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Society of Saddlers
Services

Our Services

Nutwell Saddlery’s team of Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Saddle Fitters provide a complete
saddle fitting and advice service available to clients across the whole of the South West offering
appointments at your yard or here at our superb purpose built facilities.

Our saddle fitters have the expertise required to ensure that all flocking alterations required can be made
onsite, during your appointment within your consultation fee, ensuring no additional charges at your
appointment or unexpected time spent without your saddle.

We offer appointments 6 days a week with evening appointments and weekend appointments available at no
additional charge.

At Nutwell Saddlery, we understand that buying a new saddle is often one of the most important equestrian investments you will need to make, so it is crucial to get it right. Through our wide experience in the industry, our stock is specially selected from leading manufacturers. We constantly research innovative products and techniques to ensure that we are always pushing forward with new developments within the saddle fitting industry so we can provide our clients with the best solutions possible.

With stock of over 100 new saddles across a variety of budgets, we hope to have something suitable for everyone, and we also offer a made to measure service where required.

Nutwell Saddlery provide a fully mobile saddle check service, as well as appointments from our base. We are able to check all makes of saddles, whether old or new. Where necessary, we can work closely with your vet, physiotherapist or equine professional to provide remedial saddle fitting following injury or rehabilitation to get the best results for you and your horse.

Does my saddle fit?

Over a year, a horse’s shape can change substantially, especially after injury, any change in exercise, for youngsters or in older horses. The flocking in your saddle will also significantly flatten over time with use which may cause pressure or even pinching. Therefore, it is recommended that you should have your saddle checked every 6-12 months unless advised otherwise by your saddle fitter.

What are the common signs of my saddle not fitting?

If you are experiencing any of the above problems, then we would highly recommend getting your saddle checked.

There will be occasions where it may be recommended for your saddle to be completely reflocked, which may be required for older saddles, or saddles that have been moved between horses. This process is where all flocking from the saddle is removed, and replaced with new. Here at Nutwell Saddlery, we find the best flocking to use is pure wool. A complete saddle reflock should only be completed by a qualified saddler, and is the only flocking alteration we are unable to perform during a visit due to the length of time required to complete this. Once completed, we will always advise to re-assess the saddle back on the horse, to ensure the best fit and make any necessary adjustments that are required for the individual horse.

If you are looking for any stitching, tack repairs or alterations, our onsite Society of Master Saddlers' Qualified Saddler and Master Saddler are available. Please ask a member of the team to provide a quote for you.

Once your appointment has been booked in and your fitting form received, your saddle fitter will bring along a selection of saddles, which they deem most suitable for you based on your requirements, rider and horse information. This will be noted ahead of your appointment, so if for any reason, we do not feel we have the best selection to bring to you, we will contact you to advise. We feel this is the best way of ensuring that we provide the best level of service to you that we can.

At all appointments you will find our saddle fitters will typically:

  • Assess your horse, any existing saddles provided and examine the saddle area
  • Complete a template of your horse’s back profile, which are kept and referred to on subsequent visits so we can form a picture of how your horse develops and changes shape
  • Assess the fit of your current saddle and advise of any alterations required
  • Proceed with any flocking alterations required
  • Assess the horse ridden at all paces without a numnah
  • Discuss any future recommendations with you

For all new clients or for new horses we have not seen before, please complete our online fitting form with as much detail as possible, about your horse, the main rider, and your requirements for our visit.

If you are booked for a new fitting with us, in order for us to be able to bring the best selection of saddles out with us, it is highly advisable to provide us with pictures of your horse prior to your appointment. If sending us pictures, where possible please send them of your horse untacked, from the front of the shoulder, side and from behind if it is safe to do so.

Please email any pictures along with your name and date of appointment to info@nutwellsaddlery.co.uk, at least 5 days prior to your booking where possible.

If you choose to have your saddle fitted or checked at your premises, we would ideally require the below facilities to ensure the best fit on the day:

  • A flat hard surface where the horse can be examined standing and trotted up in hand
  • The main jockey, or if they cannot be present, ideally someone of similar size and build
  • An area where the horse can be ridden, preferably a ménage, and can be ridden at walk, trot and canter if suitable
  • If you are looking for a jumping saddle, we would ideally need at least one practice fence
  • Your own stirrup leathers and girth. If your horse is new and you have no tack, please inform us at the initial booking and we can provide a girth and stirrup leathers for you
  • We also require for a sufficiently groomed horse so we can identify any marks left on the horse’s back after removing the saddle.

If you are unable to provide all or any of the above, please speak to a member of our team to discuss alternatives ahead of your booking.

Saddle consultation for one horse (one saddle) – Initial Fee£65
Saddle consultation for one horse (one saddle) – Existing Customer£55
Additional saddle charge in addition to the above -£15
Mileage charge in addition to your consultation fee -
Split between all appointments within your area
£1.20/mile one way only

Yard discounts and zoned visits also available, please discuss with a member of the team upon booking.

