In the short time that Horse1st Saddle Fitting has been trading we have attracted a lot of interest from other equine professionals and from various education and training agencies. There is no doubt that Remedial Saddle Fitting is one of the missing pieces in the jigsaw that is horse welfare and performance, and that a knowledge of it will enhance the professional understanding of even the best qualified.

We want to share this knowledge so that as many horses as possible can benefit from it. At the same time we believe that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing", a trap we are anxious to avoid. Therefore we have designed a programme specifically to help professionals understand how the saddle impacts on the horse's movement, performance and behaviour.

We also have identified the need for a concentrated course in equine structure and movement. Several, otherwise good, applicants for our Remedial Saddle Fitting course have lacked any formal qualification in equine anatomy & physiology. Without this we find they struggle to cope with some aspects of our course within the time frame available. It has been difficult to source a suitable short course that fulfils our needs so we have designed our own 'in house' one. If you are contemplating embarking on a career in equine therapy, or simply want to know more about what is going on 'under the bonnet', this course will give you a solid foundation from which to progress.

Scroll down to learn about these 2 options.



This programme is designed to help you recognise the symptoms of incorrect saddle fitting and the functional and behavioural problems that result from it. You will understand too that asymmetry arising from an injury or imbalance will create secondary saddle related trauma. It then becomes apparent that treating the problem, without considering the implications of the saddle fit, will only result in the horse re-injuring itself.

Our holistic approach takes into account the visual and tactile clues that will help you identify the existence and possible causes of problems. This will range from assessing correctly the visible imbalance of musculature, movement and stance, through the behavioural issues that are evident or reported, to the visible asymmetry of the saddle and the incorrectness of saddle placement and fit. Then we will consider the possibility of "rider created" issues.

The programme will also demonstrate many of the common faults arising from faulty saddle design, bad workmanship, poor usage and storage. Anyone who has seen this will never again dismiss the possibility of an apparently correctly fitted saddle being the primary cause of problems. 

Will the programme carry a qualification?

Emphatically 'No'. Our Remedial Saddle Fitting course lasts for 15-18 months. Even then the graduates will develop and improve year on year with experience. You will not be shown how to fit saddles. The aim of the day is to create an awareness of the importance of correct saddle fitting and the primary and secondary impact that the saddle has on the horse's behaviour and ability to function.

Can it be recognised as Continued Professional Development?

We hope that the bodies governing your profession will see this programme as being of value in your work. An "in house" certificate of attendance will  be provided only, as the time constraints do not allow us the opportunity to validate your competence. Approach your governing body about us, or send us their contact details if you want us to make the approach.

Where and when will the Remedial Saddle Fitting Workshops be held?

Our intention is to present these workshops wherever and whenever sufficient interest is shown. This may be as a 'tracker day' within an existing course at a university or Agricultural College. Alternatively we will stage them ourselves at venues across the UK.

What will it cost to attend?

Where the venue is provided as part of an existing course we will charge only our standard lecturer's fees and an administration charge.

When we have to hire a venue and horses these additional expenses will need to be added to the overall budget. We anticipate charging £120 per person.


Horse1st Remedial Saddle Fitting Seminar

Monday 6th October 2014

At the High Cross Equitation Centre, High Cross, Claybrooke Magna, Leics, LE 17 5AZ

Your work brings you into daily contact with horses that are experiencing back/saddle problems. You may not necessarily want, or have time, to become Remedial Saddle Fitters but need to better understand the influence of the saddle. This seminar is suitable for both student & qualified personnel in the following disciplines: veterinarians, equine chiropractors & osteopaths, equine soft tissue therapists, BHSI instructors & qualified riding coaches, elite competitors, etc. An incorrectly fitted saddle compromises the comfort, functionality and behaviour of horses. We address the welfare issues involved, of the risk to riders, grooms and yourselves, and of the avoidable loss of performance in all disciplines.

