In our series of finding more about people and their jobs we interviewed a saddler and what their day-to-day job entails.
Course Feeder (CF): Hi, what is your name and what is your job title?
Julie: My name is Julie, I work as a saddler, designing, making and fitting saddles for horses.
CF: How long have you worked as a saddler?
Julie: I trained in 1989, so 27 years now.
CF: What made you want to be involved in becoming a saddler?
Julie: Horses. I’ve always had horses, and wanted to work with them and I saw an advert in the Horse and Hound for a four week course learning how to saddle.
CF: What relevant qualifications do you hold?
Julie: Just the course. There are no qualifications that you have to have to be saddle fitter, just the knowledge. You can become an SMS qualified saddle fitter, but you need three years of fitting experience before you can take the course.
CF: How long did it take you to qualify in saddling?
Julie: It took a year to become a working saddler, completing the course I took and then gaining experience.
CF: What qualities do you have that make you a good person to work as a saddler?
Julie: I’m very thorough, and you need to be to ensure that the saddle is the best fit for the horse. You can cause all kinds of physical problems for a horse if the saddle doesn’t fit correctly that can eventually put them out of work.
CF: What does a typical day working as a saddler look like for you?
Julie: There is a lot of travelling involved, driving from yard to yard. I will usually have about six appointments a day that last for around an hour. I will check the saddle on the horse, determine what needs doing to the saddle and add or take away from the flocking depending on what the situation is.
CF: What is the best thing about working as a saddler?
Julie: It would be the job satisfaction, people usually love their horses a massive amount, but finding a suitable saddle is something that a lot of people don’t have the knowledge to do and my help can really make a difference to the quality of life that a horse has.
CF: If you didn't working as a saddler, what would be your dream job and why?
Julie: I’d love to be a mounted police officer. I work part time as a PCSO, and combining the police and horses would have been a great career I imagine.
CF: What do you do in your down time?
Julie: I ride and look after my own horses, watch TV and enjoy salsa dancing.
CF: For someone looking to work as a saddler what advice would you give them?
Julie: You need money for good stock to get set up. Saddles are expensive and you need to buy them and the equipment before you get started.
CF: What other jobs have you had in the past?
Julie: I was a vet nurse for quite a few years, and worked in admin as a civil servant.
CF: How does your current job compare to your previous jobs?
Julie: Being a saddler is much better, and working for myself allows me a lot more freedom. I did enjoy being a vet nurse, but I didn’t enjoy putting animals down.
CF: Thank you for your time and good luck in your chosen profession.