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SMS Bridle and Bit Fitting course

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SMS Bridle and Bit Fitting course

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The ‘ACPAT Bridle Fitting’ day is being run by the Society of Master Saddlers Bridle Fitting team at Moulton College, Northampton on 15th February 2023.


The day will begin in the classroom with a theory session with Dr Jane Nixon, M.A., Vet M.B., BSc., MRCVS.  Jane will discuss the horses head from a veterinarians perspective and will be followed by Catherine Baker, SMS Master Saddler & Bridle Maker and Qualified Bridle Fitter, who will discuss the horses head from a bridle fitters perspective.


Learning will continue throughout the rest of the day with practical sessions which include –


• assessing the head and mouth for bridle and bit fit


• fitting bits, discussing their actions and influence upon the bridle and the horse


• fitting of specialist, anatomical and double bridles


• fitting and discussing the influence of various nosebands and bridle accessories upon the horse

8.45am ​Registration & Introductions ​​​​​​Classroom

9am​​The Horses Head – A Veterinary Perspective​​Dr Jane Nixon​Classroom

10.15am​The Horses Head – A Bridle Fitters Perspective​CB​​Classroom

11.30am​Break - Delegates split into 3 groups

11.45am​Round Robin – 3 stations​​​​CB/FR/EW​Indoor school

​1pm​​Lunch ​​

2pm ​​Round Robin – 3 stations​​​​CB/FR/EW​Indoor school

3.15pm​Round Robin – 3 stations​​​​CB/FR/EW​Indoor school

4.30pm​Q&A & Feedback 

5pm​​Course Ends

Theory sessions​- 1hr + 15 min Q&A each
The Horse's Head - a Veterinarian's Perspective

The Horse’s Head – a Bridle Fitters Perspective – Anatomy/good fit element of BETA talk                     

Round Robin​​- 1hr 15 min each
Delegates split into groups which circulate around the following stations -

Bit Fitting & Action​(1 horse & skulls)

Head & mouth assessment

Correct bit fit & influence upon bridle

Discussion of bitting actions


Double Bridle & Specialist     (1 horse)                        
Fit & discuss specialist bridles 

Fit & discuss double bridles
Fit & discuss doubles bridle bits inc. curb chains & lip straps

Nosebands & Accessories​(1 horse & horse head)
Fit selection of nosebands
Influence of nosebands

Fit accessories & discuss influence upon bit/bridle




Dr Jane Nixon, M.A., Vet M.B., BSc., MRCVS.  

Equine vet Jane Nixon has a wealth of knowledge in most areas of equine veterinary practice gained over the last 40 years, enhanced by her late husband Stewart Hastie’s 30+ years experiencegained in advance of Jane’s. 

Jane has held several prestigious equine industry consultancy appointments & chairmanships including leading vet for the British Breeding Futurity (2001-2022) and director of the British Equestrian Federation(BEF) for 8 years until 2020.  She is currently the chair of the British Horse Foundation (BHF) & The Showing Council as well as being the veterinary consultant for The Society of Master Saddlers and Sports Horse Breeding GB (SHBGB) of which she is now President Elect.

Jane was awarded the British Equestrian Medal of Honour by the BEF in 2022. 

Mrs Frances Roche, MVO  

Frances is an SMS Qualified Bridle Fitter, Master Bridle and Harness Maker.  She has been in the trade for over 40 years working for over 25 of those as Master Saddler at the Royal Mews until earlier this year.  Alongside her role at the Royal Mews Frances has run her own business for a number of years specialising in making and fitting bespoke bridles as well as offering one to one training in her own workshop in Henley On Thames. 

Frances sits on the SMS executive committee and is Past President of the Society.  She the SMS Bridle Fitting Course Leader and was instrumental in developing the SMS City & Guilds Bridle Fitting qualification.  She is also a City &Guilds assessor for Bridle Fitting, Saddlery Skills Tests andLeather Craftsperson qualifications.


Catherine Baker, SMS Junior Vice President 

Catherine is an SMS Registered Qualified Saddle and Bridle Fitter and an SMS Master Saddler and Master Bridle Maker.  She is also a LANTRA Accredited Horse Bit Fit Advanced and a NS Academy Qualified & LANTRA Certified Bit & Bridle Fitting Consultant

Catherine has worked in the equine industry for over 30 years and has sat on the Executive Committee for the Society of Master Saddlers since 2017.  She is a bridle fitting lecturer and assessor for the SMS specialising in bits and bitting and has lectured for other equestrian governing bodies including BHS, BD, BRC & PC etc.

Catherine is passionate about maintaining and improving ridden horse welfare and through the SMS has worked with RCVS, Horse Trust and Redwings to help educate vets, saddlery fitters and riders.  


Emily White

Emily is an SMS Registered Qualified Saddle and Bridle Fitter and an SMS Master Saddler, Harness and Bridle Maker.  She worked as an apprentice for Cirencester Saddlers, before qualifying and becoming a Master.  She now runs her own saddlery business and is Mum to three young children.

Emily is a very knowledgeable, highly skilled saddler and fitter and is has previously sat on the executive committee.  She is part of the SMS Bridle Fitting team, lecturing and assessing for the City & Guilds Bridle Fitting qualification.

Postcode: NN3 7RR 




West Street,
NN3 7RR 

Direct phone

01604 491131

Opening hours





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Please find a list of tickets for this event below.

Advance booking is available from 29 November 2022 until 30 January 2023.

Late booking is available from 2 January 2023 until 14 February 2023.

Ticket Advance booking Late booking
Any member £200.00 £220.00
Any non-member £275.00 £290.00

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