All flocking alterations done onsite are within your consultation fee, and there is no additional charge.

Our consultation fee is chargeable per horse for the first saddle, additional saddles will incur an additional reduced charge. To ensure our saddle fitters have enough time to check any additional saddles, please ensure you notify us upon booking to ensure the correct time is allocated for your appointment.

To allow us to fully evaluate the fit of your saddle, the main rider will need to present for the appointment, and you will be required to ride, unless other arrangements have been discussed with the office when booking.

For any appointments cancelled with less than 24 hours notice, there will be a cancellation fee of £25.00, except on occasions where this is deemed to be unavoidable. For appointments cancelled on more than one occasion, payment upfront at the time of booking will be required.

Please ensure you arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your appointment, or if we are visiting your yard, that the horse is ready for the appointment. Horses can be unpredictable animals and therefore it is your responsibility to attend the fitting in the appropriate clothing including footwear and a correctly fitting riding hat. We will not continue with your appointment without a riding hat, however you will still be charged, despite a full fitting not taking place.

All flocking alterations are undertaken by our Qualified Saddler Fitters onsite within your consultation fee. We accept no responsibility for any work undertaken by a third party, including any subsequent issues such as fit or repair.

If you have any issues with your saddle or fit of your saddle following an appointment with us, please contact us as soon as possible.

We recommend that all new saddles are checked again within 4-6 weeks (20 hours) after initial fitting. This is due to the flocking compacting and ‘settling’ with use. This will be fully explained at your appointment, and we recommend this is booked in as soon as possible to avoid any delay. This is a chargeable appointment.

If your horse appears lame, injured, unsafe or unwell during your appointment, we can choose not to continue with the appointment.

All fees must be paid at the time of the appointment, via cash or card, however we do not except American Express. Any repairs or alteration charges must be paid prior to collection.

For all made to measure saddles or items ordered in specifically for you, a £200 non-refundable deposit will be taken. The saddle will not be ordered until the deposit has been received.

What is the difference between a saddler and a saddle fitter?

It is a common perception that a Society of Master Saddlers' Qualified Saddler will also be a Qualified Saddle Fitter. The two trades, whilst working closely together, are very different. A saddler is qualified to make items such as saddles, bridles and all other leather items. They are also qualified to reflock saddles, as this is essential when making a saddle from scratch, however this does not mean they are Qualified Saddle Fitters. A Qualified Saddle Fitter does not need to be a saddler but is qualified to fit saddles only and make flocking alterations only, which is covered within their 3 years of training. A Master Saddler is someone who holds both the above qualifications and is invited by the Society of Master Saddlers after many years of experience and outstanding service.

Why should I use a Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Saddle Fitter?

The Society of Master Saddlers is the most influential professional body in the world connected with saddlery and still remains the only non-commercially linked saddle fitting qualification in the world. The qualification has been approved by the City & Guilds / NPTC, a UK qualification awarding body and is recognised by equine vets, physiotherapists and all other professionals working within the equine industry.

Most importantly, before undertaking the final assessment, candidates must hold an absolute minimum of three years of saddle fitting experience and training with a qualified Master Saddler. The assessment examines the candidates ability to assess different horses; their conformation, movement and to undertake back examinations to be able to locate asymmetric development or sensitive and sore areas. Above everything, they have to prove their ability to select and fit the correct saddles for the horse and rider.

Once qualified, each member must attend regular training refreshers to remain a member of the Society of Master Saddlers, which ensures that we are always up to pushing forward with new ideas and developments within the saddle fitting industry.

Does my saddle need checking?

If your horse is displaying behavioural issues which are out of character, such as bucking, refusing at jumps or becoming irritable when being tacked up, then it may be your saddle causing this. Horses can change over the course of the year, so it is advised to have your saddle checked every 6-12 months unless advised otherwise at your appointment.

What will the saddle fitter bring to my appointment?

Your saddle fitter will bring the most appropriate saddles suitable for you and your horse, from the information provided to us at the time of booking and your completed fitting form. If you would like to look at a particular model, please ensure you inform a member of the team prior to your booking.

How long should I allow for my appointment?

Please allow 1 hour for us to check the fit of your existing saddle, which includes time spent making alterations to the flocking if required. If we are fitting a new saddle from a selection of saddles we provide, please allow 2 hours for your appointment. For additional saddles or for multiple horses, a member of our team will advise at the time of booking of the additional time required.

If my saddle fits, why have I been advised to purchase a corrective numnah?

We are often faced with horses which develop unevenly, display some level of muscle wastage or are naturally asymmetrical in the saddle area. We always advise against flocking a saddle unevenly and therefore prefer to use a correctional numnah to help alleviate the issue to ensure the best fit. This is achieved by adding felt shims in the areas required, which can be easily removed when no longer required.