QUALIFICATIONS & CERTIFICATIONS
German Trained Saddle Fitter
3 years of apprenticeship to a German Master Saddler
(4,800 hours of instruction)
Bi-yearly continuing education at the Stuebben Kempen facility.
Since 2003, Amanda has attended over a dozen US and UK based saddle fitting courses/schools.
UK Trained Saddle Fitter
Attends yearly training classes held by Qualified and Master Saddlers of the Society of Master Saddlers in England and Scotland.
Stubben Certified Saddle Fitter
FLAIR® Certified Saddle Fitter
Acupuncture Physician & Doctor of Oriental Medicine
Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist
Former Licensed Massage Therapist
USDF Bronze Medalist
In 2001, Amanda started her journey to become a saddle fitter, first by becoming certified in equine anatomy and sports massage and starting her saddle fitting education with Don Doran of Animal Dynamics. To better understand the rider's anatomy and learn how to assess and correct dysfunctions in the body, she became a Licensed Massage Therapist in 2001 and completed her graduate degree in 2007 as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Licensed Acupuncture Physician.
From 2003 - 2005, she apprenticed with a classical German saddler in Berlin, and continues her saddle fitting education with regular trips to the UK and Germany to work with SMS Master Saddlers and Qualified Saddle Fitters. In 2013 alone, she completed a saddle fitting & repairs course held by Society of Master Saddlers' Master Saddlers Phillip & Karen Howard of Scotland, attended an intensive Stubben saddle fitting course, and finished the year studying FLAIR® saddle fitting and WOW™ saddles. In 2014, she began the year learning with SMS Qualified Saddle Fitter and inventor of FLAIR® and WOW™ saddles, David Kempsell of First Thought Equine, Ltd. In January and February of 2017, and again in November and December of 2018, Amanda studied at the Stubben Research & Development Factory in Kempen, Germany.
Amanda has trained on or worked with fitters and companies for Passier, Euroriding, WOW™, Kieffer, Hennig, Courbette, Stubben, Cardanel, Schleese, Prestige, County, and Laser.
AMANDA ANDERSON: HER STORY
Amanda started riding at the age of 4. By her 21st birthday, she had played polo, fox-hunted, show-jumped, team-penned (secretly on her dressage horse, which got her grounded), and had fallen in love with dressage and was steadily climbing the levels on her Selle Francais mare, Giselle.
Giselle, a talented 5 year old, came to Amanda in 1999, and the journey to find her the right saddle was the impetus that made her become a saddle fitter. Amanda knew that her current off-the-shelf dressage saddle wasn't going to work on the gangly youngster, so she began looking for the "perfect" saddle. The search proved elusive, as US saddle fitters were in short supply those days, and actual fitting knowledge even more so.
Amanda bought a dozen saddles in just a few years, traveled hours to various "fitters", and learned through experience how a poorly fitted saddles affect a horse's back and movement. She knew there had to be an easier way, but most riders at that time were experiencing the same problems.
Frustrated, Amanda began by attending a week-long saddle fitting class in Florida, which gave her a taste of how saddles should fit. She was encouraged by her parents to put college on hold and study saddle fitting overseas.
The first year in Germany concentrated on saddle repair and building, learning how saddles are constructed, and how to repair faulty parts. After proving she could build a respectable saddle, she was allowed to go into the field and learn the art of fitting and flocking.
Over the next two years, her Master showed her every aspect of how to flock a saddle to fit horse and rider asymmetries, how to keep a saddle centered, and how brands fit horses differently. She learned to properly fit a range of horses, from high withered Thoroughbred types to broader English cobs. She learned how to fit over a dozen brands of saddles, and the different characteristics of each brand and trees.
Once she was released from her apprenticeship, she learned how to recognize and treat rider dysfunction by earning her Masters of Science in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine.
Amanda is a full-time independent saddle fitter, and designs, fits, and repairs custom saddles for Stubben. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys a variety of horse sports such as polocrosse, dressage, show jumping, trail riding, and eventing, and is currently working on a training manual for saddle fitters. She resides in the beautiful town of Southern Pines, North Carolina.