The inaugural “Applied Anatomy and Biomechanics Conference” proudly supported by Bates Saddles, was held successfully at the end of 2019 in Perth, Western Australia.
Gillian Higgins, founder of the well-known “Horses Inside Out” equestrian education business and an expert in equine anatomy and rider biomechanics, was flown in from England by Bates Saddles to present at this invitation-only event attended by 26 of Australia’s elite saddle-fitters.
“As a high-performance saddle brand, Bates Saddles is dedicated to promoting and supporting education in saddle-fitting. Gillian Higgins was selected as our inaugural guest presenter due to our shared passion of improving horse comfort and performance through an understanding of equine anatomy and rider biomechanics,” stated Ron Bates, Managing Director of Bates Saddles.
Driven by a philosophy of innovation, Bates saddles are considered the most technically advanced in the world. Committed to horse comfort for performance, the research and development team behind Bates saddles have always considered the underlying structure of performance horses to ensure freedom of movement, protection of their backs, and precision saddle fit. Selected Bates saddles feature many innovations such as Adjustable Ergonomic Stirrup Bars and moveable FlexiContourblocs to support rider biomechanics for superior performance.
The three-day conference covered in detail horse and rider anatomy and biomechanics, equine palpation, assessment of the horse’s movement and posture, how to assess rider position and balance, as well as practical hands-on saddle fitting with a range of high-performance Bates saddles. Driven by serious learning, the participants also had a bit of fun doing their best to emulate Gillian’s renowned skill in painting anatomical structures on the horse!
Delegates explored the effect of optimal saddle fitting on rider balance and horse posture. This included the use of the famous skeleton suit used in Gillian’s books and videos. Five horse and rider combinations participated, ranging in type from pony through to Clydesdale. The impact of an EASY-CHANGE Gullet or Riser change (as small as four millimeters) were assessed with relation to saddle fit, and changes in stirrup bar and thigh block position immediately obvious to rider comfort and position. These bespoke and often relatively minor adjustments able to be made in innovative Bates saddles translated into better rider position, comfort, and significantly improved the horses’ way of going.
Practical exercises brought the course components together. The saddle fitters were able to demonstrate the impact their professional skills have on maximizing the horse’s capability and the rider’s enjoyment in their performance. Enabling harmony between horse and rider is central to Bates Saddles mission to deliver breakthrough innovations to support the long-term comfort of the horse and peace of mind for the rider.
“I feel very privileged to have been allowed to attend and it has certainly changed my ideas. . . it was so wonderful to see all the passion,” said one of the conference attendees.
Fostering connections amongst a network of forward-thinking, like-minded, and supportive fitters nationwide was inspiring. Australia’s elite saddle fitters left feeling empowered with a strong personal sense of where they belong within the national standard of fitting.
If you’re an equine professional, contact [email protected]
to register your interest for future professional development events.
Bates Saddles is driven by a philosophy of true innovation focused on optimizing both horse and rider performance. Bates Saddles has earned its reputation as the industry leader in innovation with the revolutionary CAIR® Cushion System and the EASY-CHANGE® Fit Solution. Bates Saddles are available through leading saddleries. To find your nearest stockist visit the Bates Saddles website.
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