Sorry our September 2017 course is filled. Next course will start in late 2018 or early 2019. Applications taken in strict chronological order and we already have 3 places filled of the 12 available! No fees required until a place is actually offered to you - normally 3 months before the course commencement date.

_______________________________________________

Training as a Remedial Saddle Fitter

The recurring problem of horses with bad backs and/or saddle related problems will be a familiar one to you, whether you work professionally within the horse industry or are an experienced amateur equestrian. The minefield of knowing where to go for help has at last become easier. At Horse1st we have developed a new training course, in Remedial Saddle Fitting, which is the most thorough and comprehensive training of its kind. It is not trade-based and combines the knowledge of the traditional saddle fitter with that of other equine professionals to create an accredited qualification with a holistic approach. Learning it will complement your existing skills and increase your ability to provide both horses and riders with a much better service.

If you already work with horses, or are looking for an opportunity to qualify in a marketable skill, Remedial Saddle Fitting may be what you want. There is a huge demand for this service and a shortage of holistically trained professionals to provide it. Please read on.

The horse was not intended to carry man, but by a miracle he can. He was not intended to race or jump, or to do dressage, play polo or any of the diverse occupations we have taught him.

The saddle is the interface between him and us. As long as it fits properly it will not inhibit his natural movement nor cause him discomfort. When it does not fit it can be uncomfortable and, in extreme cases, an instrument of downright torture. It will stop him moving freely and may affect his outlook on life making him morose, irritable, frightened or potentially dangerous.

Throughout your horse's life his bodily shape will change (just like our own) and he may need his saddle adjusted accordingly. It may simply be the result of a long summer on good grass that has caused the problem, or the development of more muscle with work and maturity. Sometimes it happens, following an injury, that the horse has compensated to protect  weakened and sore muscles or joints, with a corresponding overbuild where other muscles have taken the extra burden. This is then mirrored by a noticeable wastage of those areas that are being shielded.

For the owner it can be difficult to spot these changes as they may creep up gradually over weeks or even months. The first indication may be no more than an increasing unwillingness to respond to aids that previously the horse obeyed unquestioningly. It may start rolling poles when jumping, having normally been pretty good in this respect, or demonstrating a loss of scope. The dressage competitor may notice his or her horse shows slight reluctance to work on one rein or to do transitions smoothly. There may also be evidence of bad behaviour in little ways.

Lastly it may be that the saddle has been damaged or has become twisted over the years. Certainly the flocking will compact and give poorer protection to the horse's back. A new horse may arrive with an inappropriate saddle or without one at all.

For all these reasons the horse needs to be professionally examined and the problem assessed. Where there is a functional or behavioural problem it is usually the coach or a back specialist who is called in. Sometimes the vet, farrier or dentist may spot the problem or the saddler will realise that the cause of the difficulty is more complex than an ill-fitting saddle. 

At Horse1st we believe that a thorough knowledge of remedial saddle fitting is a valuable addition to the skills of these equine professionals. In consequence we have designed the first ever course in Remedial Saddle Fitting. Below is a series of Frequently Asked Questions to tell you more about the training

What you need to know

How do I know that this is a properly designed course that will qualify me to do this work?

The Remedial Saddle Fitting Course has been constructed over 7 years before being offered to the public. It is accredited by Lantra Awards, which is an accrediting body with governmental recognition. Lantra is a privatised derivative of the old Agricultural Training Board and is a specialist training provider in the land-based sector. They have their own division purely for the equine industry.

Before granting accreditation Lantra satisfy themselves that the course content and design are professionally structured and that the training outcomes are properly evaluated. They conduct periodic external verification to ensure the maintenance of standards. Therefore a Lantra qualification or certificate has value alongside any other academic or vocational qualification you may hold and its possession will add to your personal CV.

Lantra Awards protect the reputation of their services by insisting that all Instructors involved with any of their accredited courses are qualified in Instructional Techniques. All Horse1st instructors have satisfied these criteria.

