To meet today’s high standards of fit for both horse and rider, Martin Wilkinson Saddlers provides a second to none saddle fitting service for all
types of horse and pony. We adhere strictly to Society of Master Saddlers guidelines and protocols, always templating your horse at every visit
and keeping those records for several years. You can be assured that the saddles we offer you will be the best for you and your horse both in
terms of design and value for money.
On booking your visit from one of our saddle fitters we will take comprehensive details of both you and your horse so that the van is stocked with the most suitable saddles for you to try. It may be when we visit you, that we find your horse is an unusual shape and in that case we will order a customised saddle for you.
We also provide a saddle checking service, mainly for those customers who have bought a saddle from us in the past, and as our saddle fitters are all also fully qualified Master Saddlers you can be assured that they can alter your saddle on site where appropriate. Larger jobs such as a total reflock will be taken in to the workshop where tools and facilities are more appropriate.
We also stock a wide range of accessories such as Numnahs, bridles, stirrup leathers, stirrup irons, and our qualified staff are always on hand to advise so that you make the best choice.
Martin Wilkinson Saddlers are also qualified fitters for Fairfax bridles and girths.
Here at Martin Wilkinson Saddlers we are not tied to any particular saddle manufacturer so we can stock those saddles which we think can offer our customers the best in value for money design and fit. We are agents for a wide range of saddle makes (see below) so should be able to find a saddle to fit even the most difficult of horses.
We also stock a small range of quality second hand saddles.
To arrange a fitting visit please phone the shop (01727 821020) or email [email protected] Jenny our diary manager will take down all your details and requirements and will call you back when a fitting or check can be arranged. To be as economical as possible we try to arrange visits in the same area and in a logical sequence to reduce mileage and emissions. Once the day is arranged Jenny will call you again nearer the time to let you know the time of the saddle fitters’ visit.
Please have your horse ready, clean and dry with a bridle on. You - or te horse's handler - should be correctly dressed to handle the horse and ride if necessary. While we like to assist customers as much as possible please be aware that it will not be possible to fit in extra horses once an appointment has been made – we try our hardest to adhere to the times given to our clients, traffic permitting, however, if our fitters are presented with extra horses, this means that other clients times will be delayed.
By Rosemary on Tuesday, the 1st of May, 2018
So, first time out today. I have had lots of saddle issues, which has caused some tension in harvey, and due to my back injury I am struggling. In last ditch attempt and being so totally confused by various differing advice from other saddlers, after a bio mechanics session I felt I needed to return to Martin Wilkinson. Martin spent ages with me, listening about my back issues, what my osteopath thought, what Russell guire from bio mechanics had said, and fitted harvey with a very nice new dressage saddle. Straight away I felt like I sat better and took more weight into my right leg. Something I struggle with. The back lady who sees harvey has noticed how he compensates. Last year my scores were 36/37 ish. Today at Aston we scored 28 and there is more to come. Followed by a double clear in my Martin Wilkinson fitted jump saddle.Thank you to all of you that has helped me.
Well, events overtook the blog and last Wednesday (25th April) Tracey took Harvey to Aston le Walls with a fantastic result!! In her own words, this is what she wrote on Facebook:
'So, first time out today. I have had lots of saddle issues, which has caused some tension in Harvey, and due to my back injury I am struggling. In last ditch attempt and being so totally confused by various differing advice from other saddlers, after a bio mechanics session I felt I needed to return to Martin Wilkinson. Martin spent ages with me, listening about my back issues, what my osteopath thought, what Russell Guire from bio mechanics had said, and fitted Harvey with a very nice new dressage saddle. Straight away I felt like I sat better and took more weight into my right leg. Something I struggle with. The back lady who sees Harvey has noticed how he compensates. Last year my scores were 36/37 ish. Today at Aston we scored 28 and there is more to come. Followed by a double clear in my Martin Wilkinson fitted jump saddle. Thank you to all of you that has helped me.'
We are more than thrilled for Tracey and Harvey and so pleased and proud to be part of this amazing turnaround.
So what happened when Martin visited Tracey? Tracey had been riding Harvey when Martin got there and so he first of all examined Harvey's back once the saddle had been removed. What he noticed was that Harvey had some areas of 'ruffled' hair just behind his withers and Martin explained to Tracey that this will have been caused by the saddle running forwards. So why do saddles run forwards on Harvey? Well Martin explained Harvey has a flattish back with a good lift when he works (ie his back will get flatter as he lifts his muscles to work) which means that if the saddle is not a good fit, it will shift as he moves. This 'running forwards' could well have been the cause of Harvey throwing Tracey when he was being broken and also his then reluctance to move forwards as it is most uncomfortable for a horse to have its hair brushed in the wrong direction.
He examined her other saddles on Harvey and explained that the problem with them all was that there was not enough height in the panel at the back. This meant that Tracey was not in balance and was sitting further to the back of the saddle than she should which again could contribute to Harvey not wanting to move forwards freely and would also cause the saddles to move forwards.
