Panther Run Saddlery is based in the small town of Sandgate, VT, and is owned and run by yours truly, Kitt Hazelton. I was born on a small horse farm about 15 miles from my present location, and am entering my second half-century of life in the horse world. I started riding western (well, technically, I started riding bareback – I never used a saddle much until I was well into my teens), and became hooked on dressage in the early 1980s, when I was lucky enough to ride extensively with the wonderful Sally Swift, the originator of Centered Riding®. In the early 1990s, I spent 3 years in Los Angeles, CA, working as an assistant trainer and instructor at Linda Mason Training Stable, and starting green horses in the dressage show ring. When I moved back to Vermont in 1993, I continued to teach and train professionally until about 1998, when I started working for Edie Tschorn at Trumbull Mtn. Tack Shop, Inc. That was the beginning of my life as a professional saddle fitter, and I found that my “former life” as a trainer and instructor was a huge help, and gave me a lot of insight into the horse/rider/saddle relationship. I’ve been very lucky to have worked with and learned from some great fitters over the years – Nancy Shedrick (http://www.mysaddle.com/MYSADD~3/NancyShedrick.html), Mike Scott (www.saddleguy.com) and Patty Barnett (www.eastcrowsaddlery.com) – and now am an Associate Member of the Society of Master Saddlers (www.mastersaddlers.co.uk).
I started Panther Run Saddlery, LLC, in 2013. My focus is to continue the tradition to which Edie and the original Trumbull Mountain Tack were dedicated: to find the right saddle for the horse and rider team, whatever their discipline or fitting challenges. I specialize in fitting saddles long-distance through the use of templates and photos, and I work locally, doing hands-on fitting in the VT/MA/upstate NY/western NH area. I’ve also started traveling more widely to give 2-day fitting clinics aimed at prepping people for further saddle fitting education (like Mike Scott’s course), as well as to give the average horseperson a good basic understanding of saddle fitting.
In addition to my saddle fitting and horse-related work, I’m a dedicated martial artist (3rd. stripe brown in Koro Ken Karatedo), an amateur photographer, an avid gardener / cook / foodie, and a mad blogger (http://www.saddlefitter.blogspot.com/).