Visit www.lantra-awards.co.uk.

How long does the course run?

The course extends over approximately a fifteen month period. It is comprised of 6 x 2 day workshops, mixing theory with practice, in a combination of classroom, equestrian facility and saddle maker's workshop. These are spaced out to allow students time to absorb and practice their newly acquired skills before moving on. The need to avoid information overload and burn-out is the reason why the course is so lengthy.

You will also be required to complete the Candidate Workbook, including those aspects in which you may already be practicing. This element will be mostly by home study, with supporting tutorials. In addition there will a requirement to produce over 20 case histories and to accompany one of our experienced  saddle-fitters at work. All students will be asked, as a pre-requisite of their training, to abide by a code of conduct.

On completion of this course the graduates will be qualified as Remedial Saddle Fitters. Once they have obtained appropriate public, professional and product liability insurance their names will be held on a national register from which referrals can be made. This will be renewed only by payment of a re-registration fee and completion of a minimum of 2 days continued professional development (CPD ) annually.

Who can apply for training in Remedial Saddle-fitting?

Remedial Saddle Fitters will usually be working in a consultative capacity so must be socially mature, with excellent inter-personal skills and have considerable professional or competitive horse experience. Applications must be accompanied by a full c.v. and two references, from both a veterinary surgeon and an equestrian professional, stating suitability for undertaking this training. We are looking for people whose ability, knowledge and presentation will complement the credibility the training will provide.

Understanding the structure & movement of the horse

Applicants must have a proven knowledge of the musculo-skeletal aspect of Equine Anatomy & Physiology, or bio-mechanics. Horse1st recognises the A & P element of the training for McTimoney Chiropractice, EMRT, SOAP, ACPAT, ICAT, etc. If you are in any doubt of the validity of such qualifications in respect of remedial saddle fitting, please check with us.

What if I do not have a qualification in Anatomy & Physiology?

In response to demand Horse1st is offering a short course, both on the effect of primary saddle damage to the movement, scope, balance and impulsion of the horse, and, equally, the secondary effect of musculo-skeletal imbalances on the saddle fit. This will enable potential applicants, without  previous Anatomy & Physiology qualification, to understand the Remedial Saddle Fitting course more fully. This depth of knowledge is necessary as Remedial Saddle Fitters should be able to discuss individual cases with vets and equine therapists.


Understanding how the spine works -  or doesn't!

Applicants should also consider the 4 day course in "Equine biomechanics, gait abnormalities and applied anatomy" run by Equinenergy from Writtle College in Essex. Visit www.equinenergy.com or contact 01526 351381.

Will there be an interview?

The first induction day will also be considered to be an extended interview/assessment. At that time Horse1st reserve the right to terminate the training, without giving a reason, of anyone who is considered unsuitable. In this event the initial registration fee will be returned in full.

How much will the training cost?

The current cost of the course is £2,700. There are two choices. Firstly you may pay in two instalments of £1,350, the first following selection for training and before the commencement of the course, the second at the halfway point. Secondly, in recognition of the current economic climate you may pay in four instalments of £700. The fee covers all your instruction, both at the workshops and through the tutorials that monitor your home study and theoretical work. All your materials and tools are included, as are your lunches and refreshments during the workshops.

What happens if I cannot meet the standard set?

Qualification does not depend on a pass/fail exam system. Where the organisers believe a participant lacks competence in any area they will give written notification of specific failings or weaknesses, and will undertake to make reasonable efforts to assist the individual to meet the required standards. This means there is no final date (hence the 'approximate' length of the course) and candidates may complete the theoretical element of their training over a longer period. They must, however have attended all the workshop days, carried out the case histories and have achieved a satisfactory level of practical competence.

Where the necessary improvement is not achieved the organisers will only reimburse monies on an ‘ex gratia’ basis.

How much can I expect to earn?

