Saddle Fitting

  • image

Saddle Fitting

Qualification

Kat is not only a classical trainer with over 25 years of experience; she is also a Qualified Master Saddle Fitting Consultant (MSFC). Kat offers saddle fitting as an independent service to her teaching; you do not need to be a training client of Kat’s to have a saddle fitting consultation.

Kat became a saddle fitter as a direct result of being a classical riding Instructor and trainer. She found time and time again that the horses she was working with in a teaching/training capacity were not able to reach their full athletic potential because of ill-fitting and poorly designed saddles. Becoming a qualified saddle fitter in addition to being an Instructor put Kat in a unique position to offer expertise in both saddle fitting and horse and rider training, enabling her clients to benefit from a comprehensive service.

Kat’s Master Saddle Fitting Consultant qualification is endorsed by the Veterinary University of Uterich and is the only external qualification recognized by the Society of Master Saddlers. Kat regularly attends veterinary and therapist courses on horse-back health for her continued professional development. Kat works closely with other horse industry professionals including Vets, Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Physiotherapists and Massage Therapists. She has many references from Industry professionals supporting the work she does.

Kat has spent hundreds of hours with Walsall saddle makers, training and learning about the saddle making process. She works closely with Walsall saddlers and can offer bespoke handmade leather saddles as well as a wide range of adjustable saddles, pads, numnahs and girths. She has been developing her own range of saddles and her own product range will be launched imminently. Please contact Kat directly if you would like more information on the products she stocks.

In addition to helping horses and riders with everyday saddle fitting issues, Kat is also a specialist in remedial saddle fitting. She has vast experience helping to restore horse’s backs to a heathier state if the saddle/girth/numnah were the primary cause. If your horse needs this they are put on her ‘remedial saddle fitting programme’. She has helped countless horses develop healthy backs using her tried and tested ‘remedial saddle fitting programme’.

Kat has listed below some of the signs that may show your horse’s saddle, girth or numnah may not be fitting properly.

If your horse: has muscle atrophy behind its shoulder blades; has rub marks on its back or girth area; walks to the back of its stable or turns its quarters towards you when it sees the saddle/tack; Is grumpy, aggressive or tries to walk off when the saddle is put on its back; Puts its ears back, swishes its tail, kicks or tries to bite you when girthing up; Is reluctant to stand to be mounted; Is reactive when first mounted; Is not moving with a free stride under saddle, often labelled as ‘lazy’; has their saddle slip when ridden; has started bucking, particularly in canter transition; finds bending and/or circles difficult; refuses to jump or hollows over a fence; back has strange sweat marks under the saddle area when untacked; is young and growing, age range between 3 and 7 years old; has lost or gained weight recently; has lost or gained fitness recently. This list is not exhaustive, but if your horse is showing any of the above, a saddle fitting consultation is highly recommended.


Saddle Fitting for New Clients

Kat does not sell saddles without fitting them first. You do not need to be a training client of Kat’s to have a saddle fitting consultation. Consultations are free if a saddle is purchased from Kat within 2 weeks of the consultation. Please contact Kat 07816 512911, for information on consultation and travel charges.
Please allow between 1 ½ and 2 ½ hours for this initial assessment. Your saddle assessment will include some or all of the list below, depending on your individual situation.

  1. Assessment of your horse’s current back health, static and in movement.
  2. Templates, information and photos documented for future reference.
  3. Education in good/bad back health and movement in horses.
  4. Assessment of your horse’s current saddle. Looking at whether its design features compliment your horse’s conformation, movement, workload, weight, rider etc
  5. Education in good and bad design features of saddles. 
  6. Problem solving possible saddling issues.
  7. If required, fitting of a new saddle.
  8. If required flocking of old saddle (additional charge will apply)
  9. If required a ‘remedial saddle fitting programme’

Professional Industry Saddle Fitting Recommendations and Client Testimonials

Veterinary Chiropractor and McTimoney Chiropractor (human)
“Kat's approach to saddle fitting is a carefully considered assessment of the horse's physical shape, improving this as needed and then finding the correct saddle by first identifying exactly the right tree. I would not hesitate to recommend Kat to anyone as a really effective and professional remedial saddle fitting specialist”
— Joanne Archer - Veterinary Chiropractor and McTimoney Chiropractor (human)

Osteopath (Equine and Human)
“I have recommended Kat to many of my Equine Osteopath Clients for saddle fitting and training and have used Kat for saddle fitting on my own horses. I highly recommend her”
— Rachel Keevil - Osteopath (Equine and Human)

Physiotherapist (Equine and human), McTimoney Corley, Equine Bowen Therapist
“Having known Kat for several years, I have extreme confidence in her knowledge in terms of saddle fitting and as a classical horse trainer and teacher. I am a human physiotherapist and an equine body worker, which incorporates many manual hands on approaches. Meeting saddle fitters and trainers like Kat fills me with enthusiasm as that they have deeper understanding of our equine friends.

I believe Kats theoretical understanding of saddle fitting takes into account the balance of the saddle not only for the horse but to enhance the rider’s position as well. This approach to saddle fitting and especially for more remedial saddle fitting cases is derived from Kat’s deep knowledge and understanding of anatomy and biomechanics of the horse. This knowledge also crosses over into Kat’s teaching and training, always seeking to improve the symmetry of the horse, building up correct musculature for the horse to carry the rider more efficiently. Having a saddle that allows this is of upmost importance and this is what Kat addresses.

