Saddle Fitting Service
Alice is a SMS (Society of Master Saddlers), UK qualified, independent saddle fitter - one of only five in New Zealand. This means she works with and is qualified to fit all makes, models, and brands of saddles. Her qualification involved three years of apprenticeship as well as regular trips to the UK for extended training and her exams. Fully qualified since 2015, Alice has fitted for top riders in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and around Great Britain. Her work has taken her all around New Zealand and the world, and has given her the opportunity to work alongside (and spend time with) some of the most highly regarded saddle fitters, designers and saddlers internationally.
Throughout the fitting, Alice will examine your horse’s shape, way of going, conformation, and any asymmetries present; these all play a role in determining the fit of your saddle. As part of the process, Alice will discuss and explain what is needed to achieve the most sympathetic fit, including features specific to a saddle, gear requirements, and/or accessories. Her aim is to not only fit your saddle correctly, but to help educate riders on the complexities of saddle fittings, how to spot issues, and how to perform basic saddle checks so you can tell if your saddle requires rebalancing.
The Fitting - What to Expect:
Re-fits and Saddle Checks:
The assessment of an existing saddle takes place in three parts. Firstly the tree and panel soundness, and shape relative to the horse will be checked and discussed. This is followed by assessing the fit of the saddle sitting on the horses back, both with and without the weight of a rider. If the fit is acceptable up to this point, a ridden test will enable Alice to evaluate how the saddle will perform when movement is added to the equation.
If your saddle has wool flocked panels rebalancing can be performed on site. This is followed by a second ridden test to observe the effect of any changes made. The fit of the saddle may be able to be improved through accessories. If any are needed, these will discussed during the fitting. If the saddle requires a more complex adjustment, or if repair work or alterations are necessary, the saddle will be sent to a PSF workshop.
Searching for a New Saddle - New or Used:
If you are searching for a new saddle, be it new or second hand, or are after advice regarding suitable saddles, then an initial assessment will take place where both the horse and rider will be evaluated. Following this evaluation Alice will be able to discuss which brands, models, tree shapes, and panel designs are most suitable for the comfort of the horse, position of the rider, and the intended use.
PSF carries an extensive range of new and/or demo saddles from a variety of companies including; Silver Fern Saddle Co, Ideal, Kent & Masters, WRS, Performance Saddlery, and Barclay & Co. Additionally we also have a wide range of second hand saddles from a variety of brands that are available for sale on behalf. If we have a suitable model on hand these can be checked on your horse and test ridden if appropriate. Additionally if you have a trial, used or demo saddle that you would like assessed, checked and fitted (if appropriate) to your horse, then this can be carried out as part of your fitting.
Scheduled Appointment Times:
Every effort is made to generously schedule our appointments and fittings with ample time allowed for travel or delays. Your scheduled appointment time is an estimate. As always, when working with horses and contending with traffic, things don’t always go to plan, and we’re sure you can appreciate the unpredictability of this balancing act. We do allow extra time between appointments for overruns, hold-ups or just plain old traffic as we don’t want to rush anyone's fitting. If we are running ahead or behind schedule you will be contacted as early as possible, and we appreciate your patience in this instance.
What’s Required for your Fitting:
Listed below are what we’ll need you to bring or provide for you fitting. Ensuring you have these items available will allow Alice to gain a complete and accurate picture of your saddlery needs, as well as ensuring you get the most out of your appointment.
Suitable riding attire (including safe shoes and a correctly fitted helmet)
Stirrups and leathers
Any accessories that you usually use on your horse (martingale, breastplate etc.)
Any specific saddle blankets or pads that you usually use (these will affect the fit of the saddle and we need these on hand to ensure they are factored in). These include, but are not limited to, sheepskin pads, lined saddle blankets, hunt saddle pads, and gel pads.
Please ensure you have a suitable area for us to carry out both the initial assessment and any ridden tests. A firm, level surface is essential; either an arena, a round pen, or a firm flat paddock will suffice.
