Integrated Saddling Consultancy
Over the years I have inherently found ill fitting saddles to be the cause of many mental, emotional, physical and performance impacting issues. I have spent many years searching for like-minded saddle manufacturers who truly understand the biomechanics of the horse and the real requirements of both horse & rider.
Saddles are invariable fitted to the profile of the horse when he is standing still. The problem with this is that the moving horse needs to lift his back and expand through the rib cage and chest in order to be able to work effectively and without injury, whilst also supporting the weight of the rider. So a saddle that is fitted to the 'static' shape affords no room for the horse to achieve this. As a result we start to see the horse lose muscle in certain areas over the back and will find that he simply cannot come through properly from behind, regardless of all the suppling exercises, poles and transitions that we might be doing. This can then lead to the risk of injury (most commonly tendon injuries, spinal and joint problems) as the horse becomes what we call a 'leg mover' instead of a 'back mover'.
Through many years of studying, undertaking workshops, training and working with many different horses, I have an excellent understanding of equine biomechanics and how a healthy equine body should be when muscles are correctly developed. My goal is to assist in helping you and your horse find comfort and freedom of movement through fitting well designed ‘horse and rider friendly’ saddles, taking a sympathetic and integrated approach that goes beyond the saddle fit.
The consultation procedure is designed to help you learn more about saddle design and fit, and how it can affect the horse, both positively and negatively. I will assess your horse and the suitability of the design and fit of your current saddle. If I can set things up with your existing saddle to create comfort and harmony for both horse and rider then I most certainly will.
You will also be able to draw on my experience as an equine behaviour consultant and discuss any concerns that you have with your horse that may or may not be saddle related. The aim is to help you and your equine partner by sharing the information and experience I have gained over many years. I like to empower the rider such that they will gain the knowledge to be able to see when the saddle is correct and what to look and feel for when adjustments become necessary.
Since the rider has such an enormous influence on the way a horse moves, I will then work with the rider to show them how they can ride without brace in order to maintain, and even enhance, the flow of movement and energy, thereby enabling the horse to move with softness and freedom.
It should be borne in mind that horses change shape relative to the time of year, exercise and feeding regime, not to mention as they lift muscle that they may well have been lacking ... so a saddle should ideally be checked every three months.
I am happy to arrange private or group consultations, following which I will continue to work closely with you and your horse, offering support and advice that goes well beyond the initial consultation.