The fit of your saddle and bridle play a critical role in the overall health and wellbeing for your horse – and for you. Horses change constantly, whether gaining or losing excess weight, developing healthy or compensatory muscling, or altering how they move due to lameness, or, preferably, due to correct management and training. Even the rider changes, if not physically, then in ability or desire to try different ridden sports. All these changes may be reflected in the fit of your saddle. Poor fit can lead to discomfort for your horse and unwanted behaviours such as bucking, napping and moving off when the rider tries to mount. The rider in a saddle that does not fit them may find they experience back or joint pains. Importantly, both horse and human may find that they cannot do what is being asked of them, and lose confidence.
Issues caught early can often be addressed with subtle changes, and the fitter and rider can work together – with the rest of the care team – to plan ahead.
The benefits of employing an SMS QSF are:
Rigorous training & assessment
The expertise of an SMS QSF is there to guide you through the saddle fitting process so that you and your horse achieve the best outcome and performance.
An SMS QSF will have completed in-depth training and practical experience over a minimum of three years before sitting their examination in order to gain this globally respected City & Guilds qualification.
The society adapts its training content and method so that it is always current and correct, developing standardised systems or checklists so no essential part of the fitting process is missed.
Continued training and learning
The best saddle fitters say you never stop learning and that is one of the things they love about their work. SMS QSFs must attend a refresher course every two years and complete a set level of continued professional development.
High standards of service with a code of conduct
Registered SMS QSFs agree to abide by a stringent code of conduct, which sets out expected standards of service and professional conduct.