Fit is Everything - Infinitely Adjustable for Optimal Comfort & Performance!

Our regular monthly blog called the “Saddle Stitch” may include anecdotal experiences of working with clients all over North America at all levels and dealing with all sorts of saddle fit and behavioural issues resulting from poor saddle fit. Additional contributions may include: Ambassador Rider Highlights; certified saddle fitter profiles; rider testimonials; and educational courses that have recently been held.

Saddles and the Luxury Market

December 12th, 2017

Well, another year has almost passed and as we approach 2018, our thoughts turn to how we will grow and improve upon our business model in the New Year. Times are changing rapidly. Consumers are becoming more particular and Millennials are raising the bar in the Luxury Market. What has worked in the past does not guarantee a similar outcome anymore. And since we, here...

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Saddle Fit: An Inconvenient Truth?

November 13th, 2017

Photo by Tamara courtesy of Christiane Noelting Dressage Centre, CA. As horse owners we choose to bring these amazing creatures into our lives with the intention of fulfilling a dream. That dream we all seem to want to fulfill is one of legends that is ages old. We have written poems, songs, and depicted their beauty and majesty in art for hundreds, if not thousands o...

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Saddle Fit and Classical Training

November 7th, 2017

Tina Irwin & ‘Fancy That’ – Photo by Dieter Busse. Horses that are ridden properly (not on the forehand) will greatly reduce the potential for long-term damage – with a soft hand, a soft seat, a soft mouth, and a soft back – yet absolutely uphill, straight, and through the poll without any pulling or kicking. Although of course it shouldn’t...

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Standardization of Saddle Fitting Criteria

October 3rd, 2017

I want to refer to a recent paper appearing in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, which was written by a group of non-scientists who were involved in a study to look at the repeatability of SMS (Society of Master Saddlers) qualified saddle fitters’ observations during static saddle fit.[1] What this means basically, is how much agreement was there between alleg...

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I believe in miracles. My custom made saddle from Schleese Saddlery has transformed my ability to ride horses. I am 55 years old. I was born with spastic cerebral palsy, which affects my entire body. My hips, legs, knees, ankles and feet are severely rotated due to muscle contractions. My spine is no longer straight, my pelvis is tilted and I am unable to sit on both seat bones. My head also tilts to the right. Therapeutic riding is the only form of exercise I am capable of doing. I have ridden horses for 47 years. In 1988 I was told by three orthopedic surgeons that by 1990 I would no longer be walking or riding horses. They also said I would be in a wheelchair 24/7 requiring heavy duty pain killers on a daily basis. Thanks to therapeutic riding none of these predictions came true. In 2007 I began to notice changes in my body. I began experiencing pain while riding and could no longer maintain my balance on a horse. By 2012 I knew I needed professional assistance if I was to continue riding. In an effort to find a solution I contacted Schleese Saddlery. Denise Lenz and Julia Dixon conducted a thorough evaluation of my riding ability. The process involved three horses. My custom made saddle is affectionately known as MSR-Dream Flyer (my initials). It has given me unexpected benefits: - I am able to sit equally on both seat bones - I am able to sit upright in the centre of my saddle - I can move my limbs independently or separately (which was impossible before because of the severity of the spasticity) - I am able to shift my weight and body position when necessary with minimal movement - I do not feel like I am going to fall off - I am in less pain and much more relaxed when riding - I am able to ride sitting trot, which I had not been able to do for eight years! Perhaps the most striking realization is that for the first time in my life, I understand and know what it feels like to have a solid, secure, independent seat. The joy and freedom I feel when riding is not possible when I walk. My custom made MSR-Dream Flyer has given me a second chance to do what I love: ride horses and participate once again in para-dressage competition. Thank you everyone at Schleese Saddlery for this most precious gift!

— Melanie Skey Rodgers, ON

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