Eleanor Whitehead Professional Saddler Fitter

“Saddle fitting is one of the most important aspects to get right in any equine partnership.”

- Eleanor

With nearly a decade of experience as an Certified Saddle Fitter, Eleanor works with an unbiased, non-brand specific approach to saddle fitting.

Equi-Fit’s practice is based around the core value, that saddle fit is one of the most important aspects to get right in any equine partnership. Correct fit of the saddle, for both horse and rider, is paramount to ensure both the horse and rider are comfortable in their work. Ultimately saddle fit is vital to how successful the partnership will be, in any given discipline.

Equi-Fit: Training and Certification

Having been involved with horses from childhood and through most of her working career, Eleanor has a vast knowledge and experience across many equine sectors. Although retired from competition herself, she still enjoys the pleasures of owning and riding her own horses. Having had saddle fitting issues of her own, Eleanor sought out professional training, learning to love the art of saddle fitting. In 2013 she flew to the United States, and over the course of a year, studied and gained her Certification in Saddle Fitting, under the guidance of Mike Scott, (Master Saddlers Association Certified Saddle Fitter and Equine Massage Therapist with over 30 years’ experience). Whilst there, Eleanor trained in all aspects of the field, from gait analysis and equine anatomy, through to practical assessment of tack, both statically and dynamically, concentrating on the form, function, and maintenance of the saddle itself.

The course included 250 hours of course and practical time, which was completed both under Mike’s personal guidance in the U.S. and extramurally with work here in N.Z.

  • Case studies looking at specific problems – both common and unusual.

  • Analysing movement of the horse, be it naturally because of conformational issues or due to impairment from an alternative source.

  • Saddle fit measurements for custom made saddles or adjustment of current ones.

  • Assessing rider position and reactions.

  • Practical hours on saddlery construction and maintenance.

  • Voluntary work with various branches of the Riding for the Disabled.

Eleanor fitting saddles
Katja Spooner - Saddle Fitter

Equi-Fit’s North and West Auckland Saddle Fitter

Katja Spooner is originally from Germany and has been living in New Zealand for over 10 years with her Kiwi husband.  In 2014, she qualified as an NZQA horse riding coach at Kyrewood Equestrian Centre in Palmerston North.  Katja has a working background in many different aspects of the horse industry (from horse racing, to trekking and riding schools).  Early in 2023 she began to train with Eleanor to become a saddle fitter, which works in very well with her existing knowledge.  At the end of her 9 months initial training, Katja joined the Equi-Fit team and is now on the road to gaining her Qualified Saddle Fitters UK qualification. 

She covers Equi-Fit’s fitting areas of West and North Auckland.  Along side Katja’s saddle fitting she is also the Equine Manager at her local RDA at Ambury Park Centre in Mangere Bridge.  Even in her spare time, she can not get away from horses and competes her mare in dressage.

"Eleanor has successfully completed the English Saddle Fitting and Flocking Course in Camden SC USA. Her dedication to clients and details have given her passing grades of the highest level. Having completed all of the requirements successfully and in the highest regard, Eleanor will no doubt be an asset to the equine community in New Zealand."

Mike Scott

Master Saddlers Association Certified Saddle Fitter