This depends on you. You can make a full-time living from saddle-fitting, but it takes time to build up a business and clientele. Currently (2016) a saddle-fitting consultation, which might last an hour on average, can cost around £60 plus travelling expenses. There may be commission from saddlers for referrals or you may choose to act as a retailer of new made-to-measure saddles, as well as second-hand ones. Equally a saddle-fitting consultation may result only in the existing saddle being re-flocked or needing minor repairs.

How many students will be on each course?

We take a maximum of twelve students on each course. Experience tells us that larger numbers do not get sufficient hands on experience in the practical aspects.

Practising in small groups

When will the course start?

The next course is scheduled to start in September 2017. Applications should be submitted and successful applicants will receive written notification of their acceptance and joining details.

What days will the workshops be held on?

The workshops will be held on weekdays, normally Monday and Tuesday.

How much time will I need to set aside for my training?

There will be 6 x 2 day workshops (which includes the final practical assessment day) and one day shadowing a qualified saddle-fitter. In addition you will need to complete the Candidate Workbook and allocate about 50 hours to case histories and other home study tasks. This is the equivalent of 4 x five-day weeks over the course of fifteen months.

You may also need to complete a distance learning certificate on Equine Anatomy & Physiology or attend a recommended short course on Equine Bio-mechanics (e.g. Equistudy, Equinenergy or the Horse1st Equine Anatomy & Physiology module). 

What happens if, for reasons beyond my control, I am unable to complete the course?

Your records will be retained and you will be able to continue at a later date. The point of training at which you re-commence will be mutually agreed. There will be no refunding of fees in this instance except on an ‘ex gratia’ basis. You will have to sign an undertaking not to practice as a remedial saddle-fitter (in any shape or form) until you have completed your full training, have passed your practical assessment and gained your certificate.

How will my ability be examined?

Qualification as a Remedial Saddle-fitter will only be on successful completion of the whole course. There will be on-going assessment at the workshops regarding your ability to assess saddles and horses. These aspects will also be practically assessed at the end of the course along with your ability to take wither templates correctly, assess saddles and equine imbalances, and to make properly documented referrals, etc. Theoretical knowledge will be examined by completion of the Candidate Workbook

I am already qualified in some aspects of this course, will I need to study everything?

Professionally qualified applicants, e.g. veterinary surgeons, saddlers, Physiotherapists, McTimony chiropracters, EMRT practitioners, Equine Massage Therapists & allied therapies may not need to be examined in those areas in which they are already qualified. However they will be required to complete the relevant sections in the Candidate Workbook. Talk to us if you feel this is appropriate.

Where will the workshops and examination be held?

For practical considerations it is anticipated that bulk of these will be in the Midlands. The ‘classroom’ elements and the ‘hands on’ horse workshops will be held in Worcestershire. Visits to the saddlery will be in the Walsall area.

Will I learn to make my own saddles?

No. This is a skilled craft requiring an apprenticeship of many years. However most candidates will want to learn how to 'drop' a panel out and to re-flock and replace the panel. Some will progress on to minor repairs. At present this is considered as CPD and we are able to recommend a reliable source of training for this.

___________________________________________________________________________________

For brief profiles of your instructors (Please see the page "About us")

__________________________________________________________________________________

CANDIDATE APPLICATION FORM FOR TRAINING IN REMEDIAL SADDLE FITTING

Completion and submission of our Candidate Application Form constitutes your formal application for training in remedial saddle fitting. The information you give will be confidential and will not be disclosed, nor your contact details otherwise distributed, to any persons or organization other than those engaged directly in the administration of horse1st training.

Your application does not ensure your acceptance for training and horse1st training reserves the right to refuse any application without offering a reason. Accepted applicants will be offered course places on a “first come first served” basis and, where numbers exceed places, will be given priority on subsequent courses. Your first payment (50% of the overall fee) will only be needed to secure your place once you have received confirmation of acceptance.

