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“A picture is worth a thousand words”.

Since that is true, moving pictures must be worth a million words! Schleese has simplified the art of “DIY” diagnoses of the most common issues we have encountered over the years with our educational instructional videos that you can watch and follow along with your own horse. . Each of our videos is only a few minutes long and won’t take much of your time to watch (unless of course you become so entranced with what you see that you decide to do a “Schleese marathon” and watch them all!). Easy and clear instructions on how to identify the problems a poorly fitting saddle can cause. AND – here’s the best part! If you decide to book a personal evaluation and every single one of the “9 Points of Saddle Fit” is absolutely correct for your horse – we will refund your entire evaluation fee!

So join the growing ‘herd’ (no pun intended) of riders who have pushed our total YouTube guests close to 1,000,000 and learn for yourself the difference a well-fitting saddle can make for you – and your horse!  We welcome your thoughts and your feedback!

9 Points of Saddle Fit Summary

Tip 1


The center of the saddle (seat area) should be parallel to the ground while on the horse's back.

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Tip 2

Wither Clearance

Clearance at the withers should be 2-3 fingers for normal withers, whereas, mutton withers will have more clearance and high withers will have less clearance.

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Tip 3

Gullet Channel Width

The gullet should be wide enough not to interfere with the spinal processes or musculature of the horse's back (3-5 fingers).

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Tip 4

Full Panel Contact

The panel should touch the horse's back evenly all the way from front to back; some panels may be designed off the back end to allow the back to come up during engagement.

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Tip 5

Billet Alignment

The billets should hang perpendicular to the ground so that the girth is positioned properly and not angled either forwards or backwards.

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Tip 6

Saddle Length

The shoulder and loin areas should not carry any weight of the saddle and rider. Rider weight should be on the saddle support area only.

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Tip 7

Saddle Straightness

The saddle should not fall off to one side when viewed from back or front. The tree points should be behind both scapulae (shoulder blades).

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Tip 8

Saddle Tree Angle

The panel tree points should be parallel to the shoulder angle to position saddle properly.

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Tip 9

Saddle Tree Width

The tree width should be wide enough for saddle to fit during the dynamic movement of the horse.

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Recently my husband purchased me the Obrigado saddle for my short backed thoroughbred mare. Who knew my long thoroughbreds actually had short backs? For nearly two years prior I had been riding her in a saddle which I didn't know fit horribly improperly for her. It was too long and too tight and it put me in a horrible seat. I knew it wasn't great but it wasn't until I met with a coach who pointed out just how bad it was. During that time, I had attributed my mare’s behavior of "running out" from under me and hollowing her back to prance around as simple behavior and "full of piss and vinegar" for the first 10 minutes of every ride. I assumed it was just a habit from her racing days. Once it was pointed out to me that it was actually a pain response to her saddle I felt horrible and sick! Immediately getting rid of the saddle I spent the next few months riding her bareback at a walk (oh those withers!) Waiting for the saddle fitter to come and help us find an alternative. Riding bareback I found I sat right up front directly behind her whither and with my leg falling naturally right behind her leg. A quiet spot that made me feel the most at one with her and that gave me a proper seat. Natalie (the fitter) arrived in the early spring and we tried a number of saddles for my mare. Each time, she'd race around the arena semi in control with me constantly trying to find my way back to "my seat". Poor Natalie probably thought we were terribly suited to each other as we ripped circles and kicked up dust. One speed that was all we had. Finally we put the Obrigado on. I climbed into the saddle and (feeling slightly defeated...and embarrassed) off we went. I could tell something was different immediately at the walk. My mare was happy! She was relaxed! With her head down low and her back much higher she had found her saddle. I asked for a trot and we got one from a content horse. No more short steps and hollowed back. A canter was a canter! Not that semi controlled hand gallop with her trying to get out from under me or the saddle. I had a horse with more gears than simply 1st and 5th. And I love that it keeps me sitting right there up front where I like to be and without the double flap I can't help but forget there's a saddle there at all between me and my horse. Tricksy picked her saddle within moments of it being put on her back with undoubtedly a sigh of gratitude that I could easily feel and my coach could clearly see. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you is all there is to say to the folks who designed this saddle for horses like mine and riders like me.

— Lindsey Horner - Peace River, AB

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