FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Enrolling on to a course can be daunting, here are some of the questions we get asked
1. How do I know that this is a properly designed course that will qualify me to do this work?
The Remedial Saddle Fitting Course was originally designed over 7 years before being offered to the public. It is accredited by Lantra Awards, which is an accrediting body with governmental recognition. Lantra is a privatised derivative of the old Agricultural Training Board and is a specialist training provider in the land-based sector. They have their own division purely for the equine industry.
Before granting accreditation Lantra satisfy themselves that the course content and design are professionally structured and that the training outcomes are properly evaluated. They conduct periodic external verification to ensure the maintenance of standards. Therefore a Lantra qualification or certificate has value alongside any other academic or vocational qualification you may hold and its possession will add to your personal CV.
Lantra Awards protect the reputation of their services by insisting that all Instructors involved with any of their accredited courses are qualified in Instructional Techniques. All Horse1st instructors have satisfied these criteria.
2. How long does the course run?
The course extends over approximately a fifteen month period. Qualification dates from the satisfactory completion of all component parts of the course - so some students will take longer than others. It is comprised of 6 x 2 day workshops, mixing theory with practice, in a combination of classroom, equestrian facility and saddle maker's workshop. These are spaced out to allow students time to absorb and practice their newly acquired skills before moving on. The need to avoid information overload and burn-out is the reason why the course is so lengthy.
You will also be required to complete the Candidate Workbook, including those aspects in which you may already be practicing. This element will be mostly by home study, with supporting tutorials. In addition there will a requirement to produce over 20 case histories and to accompany one of our experienced saddle-fitters at work. All students will be asked, as a pre-requisite of their training, to abide by a code of conduct.
On completion of this course the graduates will be qualified as Remedial Saddle Fitters. Once they have obtained appropriate public, professional and product liability insurance their names will be held on a national register from which referrals can be made. This will be renewed only by payment of a re-registration fee and completion of a minimum of 2 days continued professional development (CPD ) annually.
3. Who can apply for training in Remedial Saddle-fitting?
Remedial Saddle Fitters will usually be working in a consultative capacity so applicants must be socially mature, with excellent inter-personal skills and have considerable professional or competitive horse experience. Applications must be accompanied by a full c.v. and two references, from both a veterinary surgeon and an equestrian professional, stating suitability for undertaking this training. We are looking for people whose ability, knowledge and presentation will complement the credibility the training will provide. Horse1st does not discriminate on grounds of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc.
Understanding the structure & movement of the horse
Applicants must have a proven knowledge of the musculo-skeletal aspect of Equine Anatomy & Physiology, or bio-mechanics. Horse1st recognises the A & P element of the training for McTimoney Chiropractice, EMRT, SOAP, ACPAT, ICAT, etc. If you are in any doubt of the validity of such qualifications in respect of remedial saddle fitting, please check with us.
4. What if I do not have a qualification in Anatomy & Physiology?
In response to demand Horse1st is offering a short course, both on the effect of primary saddle damage to the movement, scope, balance and impulsion of the horse, and, equally, the secondary effect of musculo-skeletal imbalances on the saddle fit. This will enable potential applicants, without previous Anatomy & Physiology qualification, to understand the Remedial Saddle Fitting course more fully. This depth of knowledge is necessary as Remedial Saddle Fitters should be able to discuss individual cases with vets and equine therapists
Applicants should also consider the 4 day course in "Equine biomechanics, gait abnormalities and applied anatomy" run by Equinology from Writtle College in Essex. Visit www.equinenergy.com or contact 01526 351381.
5. How much will the training cost?
The cost of the course is £3,250. This includes all on and off-line sessions & support, workbooks, flexicurve, pad, pen, scissors, insurance whilst on the course and refreshments on the days. Payment can be made in full or the balance spread over 12 monthly payments of £284 (includes a 5% admin fee). To secure your place we will be asking for a non-refundable deposit of £50.
6. Will there be an interview?
The first induction day will also be considered to be an extended interview/assessment. At that time Horse1st reserve the right to terminate the training, without giving a reason, of anyone who is considered unsuitable and a full refund less 10%.
7. What happens if I cannot meet the standard set?
Qualification does not depend on a pass/fail exam system. Lantra adopts a policy of "you are not yet ready" rather than failing people. Where Horse1st believe a participant lacks competence in any area they will give written notification of specific failings or weaknesses, and will undertake to make reasonable efforts to assist the individual to meet the required standards. This means there is no final date (hence the 'approximate' length of the course) and candidates may complete the theoretical element of their training over a longer period. They must, however have attended all the workshop days, carried out the case histories and have achieved a satisfactory level of practical competence.
