With so many schools of thought within the world of saddle fitting, it can be difficult to determine what and who to trust. When it comes to evidence-based saddle fit that protects both horse and rider from preventable pain and injury, our courses are the pinnacle of saddle fit education. We have partnered with physicians, veterinarians, researchers, and all manner of equine and human professional to bring you the most comprehensive training.
Our step-by-step process distilled from thousands of hours of hands-on experience, coupled with decades worth of knowledge from a collective group of experts and professionals means we’ve done all the hard work so you don’t have to!
Trusted around the world by professionals from every facet of the equine industry, even already practicing saddle-fitters!
SOME OF OUR PARTNERS
No other course goes into this much detail about the importance of anatomically and biomechanically correct fit for both horse and rider. See why we’re top of the list for all equine professionals, even practicing saddle fitters!
At Saddlefit 4 Life we’ve worked with thousands of riders around the world and understand the struggle in finding a qualified fitter or a saddle that works for both you and your horse.
Saddle fitting shouldn’t be confusing or frustrating.
Walk into any tack shop and you’ll see that there is no shortage of specialty pad, girth, riser or other auxiliary aid to fix some sort of saddle fit issue. The biggest problem with these quick-fixes is that most people use them without understanding the sometimes severe and lasting consequences.
Worse still, people don’t actually know WHY their saddle doesn’t fit, or what specific areas are a concern. Without an accurate, detailed and evidence-based assessment, it’s just money down the drain.
Too often we see people spend hundreds on specialty this and that, when in reality their saddle just doesn’t fit, and no gimmick can change that.
Now, more than ever, with the modern breeding of horses with shorter and shorter backs, do we need people who will speak up for the horse, protect their well-being and provide PROPER saddle fitting expertise and service.
Regardless of the style of saddle you’re fitting, a horse is still a horse, and the structures and the biomechanics need to be protected and supported.
It’s that core understanding and our fundamental principles that will help you prevent unnecessary and avoidable pain, injury and lameness in the horse and rider.
Doing the Saddlefit 4 Life CEE course was eye opening to the vast amount of detail that goes into fitting a saddle correctly to both horse and rider. There are so many important details that get overlooked so easily. At first, before I did the course, I thought I was passionate about helping horse and rider and I signed up, but now I have become obsessed and driven to help find solutions to the problems that we face in the saddle and on the horse. I learn through my own past mistakes every day by reminiscing about my life and riding career with my retired mare and how I could not help her due to lack of knowledge so many years ago, now that I know what I did not know back then... What really has become clear to me is the amount of pain and discomfort these dear horses endure, simply because we don't realize that they are are suffering. Behavior changes and bad behavior patterns, clear or subtle, are a result of us not listening to the horse. We are not educated and informed enough, so we don't hear what they say to us or how they say it to us. I focus on listening.... I intend to help and educate and learn together with my clients as much as I possibly can, both horse and rider, and to ensure that they are happier and more comfortable in and under saddle so that quality of life and life expectancy can be extended and ensured through education and guidance to each and every client and horse that I meet on my journey. I am very excited about this path that I have chosen.
Tammy McCormick Donaldson, M.S., Ph.D., CAAB, CHBC began her career with horses as an assistant trainer while attending university and as a barn manager before returning to graduate school. She earned a M.S. and Ph.D. in Animal Behavior at Washington State University (WSU). She completed her training in Clinical Animal Behavior at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital Behavior Clinic. She has been a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist since 2003. Tammy has also received additional certification from the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) as a Horse Behavior Consultant. Tammy’s passion is improving horse welfare through behavior modification, environmental enrichment, and proper saddle fit. She offers behavior consultation and saddle fit evolution through her practice, Evolved Equine Consulting In her downtime, Tammy enjoys competing in competitive trail riding (NATRC) and studying classical dressage.
Tammy writes: "My journey through the CEE (Certified Equine Ergonomist Course) & externship was enlightening in many ways and challenging at times. I decided to take the CEE course because I had been on a four-year journey to understand why, after purchasing five saddles, was my horse still showing pain and lack of muscle development. I saw Jochen’s presentation at the International Society of Equitation Science (ISES) meeting and was encouraged that this program would provide that understanding. As a Certified Equine Behavior Consultant and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, I also thought that this course could help provide insight into many of the behavior issues that I was seeing and suspected were due or exacerbated by poor saddle fit. I was amazed at the quantity and quality information that I gained in the course. After completing the course I became more aware of how the pain from poor saddle fit was impacting the behavior of the horses I was seeing. One of the greatest challenges in working with horse owners and horse professionals is that there is such a persistent belief that the issues that the horse is showing is due to poor temperament or learned behavior, rather than the communication of pain. It is my goal to instruct and demonstrate to these individuals how saddle fit can impact the health, performance, and behavior of horses and in doing so, improve the welfare of the horses in their care."
The Certified Equine Ergonomist course exceeded my expectations. Over the last few years, I have become more interested in saddle fitting, mainly because of my pony mare. I wanted to find a comprehensive educational program where I would learn what to focus on when choosing a saddle and what to look out for. After a coincidence, I enrolled in the Saddlefit4life educational program and I am glad that I decided to do so. The course was very comprehensive, information based on knowledge of horse anatomy and biomechanics. I gained a lot of new information, skills and I began to understand the context. At the same time, I was thrilled by the saddle fit, so I will definitely be educating and improving in this direction.
