Julia’s passion for horses started at a very young age and once she turned 5 years old, she was finally allowed to participate in lead-line pony rides at the local stables, where her dad spent countless Sunday mornings leading her around the trails in southern Germany. As soon as she turned 6 and was old, tall and strong enough to ride without lead-line, her parents enrolled her in riding lessons. From this moment on, Julia fully immersed herself in the horse world, quickly spending every day at the barn with the horses. As her riding progressed, she discovered her interest in classical dressage as well as jumping and completed her Reitabzeichen (German equivalent to rider levels).
Julia’s family immigrated to Canada when she was 15 years of age and even before the moving boxes were unpacked, Julia had found a local barn to continue riding. She spent several years showing in the Hunter/ Jumper ring, leasing horses, working at the farm doing chores, teaching children and adult riding lessons and leading the children’s summer camp at the facility.
Upon graduating high school, Julia was certain she wanted to turn her love and passion for horses into a career and enrolled in the University of Guelph’s Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management program, majoring in Equine Management. Throughout University, Julia moved the Trakehner mare she had purchased to an Eventing facility, as this sport combined her passion for dressage with jumping. Furthermore, she took weekly lessons with Ute Busse to further her dressage experience.
Following the completion of a research project she participated in for her undergraduate degree at the University in collaboration with Schleese Saddlery Service (resulted in a published research paper titled ”Investigation into thoracic asymmetry in ridden horses”), Julia completed an internship with Schleese Saddlery, working in the office assisting with Clinic Coordinating, as well as traveling with saddle fitters as an assistant. Following her graduation from the University of Guelph, Julia returned to Schleese Saddlery Service full-time.
Julia always says “Throughout my undergraduate degree, I developed a passion for science and began to appreciate the importance of finding evidence-based approaches when talking about equine welfare, housing, nutrition, training, and tack fitting. What I love most about Schleese Saddlery is that their values perfectly align with mine; they deeply care about the horse’s welfare and through scientific research and application, produce a product that allows horse and rider to enjoy their time in the saddle together comfortably and sustainably. Riding is not natural and as riders, we must do our best to protect our horses from the irreparable damage that can result from ill-fitting tack”