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Optimum Performance Saddles Ltd

About Us

Elly Pitts (BSc Hons DIP MSFC)

Elly was very fortunate to have been chosen to work alongside Nathaniel Underwood, she shadowed Nathaniel full time until his recent retirement and received arguably the best tuition on saddle fitting and repair available in the country.

As a horse owner herself, Elly understands that all owners need to consider input from vets, trainers, physiotherapists, saddlers, and rider influence in providing our horses with the best possible environment in order to maximise performance and alleviate any potential problems.
From her education in equestrianism, Elly had experienced first-hand the dramatic influence the fitting of a correct saddle can have on both horse and rider. She realised that her ultimate aim was to become a top class saddler. In order to fulfill this aim Elly has been working and training alongside Nathaniel full time. She is a qualified Master Saddle fitting Consultant and also holds the Society of Master Saddlers Flocking qualification.

Elly is from Exeter, Devon. Elly’s mother has bred some top class show and event horses, so Elly grew up immersed in this equestrian environment, developing a passion for the welfare and performance of horses. In her late teens, Elly worked as an event groom at international 4 star level alongside some of the industry’s top professionals and thus achieved a thorough understanding of the array of skills involved in providing each horse with an individual all round care programme essential for the attainment of its full potential.
Elly then went on to gain a First Class Honours Degree in Equine and Agricultural Business Management at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester. This took her to America and Europe to further her education at some of the best equestrian education centres in the world, such as the Cadre Noir at the National School of Equitation in Saumur, France and the Kentucky Equine Research Centre in America.

Nathaniel Underwood (now retiered from saddle fitting)

Nathaniel Underwood is recognised as one of the most experienced saddle fitters working in the UK today. His skills in the field of saddlery are exceptional in that he is both a horseman and a master craftsman. From an early age Nathaniel has felt an empathy with horses and has dedicated his working life to making and fitting saddles and creating innovative designs which help to minimise the inevitable restrictions that a rider and saddle can cause for a horse.
Nathaniel is a past president of the Society of Master Saddlers and served for over 10 years on their Executive Committee. It was during Nathaniel's term as president that the Society of Master Saddlers instituted the Qualified Saddle Fitters Certificate and Nathaniel has been a Lecturer and Course Leader for this qualification for many years. He is also a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers through Redemption of the Trade.
Following the sale of his retail business in 2004, Nathaniel has been concentrating on his work as a remedial saddler both based at his premises in Somerset and throughout the Westcountry. He sees many horses through referrals from vets, chartered physiotherapists and chiropractors. Often these are horses with long term or ongoing problems which other saddle fitters have not been able to solve. These horses need owners, health professionals, trainers and a saddler who will work together to maximise their performance and maintain their welfare. Although Nathaniel has worked with some of the most experienced riders in the country to fit saddles for top international competition horses he finds it just as satisfying to improve the comfort of a beloved family friend.