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Practical Anatomy and Biomechanics Course
for Saddlers and Saddle Fitters

with Gillian Higgins, Laurence Pearman and Andy Wheals
Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd June 2017
Broomfield Hall Equestrian Centre, Derby College, Derbyshire, DE7 6DN
Back Skeleton

Course Overview:

saddlersThis course will look at 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 wonderful 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.

Who is the course aimed at? The course is open to all fully qualified, practising and trainee saddlers, saddle fitters, saddle designers and saddle makers.

Course Leaders:

Gillian Higgins: Equine and Human Sports and Remedial Therapist, Lecturer, Anatomist, Biomechanist, Author and BHSSenior Coach. More about Gillian...Master Saddle Fitting Consultants

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, Member of many different SMS Committees dedicated to improving the saddlery trade More about Laurence...

Society of Master SaddlersAndy Wheals: Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) Saddle Fitter and Master Saddle Maker and owner of Spalding International Saddlery. More about Andy...

Course Content and Timetable (Provisional):

Day 1 – Thursday 1st June 2017

Day 2 – Friday 2nd June 2017






02.15 03.00



Registration and Coffee
Anatomy of the Head: Bridels related skeletal and soft tissue structures
Understanding Back Movement: Skeletal anatomy, biomechanics and movement of the spine - Classroom

Muscular Misconceptions: Saddle related muscular anatomy - Classroom
The Principles of Palpation: What can we learn from feeling the horse’s back?
Developing Palpation Skills Practical: Skeletal and
muscular palpation demonstration and practical
Practical Painting

Assessing Back Movement: Demonstration and practical assessment in the stable, in hand and on the lunge
Questions and Discussions with Master Saddlers Laurence Pearman and Andrew Wheals









Changing Shape: Skeletal maturity, posture and the effects of riding
Posture vs Conformation Assessment:
Demonstration and practical

Understanding Back Asymmetry and Compensation Patterns

Back Evaluation Techniques: Demonstration and practical assessment in hand and on the lunge
Saddle Fit from the Anatomical Perspective: Practical with Master Saddlers Laurence Pearman and Andrew Wheals
Principles of Maintaining a Healthy Back: Some tips to give your clients. Demonstration and practical
Questions and Discussions with Gillian Higgins and Master Saddlers Laurence Pearman and Andrew Wheals

Please Note:

  • Tea, coffee and homemade cakes will be available throughout the day.
  • A light lunch will be provided.
  • Course notes will be provided.
  • Certificates of Participation (CPD) will be available on the day.

Suggested Reading List:

> Posture and Performance by Gillian Higgins with Stephanie Martin
> How Your Horse Moves by Gillian Higgins with Stephanie Martin
> Horse Anatomy Poster Book Volume 1 by Gillian Higgins

Course Fee:

£300 including VAT 

Cancellation Policy.  We charge 25%  for cancellations up to two weeks in advance and 100%  thereafter
unless we can fill the place from a waiting list in which case we will then refund 75%.
 Non Transferable.

Book Now:

To book, simply download and application form then follow the instructions.

Click here to download the application form in Microsoft Word

Click here to download the application form as a PDF document.

For More Information : 01159212648 or

Places to stay:

Breadsall Priory, Moor Road, Derby, Derbyshire, DE7 6DL 01332832235
Hayeswood Lodge Boutique B&B, Derbyshire, DE7 6GG 01159440338
Morley Hayes, Main Road, Morley, Derbyshire DE7 6DG 0 1332 781094
Days Hotel, Derby, DE21 6DA 01332 363600

Or visit

Gillian HigginsAbout Gillian Higgins:

Gillian is professional Sports and Remedial Therapist, specialising in assessing and mobilising muscles, improving performance and educating horse owners. She is also an anatomist, biomechanist,  BHS Senior Coach, Stable Manager and Author.

With a bubbly, engaging presentation style, a passion for anatomy and biomechanics and with the welfare and comfort of the horse in mind, she gives lectures all over the world to anyone keen to ride or train sensitively. She has given demonstrations at the Global Dressage Forum in Holland, the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, the World Arab, Horse Organisation in Qatar as well as at the Horse University in Brazil, the horse Expo in South Africa as well as many European countries.

Gillian HigginsGillian has written several popular books and DVDs. There are more in the pipeline. She writes regularly for magazines including British Dressage, Horse and Rider, Eventing World Wide and Your horse Magazine.

Gillian has a First Class Honours Degree and Human and Equine Sports and Remedial Massage qualifications. She is also a McTimoney-Corley Animal Manipulator. Gillian regularly attends courses in all her fields of interest and is committed to giving both humans and equines the best possible levels of care and consideration. She works closely with Vets and regularly attends veterinary seminars and conferences. Gillian has represented the BHS in Sweden as part of the Leonardo Exchange programme designed to share knowledge with our European Counterparts. This has given her valuable insight into alternative methods of training and treatments, the best of which she incorporates into her own practices.



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