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September 2018 - Saddle Fit and Industry Education
Written by by Sabine Schleese, B.Sc., MBA ©2018 Saddlefit 4 Life® All Rights Reserved
Saturday, 01 September 2018 00:00

by Sabine Schleese, B.Sc., MBA ©2018 Saddlefit 4 Life® All Rights Reserved

The focus of this month’s California Riding is on education in the equestrian industry, and there are a large number of possible career paths available that will allow you to pursue doing something with these animals we all love. Some directly, some more indirectly. It’s gratifying to see that more and more universities and colleges are offering degree and diploma courses in many different aspects of equine education.


Education is a significant concept – especially in our industry, which is still largely unregulated in many areas for a sport that is so inherently dangerous that this situation boggles the mind. Through public awareness in the last years, the demand has been raised by the consumer (i.e. riders) that their trainers have a certain accreditation; they know their farriers have been trained and certified, and they expect a certain base level of knowledge from their saddle fitters. However, people can still pretty much call themselves whatever they want; add the word ‘master’ whatever to their titles, and for the most part, people are still reluctant to question the credentials. It seems like there is still a certain fear in requiring standardized professional development and testing – especially from the people who have been working in a certain part of the industry for years and don’t want to be discredited or exposed.

A recent article in the Journal of Veterinary Science concerning the ‘repeatability of 20 Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) Qualified Saddle Fitters observations of static saddle fit’ outlines the lack of cohesiveness in the methodology of assessing saddle fit. The SMS has committed to overhauling their entire saddle fitting curriculum within the next year or two – recognizing the fact that a) saddle making does not equal saddle fitting and b) their saddle fitting training is somewhat remedial in its ramifications. Further work is definitely necessary to standardize the criteria of what is saddle fit and how should saddles be fitted – and perhaps to develop a common language that is accepted throughout the industry.

Chris Moloughney – Certified Saddle Ergonomist

We tried for years to establish a recognized and registered program in the trade of saddlery itself, and were successful at least in the province of Ontario, where it was added to the roster of official apprenticeships in 1990. However, even though we suggested a certain leniency of ‘grandfathering’ long time practitioners into the trade, the resistance lobby was too strong. It seems that (especially in this industry) tradespeople are very protective of what they know, being questioned on their expertise, and sharing their wisdom with other equine professionals. I have actually
been told that “oh no – we can’t ask so-and-so about their credentials. That would be rude!” Really? How else are you going to be able to ascertain the authority of the people who you entrust the care of your horse to if you are not even allowed to ask the basic questions?

Through Saddlefit 4 Life® we have now established training and certification programs in two brand new career paths – that of Equine Ergonomist and Saddle Ergonomist. The former involves a 7 day training course (which is offered several times a year in Europe, North America, and South Africa) which allows the successful candidate to work with a saddle fitter in analysing, diagnosing and measuring saddle fit. The Equine Ergonomist is not trained to actually make the adjustments, which is where the Saddle Ergonomist training then comes in. We feel the level of education for the Saddle Ergonomist goes above the Saddle Fitter training, as we focus more on equine and human anatomy and biomechanics and how these relate to saddle fit issues in both static and dynamic phases. In recent years there seems to have been a proliferation of agencies and societies offering saddle fit courses and certifications, but none are as intense or require constant recertification such as the S4L courses do.

The Equine Studies Diploma and Degree courses being offered all around USA and Canada for interested students wanting to work in the equestrian industry are a huge step forward, but the
potential lucrative job market for graduates is still disturbingly small. Our own Saddlefit 4 Life® curriculum has been somewhat integrated into the Bachelor of Bio-Resources Management program at the University of Guelph, and may soon be offered as an ongoing elective, but the path ahead is still very challenging. It is only with constant communication and continuing efforts in education that change will come. We truly hope that Saddlefit 4 Life® will be a key resource in the attempt to find a common ground which at the end of the day, is for the good of the horse that we all love!

ASIDE: There are many different career options for those who are interested in working with horses.

Here are a number of additional possibilities for those seeking an equine career – some of which are not necessarily mainstream so may not have even been a consideration (with thanks to Mary Hope Kramer of for these additional suggestions).

