I have worked in the equestrian industry for some time and was thinking about becoming a saddle fitter, what would I need to do to become a Qualified Saddle Fitter that is recognised by the Society of Master Saddlers?
The Society of Master Saddlers replies:
If you are a member or employed by a member of BETA or the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS), BHS instructor, chartered physiotherapist or other equestrian professional we recommend you attend a two-day Introductory Saddle Fitting Course to help enhance your equestrian knowledge in this area.
If you are currently none of the above then we recommend finding employment with a Society member who is willing to train you through an apprenticeship. Another route could be to train as a saddler and join in your own right to the society. There is a helpful page on the SMS website to help you find apprenticeships and courses currently available.
After initially attending the two-day introductory course you will need to complete three years’ experience working with and alongside a qualified saddle fitter. Following this you must attend the SMS four-day qualification course.
On completing the four-day course you will be required to complete a final assessment leading to your SMS Registered Qualified Saddler Fitter status.
The Society’s aims are to safeguard the quality of work, services, training and qualifications of all those who work in the saddlery trade from manufacturers and retailers through individual craftspeople and saddle fitters.
With this in mind the SMS formulated the Qualified Saddle Fitters course, a more advanced course aimed at Society members who have been fitting saddles for a number of years and who want to refine their saddle fitting to the standards promoted by the Society and approved by City& Guilds / NPTC.
You will be required to pass an assessment, which will include a written paper, conformation and action in hand, saddle assessment and fault identification, taking template measurements and a practical saddle fitting assessment.
Once a Saddle Fitter achieves their qualified status they should attend additional training seminars such as our refresher courses to maintain their knowledge to current standards.
To find out more information on The Society of Master Saddlers visit www.mastersaddlers.co.uk or telephone 01449 711642.