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.