The whole package Kat offers is very holistic and with the horses comfort at the forefront and armed with biomechanical information to deepen horse owners knowledge so they can improve themselves and their horse. I would have no hesitation in recommending Kat for saddle fitting or training”.
— Caroline Moore - Physiotherapist, McTimoney Corley, Equine Bowen Therapist


Saddle Fitting Client Testimonials

“Since I have been using Kat I have been absolutely over the moon with the results I have seen in my horse’s natural way of going and the significant changes in the health of my horse’s back. Kat always explains the problems and the solutions in depth, demonstrating her wealth of knowledge, but always in a simplistic way that I can understand, and she is always so enthusiastic about helping my horse reach his full potential regarding his health and movement. Kat is always so friendly and eager to help and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to anyone!”

— Fliss and George

“Kat has been helping us tremendously with finding Hugo’s feet again literally. Before we met Kat, Hugo had started to feel really unbalanced and I could not figure out what it was. He went through a thorough medical investigation. When Kat came to see us she found that his apparently well-fitting saddle was causing the issue. Finding Kat at the right moment meant that we had the best help we could imagine, she fitted Hugo with a new saddle and started us from scratch, teaching him to move correctly again, rebuilding his back muscles from the ground and then again from the saddle. He has become a straighter, more balanced and lighter horse to ride and I cannot thank Kat enough for what she has done for us!”

— Elke and Hugo

“Hi Kat, Wow – I schooled Zola in her new saddle this morning and she moved so much better, free through her shoulders, more responsive to my seat and it didn’t budge either! I’m so thrilled to have found you, so lucky that you were recommended to me, I was beginning to think I would never get a correctly fitting saddle. Really, really happy, thanks a million!”

— Suzi and Zola

“I have been using Kat as my saddler for a number of years now and she has had to address a variety of different issues in my horses. Kat always takes the necessary time to assess each horse and their individual needs, she then explains what she is seeing and the remedial action required, in a way that is easy for me to understand. I was particularly impressed with the exercises Kat gave me to promote my horses' muscular development, they were easy to do and I saw major improvements in a short space of time. Not only have my horses benefited from Kat's expertise, I have learned a lot to. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Kat to anyone”

— Hazel and Darcy, Jasper and Blaze

“Kat was recommended to me by an equine osteopath who was treating my thoroughbred who had retired from racing with kissing spine and other old injuries. Kat has the challenge of fitting him sympathetically bearing in mind all his problems, including only just being brought back into riding after 2 years in the field!

I am full of praise for Kat for what she has achieved in the comfortable fit of the saddle, the on-going care and advice to get him straight and fit and information she has passed on to me at the same time.

Aside from her saddle fitting both of my horses, I have had a few riding lessons with Kat and have benefitted by having my riding posture improved & learnt simple ways to improve the flexibility of my horse & how to ride in a controlled and kind way”

— Sue, Ace and Thistle

“Hi Kat, I just wanted to let you know I rode in the school yesterday and I could not believe Wilf’s movements, he kept trying to push me into extended trot and he was naturally lowering his head and neck arching it in a lot more extended way without me even asking him, so happy you have shown me this way of saddle fitting, thanks again! …I have also been XC schooling. Wilf is normally a bit hesitant so I was a bit on edge but he was jumping all the jumps really forwards and didn’t swerve towards the jumps at all, this saddle you fitted is doing wonders!! His movement has been so good and his back looks so good so really pleased!”
— Becks and Wilf

“I had quite a few saddle fitters coming to fit saddles for my horses especially one gelding that has no withers and is not slim! This had been very frustrating and an expensive journey until I found Kat. She was the first saddle fitter who took the time to understand the anatomy/conformation and potential back problems with my horses.

Kat puts the horse first which is how I treat my horses. Riding a horse with a correct fitting saddle which does not cause the horse any pain is and always has been my priority. Even with the challenge of my ‘no wither’ horse, Kat found the right solution and saddle which fits and is also working with me when he gets back into work and his fitting requirements will change. She has fitted saddles to two more of my horses, both with different back requirements.

I can highly recommend Kat as she is the first saddle fitter who could help me. I would have saved myself a lot of money and worries if I’d known her sooner”

— Anette, Ed, Colin and Phil

“Kat’s expertise has been invaluable in keeping my youngster’s back healthy throughout the backing process and beyond as he changes shape and our needs change. She is so meticulous in her work and explains it clearly so that I can understand the theory behind her recommendations. Thank you Kat!”

— Amanda, Miho and Friendly

“My horse Gabriel has quite a difficult back to fit a saddle to. He is high withered with a slight sway back and broad barrel. When I first met Kat Layfield and had her do her first saddle fit for us I realised what a poor service most previous saddle fitters I had used offer. Kat is extremely thorough and her prime concern is the comfort and rehabilitation of the horse’s back which includes making sure the rider sits in the right place, to enable the horse to use his back correctly. We have had to refit or replace saddles regularly over the last 5 years due to the positive effect of the training and muscular improvement. Each time Kat is as thorough as the first time. I am completely confident that I am providing the best for my horse so that he can do his best for me”

— Marie and Gabriel