Practical Anatomy and Biomechanics Course 
for Saddlery Professionals

Thursday 4th and Friday 5th August 2022

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.



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 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.

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