BETA saddle fitting course a success in New Zealand

The first saddle fitting course run by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) in the southern hemisphere attracted 23 delegates from both New Zealand and Australia. The two-day Introduction to the Principles of Saddle Fitting Course – devised by BETA and the UK’s Society of Master Saddlers – took place at Ambury Park Centre for riding therapy, in Auckland, on 24 and 25 November.

Providing a broad view of saddle fitting and the principles it is based on, the course is designed for those wanting to become a Society of Master Saddlers-qualified saddle fitter. It is also suitable for physiotherapists, coaches and other equine professionals who are seeking to understand more about this important service.

The course lecturers in Auckland were BETA executive director Claire Williams and qualified saddler fitters Ian and Dee Silman, David Jones-Parry and Nikki Newcombe, together with New Zealand vet and chiropractor Deb Prattley. Saddles were provided by Albion England, Bates Saddles, Bliss of London, Fairfax Saddles, Ideal Saddles and New Zealand brands Heritage Equine and Silver Fern Saddle Co.

“The course was previously available only in the UK and US, so it was exciting to take it to another part of the world,” said Claire Williams. “Following the overwhelmingly positive response from delegates, we are planning to take the course to Australia and possibly return to New Zealand at the time of next year’s Equitana Auckland event to offer other courses from BETA’s suite of training opportunities covering areas as diverse as safety equipment fitting and bits and bitting advice.”