Happy New year everyone … here comes 2016 and some of you are already getting ready for the season despite the weather. Dean and I have just come back from our annual holiday and there has been a lot if discussion on our Saddlery Research Facebook Group concerning education and how we can educate and empower our customers to be able to accurately assess saddle fit and recognise when they need to call a professional in to refit their saddle.
At the 2014 Saddle Research Trust Conference Dr Sue Dyson presented the results of a study she had undertaken studying hind limb lameness in relation to saddle slip ( more information on the study can be viewed here) . What shocked her was the high percentage of horses who had saddles which did not fit and also how low the percentage was of people who had regular professional saddle checks.
The discussion then moved to what we should recommend to our customers and what was an exceptable time frame in which to have a saddle check, 3 , 6 12 months? To which I replied the best answer is for the customer to be able to identify when they need one as horses change at different rates due to breed, fitness, health, weather and ofcourse level of training !
I have given this matter a lot of thought since and have been making a point of demonstrating checking procedures with my customers during their saddle fits, but how to help everyone else as there seems to be so much confusion and misunderstanding out there?
There is so much written about the subject on the internet, there’s an expert on every forum ( often a saddler looking for business ) and at every yard and lets face it most of the opinions are by unqualified people with very little experience or background knowledge and in this case the old adage ” a little bit of Knowledge is dangerous” definitely holds true.
Therefore I posed the question on the Saddlery Research Group to see what they thought of us rolling out the availability of our Saddle Awareness Clinics across the UK as usually it is something we mainly do for our retail partners and agents abroad and what I got back was a resounding “Yes Please” .
Sooooo ! if you would like to book a Saddle Fit Awareness Clinic for your riding club or charity or just for your yard please do not hesitate to contact us. More information can be found here.
We are also recruiting trainee saddle fitting agents to cover the UK so if you would like to join our Team please do not hesitate to contact us. More details can be found here, just click on your area.
Good luck for this exciting new season…