  1. Equine Veterinarians provide preventive health care for horses and treat their injuries. Becoming a licensed equine veterinarian involves a significant educational commitment. Board certified practitioners (also known as veterinary specialists) are the next step up.
  2. Equine Veterinary Technicians provide assistance to veterinarians as they complete exams and surgical procedures. Vet techs must complete a two-year degree and pass an exam to become licensed in the field.
  3. Riding Instructors supervise students and direct them in riding lessons and training sessions. They may also ride the student’s horse to demonstrate proper techniques. Instructors may specialize in a variety of riding disciplines such as hunt seat, saddle seat, dressage, reining, and show jumping.
  4. Farriers are responsible for trimming, maintaining, and balancing equine hooves. Farriers must attend to each equine client about 7 times per year on average. Most farriers are self-employed and can learn the trade via apprenticeship and certification courses.
  5. Mounted Police Officers use their horses to provide crowd control and deter crime. Mounted officers must first achieve regular police officer status via police academy training (which takes roughly six months) and then work for about 3 years on the regular force before becoming eligible to apply for specialty units like the mounted patrol.
  6. Broodmare Managers supervise the care of mares and foals. They are responsible for assisting with foaling, teasing mares, and keeping detailed veterinary and production records.
  7. Stallion Managers supervise the care and breeding of stallions. They are involved in scheduling breeding shed appointments, supervising daily care, and promoting stallions to the public.
  8. Jockeys ride racehorses in flat or steeplechase races according to the trainer’s instructions. Jockeys can ride multiple races each day, as well as working horses in the morning. Earnings  vary widely as the jockey earns a percentage of their horse’s winnings in each race, and race purses vary by track and level of competition.
  9. Grooms provide daily care for the horses under their supervision, taking care to notice any changes in a horse’s behavior or body that might signal a need for veterinary care. Although they have huge responsibilities, they generally are not paid very well.
  10. Exercise Riders work horses each morning on the racetrack, following the instructions given by trainers. Exercise riders are generally a bit taller and heavier than jockeys. Riders are usually paid by the mount.
  11. Barn Managers supervise the care of the horses in their stable. They may be involved with hands-on horse care, managing employees, and scheduling deliveries of feed and bedding.
  12. Bloodstock Agents evaluate horses at auction and bid on them on behalf of their clients. They may also arrange the purchase of stallion seasons, proven racehorses, or horses that are privately for sale. Most bloodstock agents are involved in the Thoroughbred industry and earn a commission for their services.
  13. Equine Dental Technicians remove sharp points from a horse’s teeth (in a procedure known as “floating” the teeth). Dental care ensures that the horse is able to eat and perform properly. Equine dental techs usually earn a set fee per horse treated.
  14. Racehorse Trainers condition their equine charges to compete in racing events. They must be well versed in all aspects of horsemanship and pass a licensing exam in each state where they intend to compete. Trainers earn a “day rate” for the horses under their care plus a percentage of their horses’ winnings.
  15. Horse Breeders arrange matings that result in foals of a certain breed or foals that are suited for a specific type of competition. The salary of a breeder can vary widely based upon what breed they produce and the quality of their breeding stock.
Nominations Open for 2018 Ira Schulman Thoroughbred Rehoming Award
Written by CRM
Thursday, 19 July 2018 16:47

Annual award honors for-profit resellers of off-track Thoroughbreds.

The Retired Racehorse Project announced today that nominations are open for the 2018 Ira Schulman Thoroughbred Rehoming Award, which will be presented at the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, held Oct. 4-7 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.

This award celebrates the legacy of Ira Schulman, the renowned horseman who placed thousands of off-track Thoroughbreds in a career that spanned more than 50 years. Schulman himself was the first recipient of the award at the 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover. He died just a few months later in March 2018 at the age of 80, and is believed to have placed more Thoroughbreds in his lifetime than any other individual or organization.

New Thoroughbred Makeover Award for Top-Scoring California-Bred
Written by CRM
Thursday, 12 July 2018 18:50

The Retired Racehorse Project announced today the first special award for the 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover that honors horses bred on the West Coast. Sponsored by the Georgia B. Ridder Foundation, in honor of After the Finish Line, the $2,500 award will be presented to the top-scoring California-bred at the competition, taking place Oct. 4-7 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.

