The Equine Fitters Council is an independent and not-for-profit company established by the Worshipful Company of Saddlers and the Worshipful Company of Loriners. The Directors forming the Council bring with them broad professional and equestrian experience, impartiality, and objectivity. The principal function of the council is the administration and operation of the Directory of Equine Fitters.
The Saddlers Company
The Worshipful Company of Saddlers is one of the ancient Livery Companies of the City of London and still retains active links to its historic trade. The Saddlers Company promotes the use of high quality, properly fitted British-made saddlery in the interests of good horsemanship and horse welfare, and the continuation of a thriving British saddlery trade. It is empowered by Royal Charter to act in any matter related to saddlery and saddlery fitting. This privilege, and duty, guided discussions with the equine industry about regulation, and all subsequent activity.The Saddlers Company
The Loriners Company
The Worshipful Company of Loriners was established in 1261 and is still active and relevant today, working to further the interests of those who make and sell bits, buckles, stirrups, and saddle trees. The Loriners Company give to several charitable organisations, including those that support the welfare of the horse through the education of the rider, and those that support the rider through interaction with the horse. Incorporated by a royal charter of 1711, the Loriners Company hold the right and responsibility to act for their trade.The Loriners Company
The foundation of voluntary regulation
The fitting industry is complex and becoming more so with an increasing range of practitioners, products, and training providers. And yet, saddlery and lorinery fit is of vital importance when it comes to ridden and working horse welfare. Without a shared understanding of standards or a central body, it is harder to identify best practice and to make an informed choice.
If you want to train as a Fitter, who do you approach? If you are a paraprofessional looking to refer, how do you know who is trained, and the limitations of that training? How do you know who pursues ongoing learning, and who commits to providing minimum service levels?
If you are a horse owner, where do you begin?
It was into this landscape that the Saddlers and Loriners stepped in 2016, independently of each other but concurrently, to work with their industry partners to address concerns, principally around training and unregulated practice.
Both the Saddle Fitting Steering Group and the Bit & Bridle Fitting Working Party completed a substantial body of work, including drawing up occupational standards and codes of conduct. As both groups came to an impasse in 2019 it was realised, simultaneously, that there would be greater effect by extending the remit of regulation to include all equine fitters. The bilateral discussions between the Loriners and Saddlers lead to the formation, in 2020, of a working group to explore solutions and a regulatory framework for equine fitters.
The two Worshipful Companies have two advantages: they have no vested commercial interests in regulation and they hold the power – and duty – to act on behalf of their industries.
The Council is comprised of Members of the two livery Companies. In time it will expand to include other notable, experienced, and impartial experts.