The CEE course has been incredibly comprehensive and insightful. The knowledge I have gained has already significantly helped me in my Equine Body Therapy and horse training work which is the main reason I undertook this course. I never intended to train in saddlefitting, I had other courses I wanted to do! However if I was to get to the source of why so many of my clients horses were experiencing reoccuring pain, behavioural issues and ongoing pathologies especially when many had saddles professionally fitted! I had to further my education about saddles. And there began my search for the holy grail of saddlefitting - The Equine Ergonomy training. This training has answered the questions I had and will continue to have. I have not only embarked on a journey of learning I have had to “unlearn” many theories and concepts about saddlefitting and saddle design that I never questioned in my 45 years of riding. I dedicate this qualification to my amazing horses throughout my life that suffered in silence from my ignorance and lack of knowledge and information. I pledge to continue knowing better so I can continue doing better. I am very excited to offer this as a vital component to my equine services and contribute further to the welfare and longevity of our most deserving equines. I am forever grateful to Jochen and his team at saddlefit4life!
Becoming a CEE was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my horse career. I have been riding and competing in various western events my whole life, but I never understood the impact a saddle had on a horse and rider's performance and quality of life. Through the CEE course, I now have a thorough grasp on the multitude of variables that contribute to a well-fitted saddle all backed by science. With this skill, I plan to help other people who, like me, are looking for a way to remove the barriers of communication and improve their riding partnership.
I undertook the SF4L Equine Ergonomist Externship/Course to learn more about saddle fitting both for my horse & for other horses in the Northern Territory (Australia) community. The Externship is very detailed with assessments of riders ,horses & saddles & written assessments. Lots of reading - especially Jochen's book "Suffering in Silence" & his video clips. I have been able to assess the fit of my saddles on my Warmblood horse, & appreciate the positive changes that occur with a saddle that fits both horse & rider. I have developed knowledge, skills & confidence in saddle fitting, so that I can help local riders understand saddle fit for their horses & to know the basics of what the ideal saddle should look like. I will continue to offer my CEE services to the local Northern Territory (Australia) community so that horses & riders can benefit. By riders knowing more about saddle fit, more saddle manufacturers will be pressured to develop better fitting fully adjustable saddles. The Saddlefit 4 Life course and externship has given me many answers as to why my performance horses over the years have had discomfort, pain & injury from ill fitting saddles(despite consulting with saddlers & other learned people - who did not know! ) I encourage all riders to do this course.
Our Certified Equine Ergonomist course is truly unlike any other saddle fitting course you’ve ever seen.
Because it’s NOT about sales, making exceptions or blindly following damaging traditions, but instead it focuses entirely on RESPECTING the anatomy of the horse and rider, and fitting to the unique and specific needs based on our trusted and often poorly mimicked 80+ point evaluation.
Instead of focusing on a single facet of saddle fitting, we have developed a course that brings all the pieces of the puzzle together, answering your burning questions not just of HOW, but also WHY.
It’s a process that is trusted by veterinarians, bodyworkers and other equine professionals globally, and for good reason. It works, it makes sense and is repeatable. No other saddle fitting system is as comprehensive or accurate.
Special presentation on common health issues seen in riders stemming from riding in a saddle that is unsuitable for their physique, ranging from slipped discs, knee pain, back pain, muscle spasms and more.
Special presentation on the importance of regular saddle pads, common injuries caused by specialty pads and the various misconceptions and misuse of shims that can cause serious injury to the horse.
You will learn how to identify the ideal hoof, and its far reaching effects on the overall posture of the horse and how it pertains to saddle fitting, specifically in the areas of shoulder width, angle and positioning, as well as spinal tendency and overall back shape.
These bonus lessons aim to simplify the process of quantifying the equine hoof and overall posture, making it easier to understand and apply. By doing so, you can assess the horse in front of you and use the information to ensure proper saddle fitting.
Work one-on-one with Jochen as part of your education to go through a full saddle fit evaluation case study to prepare you for your externship.
One on one sessions with an instructor who will answer your questions, go through your assignments and provide additional support and clarity for anything you may be struggling with. You can even (virtually) bring us along to the barn with you!
Get access to private student events such as webinars, group classes and special presentations not available to the public.
Get a full profile listing once you graduate as a CEE on our website so you can connect with people in your area who are looking to have their saddles evaluated.
Our mission is for you to always to feel supported even after you complete the course! If you ever have any questions or need help, reach out to us and one of our knowledgeable staff will be happy to help!
The toolkit for the CEE includes proprietary tools to help take accurate measurements of the horse and rider, as well as provide in-depth information to your clients on the importance of saddle fitting to the health of themselves and their horse. After enrolling in the Certified Equine Ergonomist Course we will ship you the following tools:
Where will you and your horse be 30, 60 or 90 days from now?
By following the simple blueprint laid out on how to properly evaluate saddle fit to the specific needs of the horse and rider, you could be helping to prevent saddle related injury and lameness within your horse community.
Will it take hard work and dedicated focus? Of course it will. Will it challenge you? Absolutely. Will we be there with you every step of the way to make sure you succeed? Yes, 100% yes.
You should run from any course that promises you’ll be a full fledged saddle fitter in a few months time, or doesn’t focus on the anatomy or biomechanics of the horse and rider.
It’s worth every minute of your time you put into it, and you will come out the other side with a renewed understanding of the science behind proper saddle fitting, its far-reaching effects and how much it can support or hinder both the horse and rider. Consequences people never even think are from an ill-fitting saddle are discussed as we answer your burning questions and equip you with the knowledge and skills to make a positive change in the equine community.
Instead of wasting money playing musical saddles, or calling out every saddle fitter under the sun to only find yourself more confused and frustrated than before, all without any knowledge of how to protect yourself or your horse from the consequences of poor fit….
You could simply invest in the Certified Equine Ergonomist course, and for less than most people spend each day on coffee, gas and lunch, get access to education that can protect you, protect your horse, protect your clients.
Plus, the Certified Equine Ergonomist course qualifies as a tax-deductible expense under the continuous education category.