“The Georgia B. Ridder Foundation looks forward to its inaugural year supporting the Retired Racehorse Project,” said Michael R. Whalen, president of the foundation. “Georgia B. Ridder and her Ridder Thoroughbred Stable have a long and proud history of breeding magnificent Thoroughbred horses at her ranches in Southern California. Respecting that legacy, we are proud to honor the horses bred in California participating in this year’s training competition.”

Saddle Fit and Classical Training
Written by By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE. ©2018 Saddlefit 4 Life® All Rights Reserved
Sunday, 01 July 2018 00:30

By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE. ©2018 Saddlefit 4 Life® All Rights Reserved

Very à propos to the focus of this month’s issue in California Riding, I’d like to add a small ‘saddle fit variable’ to the discussion of training. This is my educated opinion and my experience as both a competitive rider and a saddle fit expert and ergonomist buys me the right to state my thoughts.

Opening Day at Temecula Dressage Classic is a Huge Success
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 12 June 2018 02:09

Photos: ©Terri Miller

The first annual Temecula Dressage Classic at Galway Downs is proving to be a great show full of fantastic riders and tests. With over 200 entries, riders are competing in large classes and against some of the best riders and trainers in the area. The competition continues through Sunday, June 10th.

Poly Canyon Ventures Announces Partnership Centered Around Funding and Assisting Cleantech Startups at Cal Poly
Written by CRM
Friday, 18 May 2018 19:13

Poly Canyon Ventures (PCV), a San Luis Obispo-based 501(c)(3) non-profit founded and managed by Cal Poly students, announced last night at its end-of-the-year event that it has partnered with Cal Poly’s Department of Energy, Utilities, and Sustainability (EU&S) to help foster cleantech innovation at the university. With initial commitments of $10,000 from the EU&S Department and $5,000 from PCV, the two parties will work together to identify, evaluate, select, fund, and assist cleantech-focused, student-led startups on campus.


Time To Ride® Announces 2018 Challenge
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 15 May 2018 22:18

Time To Ride® is pleased to announce that the popular Time To Ride Challenge is on for 2018!  The purpose of the Challenge is to support individual equine businesses and organizations in attracting newcomers to horses by hosting an event at their facility. This grassroots approach gives barn owners the opportunity to grow their business by introducing non-horsey people to the beauty and benefits horses bring to our lives, while simultaneously growing the horse industry overall.

The Del Mar National Horse Show Dressage Week Entertains Crowds with World Cup Qualifier and International Athletes
Written by CRM
Thursday, 26 April 2018 17:28

The week hosts an array of International, special classes and qualifying classes for multiple championships, including: CDI-W, USEF Grand Prix, Intermediaire I, Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ National Championships, Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships and the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.

Written by CRM
Monday, 16 April 2018 16:45

Including a Trainer’s Show, Exhibitor/Rider Party, Celeb Dog & Pony Show, and Dog Race

New Product Release - Cur-OST EQ Nitric Boost Enhanced Formula
Written by CRM
Monday, 23 July 2018 18:15

Healthy circulation is vital to equine performance and recovery, but can be impacted by a variety of factors from diet to stress and inflammation.  Decreased blood circulation is closely tied in with tendon injuries, hoof conditions, muscular ailments, navicular disease, and laminitis.  Improving or supporting a healthy cardiovascular system and blood circulation is an important step in aiding recovery of almost any condition.

The circulation of blood is dependent on many factors, but dilation or relaxation of blood vessels improves movement of blood to vital areas.  An amino acid, L-Arginine, is closely linked with circulation through aiding nitric oxide production in the body, which helps to relax blood vessels.  In some horses, the L-Arginine pathway is impaired due to inflammation in the body, and despite supplementation with this amino acid, results are minimally achieved.

Absorbine® Partners with The Right Horse Initiative
Written by CRM
Thursday, 19 July 2018 16:44

The Horse World’s Most Trusted Name Supports Mission to Increase Successful Adoptions

Absorbine® has partnered with The Right Horse Initiative, a collective dedicated to massively increasing the number of successful horse adoptions in the United States. Absorbine® has been concerned with the welfare of horses since the invention of Absorbine® Veterinary Liniment in 1892, and deeply values any effort towards finding productive partnerships and loving homes for horses in transition.