Where the necessary improvement is not achieved the organisers will only reimburse monies on an ‘ex gratia’ basis.
8. How much can I expect to earn?
This depends on you. You can make a full-time living from saddle-fitting, but it takes time to build up a business and clientele. Several of our students see being self-employed as a means of earning an income without being tied to regular hours. How much you choose to work is your decision. Currently (2019) a saddle-fitting consultation, which might last an hour on average, can cost around £60 plus travelling expenses. There may be commission from saddlers for referrals or you may choose to act as a retailer of new made-to-measure saddles, as well as second-hand ones. Equally a saddle-fitting consultation frequently results only in the existing saddle being re-flocked or needing minor repairs. Saddle maintenance and re-flocking/balancing are regularly part of the Remedial Saddle Fitters business, as well as incidental sales of bridles, bits, numnahs/Prolites, leather dressing and a host of equine accessories. You will develop those areas that are in continual demand.
9. How many students will be on each course?
We take a maximum of twelve students on each course. Experience tells us that larger numbers do not get sufficient hands on experience in the practical aspects of learning, hence we limit the number to 12.
10. When will the course start?
The next course is scheduled to start in September 2020 (we hope to be back in the classroom by September and will follow the planned schedule of classes set out below whilst observing correct social distancing. If we are not permitted in the classroom in September, the equine anatomy, physiology & behaviour, rider biomechanics, saddles & their components and marketing units of this course will be taught, live and in real time, by Zoom webinar. The practical will be taught once back in the classroom. This course is enrolling now – please send your enquiry to us. Applications can be submitted at any time and successful applicants will receive written notification of their acceptance and joining details. We maintain a list of applicants for future courses.
11. What days will the workshops be held on?
The workshops will be held over 2 consecutive days on a weekend.
12. How much time will I need to set aside for my training?
There will be 6 x 2 day workshops (which includes the final practical assessment day), starting at 9am and finishing at 5pm. In addition you will need to complete the Candidate Workbook and allocate about 50 hours to case histories and other home study tasks. This is the equivalent of 4 x five-day weeks over the course of twelve months.
You may also need to complete a distance learning certificate on Equine Anatomy & Physiology or attend a recommended short course on Equine Bio-mechanics (e.g. Equistudy, Equinenergy or the Horse1st Equine Anatomy & Physiology module).
13. What happens if, for reasons beyond my control, I am unable to complete the course?
Your records will be retained and you will be able to continue at a later date. The point of training at which you re-commence will be mutually agreed. There will be no refunding of fees in this instance except on an ‘ex gratia’ basis. You will have to sign an undertaking not to practice as a remedial saddle-fitter (in any shape or form) until you have completed your full training, have passed your practical assessment and gained your certificate.
14. How will my ability be examined?
Qualification as a Remedial Saddle-fitter will only be on successful completion of the whole course. There will be on-going assessment at the workshops regarding your ability to assess saddles and horses. These aspects will also be practically assessed at the end of the course along with your ability to take wither templates correctly, assess saddles and equine imbalances, and to make properly documented referrals, etc. Theoretical knowledge will be examined by completion of the Candidate Workbook
15. I am already qualified in some aspects of this course, will I need to study everything?
Professionally qualified applicants, e.g. veterinary surgeons, saddlers, equine physiotherapists, McTimony chiropracters, EMRT practitioners, Equine Massage Therapists & allied therapies may not need to be examined in those areas in which they are already qualified. However they will be required to complete the relevant sections in the Candidate Workbook. Talk to us if you feel this is appropriate. In practice all our students choose to attend every workshop as discussion, with input from those qualified in different methodologies, is a vigorous, enjoyable and productive element of our training.
16. Where will the workshops and examination be held?
For practical considerations it is anticipated that bulk of these will be in the Midlands. The ‘classroom’ elements and the ‘hands on’ horse workshops will be held in Worcestershire. Visits to the saddlery will be in the Walsall area.
17. Will I learn to make my own saddles?
No. This is a skilled craft requiring an apprenticeship of many years. However most candidates will want to learn how to 'drop' a panel out and to re-flock and replace the panel. Some will progress on to minor repairs. At present this is considered as CPD and we are able to recommend a reliable source of training for this