Our objective is to present and clarify the impact of correct saddling on the horse’s ability to move with elasticity, scope and balance, to be comfortable in its work and to behave confidently and confidingly. The corollary is the impact of musculo-skeletal imbalances and gait unevenness on the saddle fit.

At the end of the seminar you should be better able to assess and identify musculo-skeletal imbalances and unevenness of gait in presented horses. You will understand the cause and effect relationship between the saddle and injury/impairment in the horse. Participants will come to understand the remedial saddle fitter’s role in the rehabilitation of injuries. Our hope is that this seminar will become a recognised CPD day or ‘tracker’ day for the many bodies involved in the training or registering equine professionals.
Background to saddle design. Detecting typical saddle faults and how these affect the horse’s ability to function.

Saddling & mounting a horse. Problems start here! Correct placing of saddle (over 80% of experienced equestrians do not know where to put the saddle).

Get the horse’s opinion. Observation of behavioural response to the introduction of the saddle, girthing, mounting.

Assess imbalance and unevenness of gait. Recognising functional issues. Questioning the ‘norm’.

Identify cause and effect. Observed problems in presented horses, including physical & behavioural resistances/evasions.

Implications of saddle fit on recovery from injury. The possibility of re-injury. Enabling muscular re-build. Need for regular saddle maintenance.

Questions and answers, issuing of handouts. ________________________________________________________________________

Attendance £120 per person, 25% discount if your horse & saddle is used for demonstration purposes (please apply). Refreshments are available at venue.

Horse1st Saddle Fitting will provide you with a CPD certificate of attendance for your registering body.

To book please contact Steve Wright on 01789 772413 or





at Dodderhill Equestrian Centre, Droitwich. Worcs WR9 0BE.

Monday & Tuesday 19-20th February 201

Designed and presented by Karen Eastham this practical workshop has been driven by the need for a short course that deals with the skeletal and muscular conformation of the horse. It will enable you to better understand how the hind end provides propulsion, through the back, to link up with the forelegs and supply elevation and extension. This involves achieving a familiarity with the names and functions of the major bones and muscles of the equine body, and knowing where and how they work.

With this foundation you will progress on to recognising muscular and skeletal imbalances in the horse, both at rest and in motion. From there you will learn to identify the causes of functional resistance and tightness in the equine body in motion. Much of the workshop is based around teaching you to look at the horse analytically and learning to assess correctly what you see.

Who is the Introduction to Equine Structure and Movement aimed at?

Anyone who is thinking of working towards gaining a Professional Qualification in any of the Equine Therapies or in the Saddle Fitting industry. It is also relevant for anyone who wants to maximise their horse's performance and avoid functional and behavioural problems. To find out if this course is appropriate for you please contact

Does the Workshop carry a qualification?

It is not accredited by an outside agency but we will provide a certificate of attendance for your CV or for CPD purposes.

Where will the Workshop be held?

We intend to present a workshop twice a year, in spring and autumn, subject to demand. Intially these will be held in the Midlands but we would like to stage them alternately in the north and south.

How much will the workshops cost?

There will be a fee of £180 per person which includes refreshments, lunches and CPD certificates.


Proposed Programme

Introduction to Equine Structure and Movement

Proposed participants: Those thinking of working towards gaining a Professional Qualification in any of the Equine Therapy or Saddle Fitting industries. Also of value to serious competitive equestrians.

Purpose: To develop an understanding of the skeletal conformation and musculature of the horse at rest and in motion. To identify/assess functional imbalances and asymmetries in observed horses and to understand the consequences of these, especially with regard to the saddle.

Outcomes: Participants will be able to assess correctly the skeletal conformation and musculature of presented horses, both at rest and in motion. They will be able to recognise and identify the bones and major muscles involved in equine movement. They will be able to detect any imbalances, resistances or tightness and correctly attribute their causes.


"Although I needed to attend this workshop before joining the Remedial Saddle Fitting course, it would have been well worth it for its own sake. Brilliant and really enjoyable"

G.C. - Wales