In my saddle fitting demos, we look at different saddles, going through what to look for first in the saddle Ė manufacturing defects, packing, gullet channels, unevenness, shapes etc. We also identify signs of soreness and the possibility of unevenness in the rider that may be affecting the horse.
The aim of the demo is to raise awareness of the importance of saddle fitting and the effects a poorly fitted or constructed saddle can make on the horse.
1. We will discuss Signs of Soreness & behavioural issues & the effects of Ill Fitting Saddles. Everyone will be shown (if possible) a reactive horse and regular areas where horses are reactive. How to feel on the horse if they are sore and what to look for.
2. Looking at your horse for saddle fitting & ideas to help you looking for saddles from an independent point of view. We look at the saddle sitting on the horse and different places people position the saddle and how this affects the horse back and shoulders. You are invited to bring your own saddles to the demo for assessment.
3. What about the rider? Seat sizes & styles – how to help yourself get into a better position. We discuss unevenness in the rider that may affect the horse.
4. We discuss different saddle blankets and pads and how to read ridden tests and sweat patterns. Bring along your own dirty saddle blankets for assessment.
5. I always allow times for questions afterwards and give out notes as well.
Venue: Must be a safe environment with an under cover area that can fit horses and spectators if the weather isnít nice. I donít like to postpone because of the weather so it is essential we get the right venue. Somewhere where we can tie the horses up safely Ė not too close to each other where they can happily stand for a couple of hours. A toilet nearby for spectators to use. Most demos the group organising might put on tea or coffee afterwards which gives everyone a chance to talk and get to know each other.
Horses: Depending on the size of the demo (10 Ė 15people) ideally I need 2 very quiet horses in case one doesn't want to play. They need to be happy being touched, and for people to walk all around them. Horses between 13hh and 16hh are ideal. We don't want them too big, or else spectators won't be able to see everything. Whoever brings a horse will need to make sure they have water and hay for when the horse is not required. The horse also needs to be clean and dry (not washed, just with the mud off). Horses used for the demo are there for the demo, and not for a private assessment.
For health reasons: Please, no lame horses. People are there to learn, and if the horse needs to see a vet, that's where they should go. Also, make sure horses being used at the demo have no infectious diseases like colds or coughs, and no skin problems. Spectators will be asked to come up and feel things on horses, so we don't want to be spreading bugs around.
Minimum and maximum attendance numbers: I only hold demos for a minimum of 10 people - please make sure you have definitive bookings for at least 10 people. I encourage you to collect names, phone numbers and addresses of the attendees - that way if something happens and we need to cancel or change a time or place (bad weather for example) - then we can contact everyone to let them know. I also recommend a maximum of 30 people in a group, otherwise question time can become hectic, and horses get restless. I am happy to split into two groups if a demo receives high interest.
Discount vouchers for attendees: I hand out discount vouchers to people at the end of a demo, so if they want to make an appointment with me after seeing the demo there is no rush to do it on the day. Notes are also given out to everyone to take home.
Any other questions: Please contact me if you have any other questions, I am happy to discuss holding a demo in your area with you and all requirements if the above is not clear in a particular area.
Thatís just a very small run down of what I discuss but I try and make it very hands on so people are getting up and down and doing things and everyone seems to enjoy it and has a great time.