Hi! I’m Amanda.
I have been involved with horses in a variety of capacities for decades.
As a trainer, my focus was on problem horses and starting young horses. Problem horses are the ones no one else wants to deal with! But I knew that when horses misbehave it is almost always because they are trying to communicate that they are uncomfortable, whether physically or mentally. By figuring out the source of the discomfort, I could resolve the horses’ behavioral problems with minimal risk to myself. Starting young horses was easy by comparison! By starting them correctly and carefully I knew they would be unlikely to ever become problem horses for someone else.
As a riding instructor, I taught at everything from backyard stables to national champion show stables and college equestrian programs at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York, and Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. I have been certified by the American Riding Instructors Association for dressage and huntseat since 2002.
As an extension of my desire to teach as many riders as possible, I began judging and earned my judging credentials in OH, NY, PA, IN, IL, and KY. This enabled my to give feedback to riders in the show ring, and opened up more opportunities to teach young riders at clinics, too.
To reach even more riders, I wrote a book. The Training Tree for Riders describes a system of instruction to develop the whole rider in any discipline in a very methodical, yet fun and challenging way. The structure is based on the famous German training scale or training tree that riders have been using to develop their horses for over 100 years. In the same way, the Training Tree for Riders is effective for any discipline and can ensure that the rider ultimately is balanced, supple, and effective.
Throughout the years and job descriptions, saddle fit has been a difficult challenge. This point was driven home when my own horse outgrew his saddle and I tried to find quality help. It was not easy to find, and I found some charlatans in the process. It was time consuming, expensive and very frustrating. But I learned a great deal in the process, enough to feel like I could help others avoid the same frustration.
I then set about finding more opportunities to learn. I earned my certification from the highly respected Mike Scott in South Carolina. After his very challenging course, I went to England to work directly with the saddle makers whose products I chose to work with. I began fitting saddles professionally upon my return.
It has been an extremely rewarding experience. I love that now, when I see a saddle fit problem, I can fix it! I love that people are so surprised and impressed with how much more comfortable they are after I adjust their saddle for their horse. I love that even though I frequently meet horses that pin their ears, swish their tails, and grind their teeth as their saddles are put on their backs, they aren’t doing it any more by the time I leave. I am amazed and humbled that I have made lame horses sound on several occasions by fitting their saddles. I look forward to helping many more horses in the years to come!
I continue to learn every chance I get. Some of the more notable learning adventures were a second trip to England in August of 2019 to work alongside saddle makers, and a biomechanics workshop for saddlery professsionals by Gillian Higgins of Horses Inside Out.
It’s been recognized for thousands of years that the best way to learn is to teach. Every one of my fittings is a lesson, too, as I explain my findings and my thoughts about options for improvement. I’ve also taught about saddle fitting at the following:
Novi Equestrian Expo, 2016
Otterbein Univeristy, once or twice per year since 2016
Thoroughbred Makeover Competition, 2017
Equine Affaire, 2018
School of English Saddle Fitting and Flocking, Master class, 2018
Ohio Univeristy Equestrian Team, 2018
USHJA Developing Riders National Meeting, 2019
Pony Club Tri-State Winter Weekend, 2020
Numerous presentations at private stables ever year!
Hi, I’m Sara!
I started working with Amanda in June of 2020, and am now excited to be a fellow independent saddle fitter!
I have ridden horses for most of my life. Most of my riding career has been in hunters and equitation over fences, and I am now focusing on dressage. In the past, I had my own small used tack business. This helped me familiarize myself with a wide range of brands of saddles. It also sparked my interest in repair work.
In about two years, I intend to get my Society of Master Saddlers certification in England. I hope to bring what I learn there back to the US and continue to work with Amanda!
To me, the most profound part of saddle fitting is looking back at issues I encountered with horses in the past. The more I learn, the more I reconsider so many horse behaviors that are so commonly written off as “naughty,” “stubborn,” “lazy!” Training horses has been a passion of mine for so many years, and I am glad that I have learned- and continue to learn- about the multitude of reasons behind horses’ behavior.