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Profile On: Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
The awesome thing about this question is there is rarely a day that goes by let alone a week that isn’t related to horses in one way or another. I can be on the road working as a Certified Saddle fit Technician for Schleese Saddlery from early mornings till late at night.  Still somehow I end up at the barn where I board my horse even if it is just for a quick brush or ride.

Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

I am also a Registered Equine Massage Therapist.  When I am not fitting saddles or with my own horse, I might just be found at another barn treating a horse.

What is it exactly that you do?
Being a Certified Saddle Fit Technician, my role is creating the optimal saddle fit for horse and also rider. So there are certain territories that I travel along with a client success manager.  In Ontario I take on both those roles. I am responsible for booking all my appointments in Ontario and servicing the saddles.  Some are refitting existing saddles or helping new clients find the right saddle for their horse(s) and themselves. I spend most of my time on the road travelling from barn to barn.  I also work trade shows and do lectures in barns. The lectures are on the areas where a saddle should sit and also where it needs to stay clear from to allow for optimal long term riding to prevent any long term damage.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
This has most definitely become my full time profession. I would say “yes” you can earn a liveable income.  It is just like anything, the more you put in well of course you can see the more comes out!  My response to this question as it is the same for Alexa and myself, is the same answer.

Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Saddlefit4Life is a non-profit organization that provides education and certification in the assessment of saddle fit for horse and rider. I encourage anyone interested in assessing and fitting saddles to research Saddlefit4Life, the fitting philosophy, and upcoming courses and events.

Saddlefit4Life offers a range of educational opportunities.  This is from introductory seminars to intensive courses for those interested in learning more about pain free saddle fit.

Favourite horse memory?
When the Obrigado model came out and I was able to take it for a test ride.  I can’t really put into words what the feeling was like, I will try though… It is like that feeling when you just become one with your horse. With the shorter pommel sitting over the horse’s strongest point of their back lets you feel like you can lift them up so lightly with every stride and just float.

I feel blessed to have a technical feeling when it comes to saddle fit. Horses can feel a fly land on their skin.  So when I can make what might feel like a small adjustment, to them it feels so big. I have such a large box of great memories.  Especially during every saddle fit appointment when you can see that horse moves more free, taking that bigger stride, and the rider saying the “shoulders feel so much freer” just makes my day!

Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

Future goals?
I am always looking for ways to better myself and learn ways to help horses. My goals are to help as many people suffering with lower back pain, something I have had in the past.  Knowing what I know about how saddles can help with that, drives me to help anyone that has maybe stopped ridding and could possibly ride again. Which in turn follows our saddle fit 4 life in protecting as many horses and riders from long term damage as possible 🙂

Best thing about your sport/profession?
Working with the horses and people I get to. Most people may think “horse people” are sort of their own breed.  They may not be far off, but I wouldn’t change for a minute to people I have met over the years.  And seeing their horses change in positive ways over the years.

Every time I measure a horse and get to go over the numbers with the owner is such an added bonus. Most times it shows how well the owner has ridden the horse.  And how positive the changes are and with that is its weight in gold. The smile on their faces, knowing how well all their hard work has paid off is just an awesome feeling.  I am so lucky I get to share that with them.

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