Nancy McLean of Stonecrest Equine kindly took the time to answer some questions about her work as a Stübben saddle fitter.
How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Since I keep my horses at home, I find myself working with horses nearly everyday. Saddle fitting for Stübben North America can mean working three days a week or five. It is whatever the “fitter” makes it. Some days I am at shows and other times I am making barn visits. I make my own schedule according to what my clients need/want.
What is it exactly that you do?
I fit Stübben Saddles for the Custom program. I also fit Stübben standard models and used Stübben saddles. I have been trained on how Stübben constructs their saddles, so I feel very confident in my ability to make/suggest corrections or alterations in fit. I fit the horse first, and then the rider.
In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
In this field, whatever effort you put into it, is what you will earn from it. I have a working farm with Thoroughbreds, so my Stübben business is part time some weeks. Other weeks it is a full time endeavor, due to demand. I also use a marketing strategy that has required building a platform and that can take time, but it will pay off in the end.
What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Learn good saddle fitting skills. Apply to Stübben (or another brand). Visit their headquarters as often as possible to learn your Brand and Models, and the particular construction techniques and nuances.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and I do believe in using those learned processes and precepts in all my equine endeavors. It’s a great foundation builder.
Favourite horse memory?
Getting my excercise rider license, in 1999, on my then two year old filly, Pretty Greta. I passed my gallop test because she made me look soooo good! She is still living with me at 17 years old! Love that girl!!
I am always wanting to improve upon the previous year’s sales. My goal is to eventually step up and take on more business and become the “go to” Stübben fitter/representative for my area.
Best thing about your sport/profession?
The horses! I also treasure the flexibility to be able to take care of my own horses and work with Stübben as a fitter. It’s a great combination!
“There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle; one is a sense of humour and the other is patience.” – John Lyons