But, a confused Tracey said, the other saddle fitter said that an Albion tree would be suitable for Harvey, are you telling me now that it would not? Well Martin said there is sure to be an Albion tree which is suitable for Harvey, but the problem is that Albion, like most top manufacturers of saddles. make dozens of different shapes of tree. Also their saddles have a range of adjustments - high head, low head, different sizes of gusset in the back of the panel, short flap, long flap - all sorts of adjustments to suit different shapes and sizes of horses and rider. Buying off the internet is never advisable as the seller is unlikely to know the detail of the saddle design and it takes a fully qualified Albion fitter to recognise the exact detail of the saddle so the saddle fitter who made the blanket statement that 'an Albion tree would suit your horse, was correct in one sense but which tree??? And clearly he or she was not familiar with the Albion range and therefore not qualified to advise anyone.
Martin's length and breadth of experience and expertise enabled him to find a few saddles which would suit Harvey, one of which was an Albion SLK which he went well in but the difference when he tried the Fairfax Gareth was extraordinary - so much so that Tracey was nearly in tears! Martin Wilkinson Saddlers deliberately are not tied to any one make of saddle so that we can give customers the best advice on what saddle will suit them and their horse and we constantly keep up to date with advances in saddle design and manufacture - often advising the saddle manufactures on how their saddles fit and what type of horse they suit best.
Tracey's problem was budget - and she tried to do the best for her horse on a limited budget which is not unusual. We try to do the same - to advise customers on the best solution within their budget, but sometimes the budget has to be stretched to do the best for the horse. It is our experience that often its a false economy to buy a cheap saddle and hope for the best!
There is nothing more important as a professional rider than being close to your horse and for me riding in an Albion Revelation gives me an ideal feel; but it’s not only the saddle itself - the fitting of the saddle is as important as the equipment itself.
I have worked with Martin for so many years I have lost count, he has a wealth of knowledge and knows exactly what to do to fix any issues I have ever had. He understands precisely what I am saying when I describe the feeling I have and can turn that into practical action.
Martin and his team are responsive and efficient with high standards of workmanship, I wouldn’t use anyone else to support my team at Bayford Hall Farm.
I just wanted to say a massive thank you to yourself, Martin and the whole team at the saddlery. It was a fantastic day thoroughly enjoyed by everyone!
I believe It is so important to us as future vets to have an understanding of how our two professions can work together and we are very grateful to Martin for his role in promoting this.
Martin Wilkinson has been my saddler of choice for many years now and I always find him and his staff very helpful. He is professional and makes excellent suggestions of saddle choice which have improved the way my horses have moved. In recent years, I have used his saddles on horses that I have been riding for owners. I only ride on the flat and compete in riding club and affiliated dressage competitions and my results have improved since using the saddles that Martin has fitted. I have started riding a new horse since May 2017 and competed him for the first time on 15th July 2017 in the Riding Club Area Dressage qualifiers using a newly fitted Kieffer saddle and Fairfax girth. To say the horse's way of going improved is a massive understatement! We competed in 2 classes, finished 3rd in the first class and 6th in the second and ended up qualifying for the Nationals - his owner and I are delighted!
I've been using Martin Wilkinson saddlers for over 8 years now for a range of horses - ranging from my previous event horse, dressage horses and my daughter's ponies. The service has always been excellent and I've always been happy with the selection of saddles available. After a poor experience with a previous saddler, I am confident that Martin always puts the best interest of the horse first and that the saddles he fits are the most suited to them and the rider. We currently have 2 horses and 2 ponies, all of whom wear saddles purchased through Martin Wilkinson ranging from Albion, Prestige, Equipe and Kent and Masters.
My current competition horse, Jenson, who competes British Dressage and British Show jumping has an Albion Kontact Lite jump saddle (purchased as new) and an Albion SLK dressage saddle (purchased second hand) both of which fit him perfectly and he goes extremely well in them.
My daughter's latest pony, Lucky, was an extremely difficult pony to fit as she is rather broad shouldered, was a bit overweight when we got her and my daughter rather petite! She is going very well in her Kent and Masters GP - which is fully adjustable, meaning that when the saddle was last checked we were able to reduce the width once she had lost some weight, with no fuss and minimal cost.
Martin and his team have always provided me with friendly, reliable and prompt service, from fitting saddles, crafting bespoke items and making superb alterations that are far better quality and speed than the manufacturer themselves. My saddles are checked regularly by Martin and I have complete trust and confidence in the service him and the whole team provide.
My highest priority is the well being of my horses, integral to this is their comfort whilst they are training. I place huge importance on looking after their muscoskeletal system, including ensuring that all horses have an appropriate saddle fitted professionally and maintained on a regular basis to the highest standard.
Martin Wilkinson has provided such a service to us for nearly 20 years, taking care of all our saddlery needs. Providing and fitting the best saddles currently on the market to us, always keeping himself informed of new research and development within the industry so that we have access to the leading products available. Martin checks the saddles of our competition horses every six months, adjusting and maintaining where necessary, anything from re-flocking, adjusting a tree to mending a broken bridle.
This support is vital to the ongoing health of our horses and I believe fundamentally important to allowing our horses to perform to their true potential.
saddles in stock
years of service