A covered, well lit area is helpful, and while not essential it does provide us with a dry place to work should the weather turn.
If you are intending to jump in your saddle, or are having a jump or GP saddle fitted, we recommend ensuring you have a small fence to jump during your fitting.
Reports: If your horse has been seen by another equine professional (vet, physiotherapist, osteopath etc.) copies of their notes/comments are incredibly useful. Please bring a copy of their notes with you so that their findings can be taken into account during your fitting.
Bad Weather Policy:
We are fairly brave when it comes to the weather and are usually happy to work around showers, however particularly bad weather, such as heavy rain, storms, strong winds and severe weather can affect the outcome of a fitting. As part of our fitting process, to ensure a saddle works for both the horse and rider, we require a ridden assessment. This allows us to see the impact movement has on the fit of a saddle. Additionally rebalance work is almost always required, and again, movement plays a large role in determining the flocking of a saddle. When it comes to flock as tiny bit can really make a huge difference, so it can sometimes take a couple of rides to ensure a perfect fit. Bad weather, beyond a few showers, can be detrimental to the outcome of a fitting. We strive to ensure we are as accurate and as comprehensive in our service and fittings as possible. If we feel the weather will compromise the fitting, we will make the call to postpone until a later date. If this occurs, we will work with you to schedule a suitable appointment in the earliest possible time slot. Flexibility when it comes to the weather is often the only way to ensure we can provide an accurate and comprehensive fit exam - not to mention no new/demo saddle deserves to be soaked during a test ride!
We do understand that horses get injured, and circumstances outside of your control arise - if you need to cancel or postpone your appointment we simply ask that you give us as much notice as possible.
Cancellations made within 48 hours of the scheduled appointment time will incur a 60% charge. For multi-day saddle fitting trips, cancellations within 48 hours of our departure will incur the 60% cancellation charge. In both instances, we will attempt to fill your appointment slot at short notice, if your slot is able to be filled by another client then there will be no fee charged.
Cancellations made within 48 hours with a valid veterinary or medical certificate will not be charged.
Charges & Payment Information:
Saddle fitting session: $165 per horse. This covers all or part of 90 minutes of the saddle fitters time doing whatever is deemed most necessary and includes horse & rider assessment plus saddle checks/refits for up to two saddles or new/used saddle fitting test ride or advice.
Follow up saddle fittings (within 6 months of the previous fitting) are $135 per horse. This covers all or part of 60 minutes of the saddle fitters time doing whatever is deemed most necessary and includes horse & rider assessment plus saddle checks/refits for up to two saddles.
Additional travel fees do apply, and are split between clients seen in the area on the day of the fit. We make every effort to schedule our trips appropriately to reduce this cost.
Depending on the amount of adjustment required, there may be additional charges for materials and alterations. Any large adjustments that require the saddle to be sent to a PSF workshop will be estimated separately at the time of the assessment. Postage charges to and from the workshop will apply.
Payment can be made by cash on the day, or by direct transfer once invoiced. If you wish to pay by direct transfer, please bring a credit card for security.
All of this information is laid out in our terms & conditions when booking your appointment or sending a booking support form. By agreeing to book a saddle fitting session with Precision Saddle Fit NZ Ltd you are agreeing to all the information above. W.E.F 07/08/2019
We hope that covers everything you need to know before your fit, but if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.
We are lucky enough to work alongside a Society of Master Saddlers UK Qualified Master Saddler & Master Harness Maker. This is the most highly regarded saddlery qualification internationally. She holds level 3 City & Guilds saddlery qualifications, has been in the trade for a minimum of 7 years and has undergone an inspection of work.
Our saddler is able to do just about anything to any saddle, bridle or harness along with being able to repair or alter other leather goods such as bags, dog collars and much more.
We have two workshops, one based in Parua Bay and another in Napier.
If you have any repairs, alterations or questions please get in touch with us and we can give you more information.