Sue has been one of my longest students and friends that join me every winter in Florida. I’m so thankful to have her as part of the barn family.Ruth Hogan-Poulsen
A big proponent of saddle fitting as an important part of a training program, Ruth Hogan Poulsen now works with Sara Christensen Smith, who offers independent saddle fitting across New Hampshire and Vermont.
“I am blessed over the last 10 or 12 years to have two excellent saddle fitters,” explained Ruth.
“Sara Kilguss started me with being a representative and sponsored rider with Custom Saddles. And, now I am working with her protégé, Sara [Smith.] Horse after horse and rider after rider in my barn have been very happy and successful in their Custom Saddles.”
During 2021, Smith completed hands-on training with Kilguss in New England and at Custom Saddlery’s Aiken, SC, headquarters before offering her own independent saddle fitting services in Vermont and New Hampshire.
“I am amazed at her skill level already but not surprised!” exclaimed Ruth. “Sara was already an excellent horse woman before and now she’s just putting it to use with her eyes and her own knowledge of the biomechanics and how it is to sit in the saddles. Everyone is so happy!”
An avid dressage rider, Smith rode and competed her own horse, Galileo (Gali), who she developed from an unbroken 3-year-old to a solid FEI dressage competitor until his recent retirement.
Through the decade long training journey with her own horse, she became keenly aware how a saddle can help or hinder the performance of horse and rider.
“I have worked with Ruth for twelve years now,” shared Smith. “The biggest lesson I’ve learned in that time is that every horse is an individual and you need to be able to adapt your methods to best suit their strengths and particular learning style.”
“Sara Kilguss and Custom Saddlery were a huge piece of Galileo’s and my success,” said Smith, explaining her initial interest in saddle fit.
“Together, they inspired me to pursue saddle fitting and I can only hope to have the same impact on others in the future!”
Horses don’t fit into a particular mold, she has learned, but with attention to detail and persistence, you can almost always find a way to progress.
“This understanding has shaped me in the way I look at horses from a saddle-fitting perspective,” Smith explained. “You really have to listen to the horse and let them dictate the direction you need to go.”
Smith’s patience in the saddle fitting process speaks volumes to her customers.
“Finding the right saddle for the horse and the rider takes time and patience and sometimes, many return trips,” emphasized Ruth. “The thing about Sara is that she continues to look for an advantage for each particular horse and rider. That goes a long way toward finding the right solution.”
Want to reach out to Sara Christensen Smith for a saddle-fitting consultation? Her contact details are below.