About Claire Fitzmaurice
Claire has always loved horses. As a child she competed many ponies for anybody and everybody that would let her. After starting her eventing career in her late teens, she moved to Belgium to train and compete. Claire also gained valuable experience of top level competitions by groomed on the international 3-day circuit, which included attending the Europeans at Achelswang.
Claire then moved to Germany for the next four years. She gained invaluable experience training with some of Germany’s leading event riders, and competing a wide variety of young horses with a lot of success, including two years riding for Peter Thomsen (team gold medallist Beijing 2008). Some of her many highlights were riding two horses at the Bundeschampionat (German national young horse finals) and grooming at the Atlanta Olympics.
Claire returned to England and its enviable eventing scene. Over the following five years she had the support of an enthusiastic owner and rode up to advanced level. Many successes followed on several different horses.
In 2002 Claire branched out, set up her own yard and started her career as a trainer. She produced and rode many horses and trained riders at all levels, gaining considerable experience of watching and feeling horses’ movement and a thorough understanding of how they move and carry the rider. During her time teaching Claire realised that many of the training issues and poor performance problems that she was enlisted to help with were saddle related as horses where restricted and compromised by the saddles they where ridden in.
Claire became increasingly frustrated because she could not find a suitable saddle to address these issues so she designed her own and Ava Saddles was born. Claire is a trained saddle fitter in flair and flock panels. She has drawn on her extensive horse knowledge and experience to develop a range of flexible horse friendly saddles that also work well for the rider.
Claire has developed Ava into a successful company, designing and fitting the saddles. She believes that a well-fitting saddle is key to horse well-being and performance. Claire brings her experienced eye and passion for horses and their comfort to the job, and enjoys working with clients to find a saddle that really works for them both.
Her jumping is much freer too as she’s able to use her shoulders more effectively with the saddle being made to measure.
Denise & Vicki Jarvis, Falkirk, Scotland
From the first time she had the new saddle on she looked more relaxed and moved more freely. Six months on and she is a different horse.
Judith Warr, Bradford
A year on the difference in Jake is amazing! He is now using himself more effectively ... and my physio has commented on how supple he is in his back
Joyce Greenhorn, Falkirk, Scotland
The saddle is great thanks Claire – Dora is going very willingly in it & you know how sensitive she can be. Love that it can grow with her & be adjusted as she’s already filling out nicely.
Jennifer Stone, Accrington, Lancashire
In May I bought a dressage saddle and I absolutely love it, so we are now a 2 Ava Saddles family and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone else.
Rachel Smith, Preston
Never been so excited about a saddle before -it fits me & my horse perfectly.Its so comfortable to ride in & has improved the horse’s way of going.
Sara Black, North Yorkshire
The air filled panels also allowed my horse to develop more muscle along his top line, and within a month the saddle needed altering to his changed shape. Ava Saddles made the alterations quickly by changing the amount of air in each panel.
Jenny Owst, Otley
Just wanted to let you know how simply awesome the saddle is and how it has transformed our work in the school/competition/jumping!!
Nicki Owen, West Cumbria
Claire is excellent at fitting and you can be confident she will get you & your horse(s) comfortable.
Jenny Stone, Lancashire
Claire has a fantastic eye for detail and is incredibly thorough, I am 100% happy with my Ava saddles! I would recommend Ava to everyone I know.
Emma Littlewood, Leeds
The fitting and aftercare service was like nothing I have ever experienced before, Claire has a fantastic eye for detail and is incredibly thorough, I am 100% happy with my Ava saddles!
Emma Littlewood, Leeds
Can’t thank Ava enough for the help with my boy. Will never go to anyone else, or use another brand! Beyond grateful.