eventually though, I realized that no position was comfortable, that riding varied from unpleasant to excruciating. Nobody else seemed to have a problem, and my instructor was not a person with whom anyone discussed non-public parts of the body, so I just accepted that riding was painful. Until I rode in a friend's saddle, made by another venerab1e European manufacturer. It was an old saddle, but the moment I sat in it I was like Goldilocks in Baby Bear's chair -it was just right. Painless! Amazing! So I measured, compared, tried other saddles; then my husband made me foam blocks that I placed next to my stirrup bars to widen the saddle waist until I could buy a used saddle-shaped -like-me. If I or my instructor had had Jochen Schleese's important book “Suffering In Silence”, I would have been spared years of pain and frustration. It seems an unfortunate human tendency to take no steps toward a solution unless the ultimate solution is achievable, like the onlooker who wondered why to throw a single starfish in the sea if they couldn’t all be saved.  I can’t afford to buy custom saddles for my school horses, but there are many things I can do, with the information in Mr. Schleese's book, to make my horses and my students more comfortable. Correct diagnosis is vital to solving problems, and its information that you need to make a diagnosis, like the significance of saddle length, gullet width, equine asymmetry, billet placement, cantle angle, and many other features of the interface between rider and horse. Little, inexpensive things like foam blocks can make the difference between painful and painless for both the equines and the humans you are responsible for, if you have the information that comes from Mr. Schleese's experience, we may not be able to do everything, but we should do what we can.

— Katie Aiken, Riding Instructor Magazine Copy Editor Fall 2014

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