A good knowledge of horses and extensive experience in handling horses and riding. Knowledge of the anatomy of horses and of the different demands on horses depending on their use.
It is an initial 3-4 year training involving practical and theoretical work with continuing development to upgrade your professional qualifications. It is most common to start as an apprentice while also studying for qualifications with the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS)
- Ability to handle a horse
- Practical skills
- A driving licence is essential for a saddle fitter
Your day to day tasks will vary.
- Loading the saddles needed for day's appointments into your van
- Driving from appointment to appointment at private stables or livery yards
- Handling horses, exploring what is expected of the horses and their riders
- Assessing their saddle requirements
- Quoting for orders
- Making new saddles to order or adjusting old ones
- Working in a manufacturing environment, using leather machinery to stitch
- Or working in a small workshop, hand stitching saddles
Working Hours, Patterns and Environment
Saddle Fitter hours are variable and sometimes out of hours.
Saddler: 8.30 – 5.00 weekdays.
Saddle Fitter: outside at stable yards.
Saddler: in a manufacturing environment or a small leather workshop
This is a buoyant career at present, partly because it is often forgotten as a career for horse lovers. But as horse riding becomes more and more popular so does the demand for good saddle fitters.
With a good reputation, you could work freelance.