Ask for your copy of the Candidate Application Form by contacting horse1st  by letter, email or phone. Go to our home page for contact details. You will also be asked to agree to the Code of Conduct and Health & Safety Agreements printed below. Copies of these will accompany your application form.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Horse1st Saddle Fitting

Code of Conduct 

ALL STUDENTS IN TRAINING AND QUALIFIED REMEDIAL SADDLE-FITTERS MUST SIGN AND ABIDE BY THE FOLLOWING CODE OF CONDUCT

1. The Remedial Saddle-fitter will always have the well-being of the horse as the prime concern.

2. The Remedial Saddle-fitter must be covered by Public Liability, Product Liability & Professional Indemnity Insurances at all times.

3. The purpose of each Remedial Saddle-fitting consultation is to provide advice and help. It is not a vehicle for selling saddles unnecessarily.

4. Where horse or rider are the primary cause of saddle-fitting problems these are not the responsibilty of the Remedial Saddle-fitter but  suitable recommendations may be suggested.

5. The Remedial Saddle-fitter should always conduct his or herself politely and efficiently and be well-presented. Punctuality and reliability are part of your business skills.

6. The Remedial Saddle-fitter should always clearly inform the client of the outcome and recommendations arising from the consultation, including approximate costs, delivery time (these may need to be verified after talking to the saddler) and the projected need for repeat visits where re-fitting is anticipated.

7. The Remedial Saddle-fitter must ensure that all information gathered during a consultation is confidential. Records must be kept secure.

8. The Remedial Saddle-fitter must ensure that the details passed on to the saddler are accurate and complete. Apart from the technical specifications this should include any projections of delivery time and cost.

9. During training the Remedial Saddle-fitting student will undertake not to charge for the necessary case histories.

10. No Remedial Saddle-fitting student or qualified practitioner may undertake to train other people in this discipline, or to use the registered name or trade mark of horse1st Saddle-fitting, or any recognisably exploitative derivation of the registered name or trade mark of Horse1st Saddle Fitting, for any commercial purpose, without the express written permission of the Directors of Horse1st Saddle Fitting.

I HAVE READ THE ABOVE AND AGREE TO ADHERE TO IT IN DETAIL

Print Name:                                                                                  Date:

Signed

_________________________________________________________________________________

Horse 1st Saddle Fitting 

Health & Safety Statement

HEALTH & SAFETY during the Remedial Saddle Fitting Course

1. While all reasonable measures will be taken to ensure the Health, Safety and Welfare of those attending the above course, Horse1st cannot be held responsible for accidents arising from circumstances beyond our control.

2. Participants, tutors and helpers must all be conscious of conducting themselves in a safe and sensible manner at all times. In the event of any participant putting themselves or others at risk Horse1st reserves the right to discontinue that persons training.

3. We all have a shared responsibility for the Health & Safety of those around us.

4. Participants are responsible for supplying and wearing their own, suitable, protective clothing, headgear and footwear. Horses are easily frightened and are unpredictable. A hard hat and non-slip, robust footwear are recommended. Horse1st reserve the right to refuse training to anyone who is inadequately dressed.

5. Participants must not handle tools or machines without the specific consent of the Course Co-ordinator.

6. Smoking is not permitted in any of the training venues. Smokers must wait until the appropriate breaks.

7. It is your responsibility to make yourself aware of the Fire Drill at the course venue.

8. In the event of an accident or emergency contact the Course Co-ordinator, who is responsible for recording all accidents and injuries.

9. Anyone suffering from any condition, (e.g. allergies, diabetes, epilepsy) which might require emergency treatment, should advise the Course Co-ordinator before commencing training.

10. Participants attend Horse1st Remedial Saddle Fitting training at their own risk.

I HAVE READ THE ABOVE AND AGREE TO ADHERE TO IT IN DETAIL

Signed: ……………………………………………………… Date: ……………………………….

Name in print: ………………………………………………