Tracy Bowman to Represent United States at FEI World Para-Driving Championships
Written by CRM
Monday, 02 July 2018 17:28

Tracy Bowman and Bella. PC: Sherry Stewart

While many may know Tracy Bowman as the trainer of multiple CCI4* riders at Kismet Farms, and be familiar with her consistent presence on the West Coast eventing scene, Tracy is also a keen competitor in Combined and Para Driving. So keen, in fact, she has been selected as a Nominated Entry to represent the United States at the FEI World Para-Driving Championships for Singles in Kronenberg, Netherlands.

Get Rewarded for Buying Your Favorite Supplements!
Written by CRM
Thursday, 21 June 2018 17:29

Introducing the Horse Care Loyalty Rewards Program for Farnam®, Vita Flex® and Horse Health™ Products Supplements

If you’re like most horse owners, you have a few favorite equine supplements that you regularly feed to your horse.  Now you can save money on those great supplements with the launch of the Horse Care Loyalty Rewards Program.

For every five of an individual qualifying Farnam® or Horse Health™ Products equine supplement purchased, horse owners will receive the next one completely FREE!  When purchasing the Vita Flex® Lactanase® packets, for every ten purchased, your next one is FREE!

Ben Ebeling
Written by by Ben Ebeling
Wednesday, 06 June 2018 17:30

California’s Ben Ebeling and his USEF European Young Rider tour teammates are en route to Hagen, Germany for the Future Champions CDIO, an event that greatly inspired Ben a few years ago. Here’s his second blog post and stay tuned for more soon. The Acres Dressage, California Dressage Society - Ventura County Chapter

European Young Rider Tour Ends on a High Note.


June 21, Hagen, Germany, conclusion of the European Young Rider Tour: I had an unforgettable experience competing in the Future Champions FEI CDIO-Y in Hagen, June 14-17.

When our team first arrived, utilizing the safe and comfortable Gellison’s Horse Transport, we all settled right in. The shavings were great, the stalls were nicely-sized, and anything that we needed was available and ready at the showgrounds. I remember the minute my horse settled in and I was just about to leave him for the night, I had a feeling of pride, happiness, and a sort of nostalgia that made me recall the times I was at this show-grounds watching my dad compete!

June 2018 - The Gallop: Under Threat
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Thursday, 17 May 2018 21:16

“Where is the Equestrian Center in this project?”

by Kim F. Miller

I’m optimistic by nature, so I took a line in the proposed master site plan for the Orange County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa as good news for the fate of horse boarding there. The first point under the heading “Overall Strategy” is “Improvements be made to the Equestrian Center to enhance functionality and competiveness; more oriented to serving the youth market.” That’s verbatim from the plan the Fair Board hired consultants to create.

Silly me.

Fortunately, veteran equestrian advocates knew better. On April 26, they filled to overflowing the first public Fair Board meeting to address the site plan. Many were alumni of the Derail The Sale campaign that saved the entire Fairgrounds, a remarkable two-year effort that concluded in 2011 and prevented the 150-acre venue from being sold to likely private development. These advocates understood that the more important point was the first item in Phase III of the proposed site plan:


Smart Solutions for Your Horse and the Environment
Written by CRM
Monday, 30 April 2018 18:51

SmartPak is committed to helping the environment by maintaining a green footprint. From the materials used to manufacture products, to the processes that get them to your barn door, SmartPak aims to be an environmentally friendly company.

“We know that like us, our customers also want to have the smallest impact on the environment as possible," said Sarah Mann, Vice President of Brand and Customer Experience. "That’s why we've always made our SmartPak strips from #1 PET plastic which means that they’re not only recyclable, but that they're also made from recycled material. And our commitment to the environment doesn't stop there!”

Call for Artists Art at the Classic: Equine and Western Art Show
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 18 April 2018 02:15

Are you interested in showcasing your artwork at Art at the Classic, a top-ranked equine and western art show? Held during the Draft Horse Classic, September 21 – 23, at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, this equine and western art show features impressive works of art in a dozen categories and more than 100 works by painters, sculptors, photographers and other fine artists.  The show has become one of the premier displays of its kind - attracting both art lovers and horse lovers. Artists are encouraged to participate by entering artwork in the show and purchasing booth space at the show.

Horse Show Action, Elegance and Excitement
Written by CRM
Thursday, 05 April 2018 20:15


In just a few short weeks we’ll kick off the 73rd Annual Del Mar National Horse Show, and we’re planning fantastic entertainment and activities alongside some of the most excellent equestrian competitions offered on the west coast.

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