Practical Anatomy and Biomechanics Course 
for Saddlery Professionals

Friday 6th and Saturday 7th August 2021

at Wavendon Grange, Lawn Lane, Old Dalby, Leicestershire, LE14 3LW

with Gillian Higgins and Laurence Pearman

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.



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


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

equine anatomy, biomechanics, horse back specialist saddle


Anatomist, Biomechanist, Equine and Human Sports and Remedial Therapist, Lecturer, Anatomical Artist, Author and BHS Senior Coach.

saddler, society of master saddlers, saddle fitter, master saddle fitting consultants, SMS MSFC Laurence Pearman



Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) Master Saddler, SMS Registered Qualified Saddle fitter and assessor, assessor of the City & Guilds Skills tests for bench saddlers and member of many different SMS Committees dedicated to improving the saddlery trade.

Recommended Reading





Hi Gillian,


I thoroughly enjoyed your course - both from a saddle fitter's viewpoint and as a horse owner and rider. You are a very inspiring and enthusiastic teacher! You're depth of knowledge for the subject shines through. You explained the biomechanics like 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

  • Your paintings on the horses and the associated 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