AN innovative new virtual event ‘Fit for Welfare’ has been created by the Society of Master Saddlers.

Correct fit takes a team, and this online event explores how best to approach fit for each part of the tack triad: the horse; the saddle and the bridle; and the rider.

Ten leading industry experts will share current research and best practise during the virtual event that runs in three parts from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, November 6th.

For anyone wanting to develop their knowledge and to ensure both horse and human are comfortable, confident, and happy, this event will deliver a broad range of insights into Horse FIT, Saddlery FIT, and Rider FIT.

Maintaining good fit for horse and human is a long-term and team effort, and an essential part of ensuring high standards of horse welfare.

Part one covers Horse FIT:

Dr. Jane Nixon, Veterinary Advisor to the Society, will discuss what ‘Social License to Operate’ means for the equestrian world. What must we do to lift standards in riding and horse care at home and in competition – and how do we clearly demonstrate the continuous improvements being made?

Sue Palmer, ACPAT and RAMP registered Physiotherapist, and author of ‘Brain, Pain or Training’ talks about how you can recognise discomfort in your horse.

Dr. Rachel Murray, BEF World Class Programme veterinarian, examines how we can help our horse to properly carry a rider, using ridden and in-hand cross-training.

Part two covers saddlery FIT:

Catherine Baker is an SMS Qualified Saddle Fitter and Master Saddler, and a course creator and lecturer for our Bridle Fitting qualification course. Her video case study takes us through the process of measuring, designing, making and fitting a bespoke bridle for one of her clients.

Kate Naylor, SMS Master Saddle Fitter, takes us through a saddle fitting appointment with a new, young horse at the start of their ridden career and already changing and developing.

This session will be rounded off with Dr. Russell MacKechnie-Guire discussing current research and the use of saddle pads.

Part three covers Rider FIT

The team at Hartpury University take a broad look at the rider: how we ride, our brains, what we eat, and our bodies.

Dr. Celeste Wilkins shows that achieving harmony with our horse is not a case of one size fits all – it’s in the reach of every body; Emma Davies offers mental tools to help with anxiety associated with rider; Talitha Corbett shares ideas for competition-day nutrition that will support your body and your brain; and Liz Launder, MSc. Osteopath, will show quick and painless pre-riding exercises to help us be better partners.

HRH Princess Royal will give a foreword to the event and after each session there will be the opportunity for a live Q&A.

To join this educational and thought-provoking day prices are:

Price – £40

SMS members and members of SMS partner organisations receive a special rate of £20. Please look out for newsletters from your member organisation.

Ticket holders may access the recording for two weeks after the event.

To book your place, please visit Eventbrite:

For further information contact Events Team at

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