A course offering the first bit-fitting qualification to the horse world is to finish this month.

The Neue Schule Academy developed the course, certified by nationally recognised body Lantra, to focus on the correct bit and bridle fit for both horse and rider.

“It is widely acknowledged that correctly fitting tack has a positive effect on horse performance, health and welfare,” said a spokesman for the Neue Schule Academy.

“Yet, although the importance of a well-fitting saddle is understood and appreciated, the fit of bridles and bits has been largely overlooked.”

The course, which is brand-independent, has four modules, including online work and practical sessions. It covers bitting materials, scientific principles of the relationship between horses and bits, as well as bit design, safety and biosecurity.

“Bridles and bits play a crucial role in ridden work and it is imperative that they fit correctly and comfortably,” said Academy bitting specialist Heather Hyde.

“An increasing number of riders have come to realise the need for professional bit fitters but, unlike saddle fitters, the role and training of this skilled practitioner has never been fully defined. The Neue Schule Academy Bit & Bridle Fitting course has been created to address this, offering high-quality education based on sound science for those who wish to undertake the bit fitting role.”

On graduation, students will have a “thorough understanding of bits and bitting, and the science behind it”.

“They will have developed their knowledge of equine anatomy and be able to offer a comprehensive bitting service, making recommendations that will impact on performance and comfort, fit bits and assess bridle fit,” the spokesman said.

“Those successful in completing the course will receive a Lantra certificate and official recognition as a fully qualified bit fitter by Neue Schule.

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The course started in September and will finish this month. Students include equine dental technicians, coaches, behaviourists, saddle fitters and those who already work in bitting but were seeking a recognised qualification in the subject.

“But prospective students do not need to be working in these areas to be accepted on to the course,” the spokesman said. “Those with a passion for promoting horse welfare and a desire to improve the equine/rider relationship will also be considered.”

For more information on the course, visit the academy website

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