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Practical Anatomy and Biomechanics Course 
for Saddlery Professionals

2023 Date TBA
at Wavendon Grange, Lawn Lane, Old Dalby, Leicestershire, LE14 3LW
with Gillian Higgins

saddle fit design anatomy biomechanics skeleton saddle tree correct position of the saddle last rib throracic vertebrae, gullet, horse saddle rider interaction
The course is open to all fully qualified, practising and trainee saddlers, saddle fitters, saddle designers and saddle makers. It will look at the practical aspects of applied biomechanics and anatomical principles of movement related to the horse’s back and head.
It will take an in-depth look at the structure and function and relate it to way of going and saddle and bridle fit.
The course is illustrated with slow-motion video of painted horses showing exactly what is happening under the skin. There will be plenty of discussion and hands-on participation.
The course is a mix of theory and practical observation. It will look at common back problems experienced by horses and provide a great opportunity for discussion with like-minded saddle fitters.
There will also be a number of anatomical models and specimens available to study and we will discuss a range of saddle and bridle styles and designs.

Course Trailer



08.30:  Registration and Coffee

09.00:  Introduction

09.15:   Anatomy of the Head: Bridle related skeletal

             and soft tissue structures

10.30:   Break 

11.00:    Head Palpation and Bridle Fit Demonstration

             and Practical Session

12.30:   Lunch

13.30:   Understanding the Back

                - Skeletal anatomy

                - Biomechanics

                - Movement of the spine

14.30:   Break

15.00:   Muscular Misconceptions: Saddle related

             muscular anatomy - Classroom

16.30:   Discussion

17.00:   Close


08.30:  Coffee

09.00:  Posture, Movement, Asymmetry

             and Compensation Patterns

10.30:   Break

11.00:    Practical Session in the yard to include:

              - Principles of palpation

              - Skeletal palpation points

              - Muscular palpation points

              - Anatomical painting

12.30:   Lunch

13.30:   Practical Session in the Arena:

              - Scapula movement and the tree

              - Assessing movement

              - Assessing posture (4 Point System) 

              - Detecting pain

              - Maintaining a healthy back


14.30:   Break

15.00:   Rider Position and Balance Assessment:

             Demonstration with a rider in a skeleton


16.00:   Discussion

16.30:   Close

Course Price


Early bird discount

(purchase before 30th April)



Course for Saddlery Professionals





Tea, coffee and cake will be available throughout the day.

A light lunch of sandwiches, crisps, fruit and chocolate is included.

Course notes will be provided.

Certificates of Participation (CPD) will be available on the day.

Course Leaders

gillian higgins demonstrating microphone talk


Gillian is an equine anatomist, biomechanist, BHS Senior Coach, professional Sports and Remedial Therapist and author with a first class honours degree in Equine Science and Business Management. She is an engaging knowledgeable presenter.


Gillian has performed extensive dissection studies, photographs and footage from which are included in this course. She has also developed a number of anatomical models including one illustrating the anatomy of the head pertinent to bridle fit and design.

As well as conventional training, Gillian has studied both traditional and holistic Equine Therapies in America, France, Germany and Sweden.


She works with horses from all disciplines and levels from leisure to Olympic, gives lectures, runs courses both nationally and internationally, delivers online courses and webinars  and is committed to giving our equine partners the best possible levels of care and consideration.


She rides regularly, owns two horses and has evented up to advanced level.


"I thoroughly enjoyed this course - both from a saddle fitter's viewpoint and as a horse owner and rider. Gillian is a very inspiring and enthusiastic teacher! Her depth of knowledge for the subject shines through and she explained the biomechanics and systems in such a clear understandable way - clearer than any other explanation I've been given or shown.


The main underlying theme for me was that if we want to ride horses we need to be proactive about strengthening their bodies to enable them to carry us and stay healthy into old age. This is our duty of care to them. And just riding them isn't enough - we need to exercise their bodies from the ground. 

Things I found useful:

  • Clear explanations of skeletal and muscle form and function

  • Paintings on the horses and the videos showing how the movement is linked to skeletal and muscle form

  • Palpating exercises to understand better when there is an abnormality or pain

  • Looking at and interpreting gait abnormalities.

  • All the practical sessions were very useful.


Thank you so much for your teaching and inspiration"

Buffy Lacey

“Gillian Higgins is a world class expert with world class enthusiasm and world class facilities and learning materials.


The more you know the more you realise you don’t know.

I’m going back to learn more when I have digested the books I bought, watched the videos they link to, rewatched the content I’ve already bought and devoured the free content on the Horses Inside Out Academy.


Finally, learning new stuff is exhausting remember that when you ride your horse or teach a lesson.”

Dawn Britnell, WOW saddle fitter

“I had a great time with Gillian Higgins on her Practical Anatomy and Biomechanics Course for Saddlery Professionals. Amazing atmosphere, good learning experience and even better company.”

David Kempsell, WOW Saddles

“Two days of total immersion into anatomy, posture, palpation, painting - yes painting! Anatomical markers, biomechanics and saddles.


This was a truly awesome clinic, as a farrier it was great to sit in with a group of mainly saddle fitters and be something of a fly on a wall.


It’s an area I have remained woefully weak in for way too long and it was so good to gain a deeper insight.

We all battle the same problems but from our different perspectives and skill sets and gaining a deeper understanding of others is not just fascinating it’s essential.”


Mark Johnson, Farrier

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