Saddlefit 4 life
We work towards optimal saddle fit based on the unique requirements of each horse and rider, to protect both from long term back damage – over a lifetime of riding. Our goal is to support your passion as a horseperson and make you aware of potential issues and problems concerning saddle fit. We are a rapidly expanding global network of equine professionals working together to share knowledge on physiology, anatomy and ergonomics based on scientific research and findings. You can join this elite group and benefit by being trained and certified in our equine and saddle ergonomics courses.
Why do we do what we do?
Simple: to make a difference! The relevance of proper saddle fit is ignored too often and not given enough credence in its role in supporting the performance of horse and rider. Too many people with opinions try to influence the rider when it comes to proper saddle choice and optimal saddle fit: Trainers, Veterinarians, Osteopaths, Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Saddle salespersons, and saddlers all have a voice; not necessarily an educated one when it truly comes down to fit! Each of these influencers is no doubt an expert in their own areas; sometimes to the detriment of the advice of those truly in the know. This often puts the rider into the dubious position of not knowing who to trust, who to believe, and therefore making the wrong choice of saddle – for herself and her horse!
Who is Saddlefit 4 Life’s target audience ?
S4L is geared toward equine professionals in all areas who are interested in furthering their professional development – especially those involved with the animals directly; who know their development and can recognize symptomatic changes in their physiology and physique. This level of familiarity does not usually include retailers or saddlers – even though they should also be able to determine correct saddle fit for both horse and rider. As such, all of these members of the ‘circle of influence to the horse’ are very welcome to attend our courses!
What Courses are offered?
In Europe, the training to become a Certified Equine Ergonomist takes place over 7 days in three segments or modules, or as part of an international intensive 2+5 day course. The three modules are either spread over three weekends or take place over one weekend and a subsequent 5 days training at a later date, or 7 days in a row. You are taught extensively about the relationship between poor saddle fit and equine/rider back health. Each module contains theoretical classroom instruction as well as hands-on equine demos. Participants will learn to diagnose saddle fit issues for horse and rider, whereby the focus will be on learning practical applications. You will learn how to analyse and measure for proper saddle fit, as well as determine the correct fit for both horse and rider. As a CEE you will be able to work in conjunction with a fitter or a saddle ergonomist to consult with your clients to assist them in making educated decisions and choices. The diagnostics and measurements you will share with your clients will allow them to have an intelligent discussion with their fitter or the retailer regarding their personal needs. As a guideline, you can charge around 75€-100€ for your services.
Equine Ergonomists are also given the option of a couple of days extra training to be able to sell “Private Label Saddles” or the adjustable Schleese Western Saddles. This will be determined on an individual basis depending on interest.
After certification as an Equine Ergonomist, you will need to continue your education to learn how to actually adjust the saddle on-site for the horse. This training is done in an ‘externship’ with another Certified Saddle Ergonomist or Jochen Schleese.
You will become proficient with the use of the tree machine, learn how to do minor repairs and stitching, and how to (re)-flock a saddle properly. You will be expected to complete an average of 80 independent evaluations during your comprehensive externship with a CSE. (It is not necessary to complete an apprenticeship as a saddler to become a competent Saddle Ergonomist!)