In Memory of Melanie Rodgers

“My name is Melanie Rodgers, I have been riding for 52 years and I have been connected to Schleese Saddlery since 1993.
Schleese Saddlery has made it possible for me to have a riding career due to Jochen Schleese and his staffs’ expertise in the industry.
“On the horse, it is like being on a flying carpet. I am free, I am in less pain, and my body moves with the horse

Melanie Rogers - In Memoriam

“I have been unfortunate with my disability, which is cerebral palsy. It affects my entire body and all four limbs, as well as severe brain damage, learning disabilities, dyslexia, and ADHD. I can not emphasize enough how important riding has been to me. On the ground I am unable to walk, or move, or even sit without a great deal of pain and difficulty. On the horse, it is like being on a flying carpet. I am free, I am in less pain, and my body moves with the horse, not against it. My balance and coordination, and ability to actually physically ride is something that is extraordinary. 

When I began riding I had two side walkers and a chair, and I could not even sit up in the saddle at all. I was on a lunge line for 3 years before they even dared to let me off, but I was insistent in knowing that riding was the key to keeping my mobility and keeping my independence. I fought and fought for 53 years to keep moving. I have walked 33 years longer and ridden horses 33 years longer than the doctors told me I would be able to. This is solely because of three things. WindReach Farm and their incredible facility and program, Schleese Saddlery Service, who are responsible for giving me the best gift possible (without Jochen and his teams’ expertise in design, I would not be able to ride at all) and my wonderful horse.

Since 1993, Schleese has built 4 saddles for me that have helped accommodate my cerebral palsy and my muscles. If it wasn’t for Jochen and his wonderful teams’ dedication and willingness to work and find solutions, I would not have been in a position to compete my horse successfully nor ride independently outside and inside an arena. I have been a successful competitor since the age of 12, I’m now 63. My riding has saved my life. It is what I live for, and Schleese Saddlery Service, WindReach Farm and my horse are the three things that have kept my life together, kept me motivated, happy, content, and willing to do anything!

I am extremely grateful with all my heart to everyone for everything that they have done and every part that they played in my life!”

Melanie Rodgers

A note from Schleese - Ontario, Canada
It has been an honour for all of us at Schleese to play such a significant role in Melanie's life.

The challenge of building her custom saddles that have helped enrich her life and allowed her to do what she love, was an absolute blessing for us. We were thrilled to be part of Melanie’s journey and be able to provide her the tool that would allow her to do what she loved despite the challenges she faced.

As a token of our fondness for Melanie and everything she stood for, we are proud to announce that in her honour we will be giving away one of our Virtual Custom Fit System saddles to a deserving Therapeutic Riding Centre or Therapeutic Trainer. In addition, as Melanie has donated her saddles to the farm that played such an important role in her life, we will also sponsor the fitting of them to a deserving horse and rider combo in her memory at WindReach Farm.

Melanie was a woman of dedication and perseverance and will always be remembered for it. We will miss you dearly Melanie.

In loving memory,
Melanie Rodgers

Easter Lily - AdobeStock_71994817 - Trans Bkgrd

Schleese Bursary in Honour of Melanie Rodgers

Schleese is proud to announce their first annual Bursary, and this year’s Bursary is for a Virtual Custom Fit System Saddle to a deserving Therapeutic Riding Centre or Therapeutic Trainer in honour of the late Melanie Rodgers. Schleese is thrilled to be able to offer this in their continued quest to help horses and riders ride pain free! 

Melanie Rodgers – Champion

Schleese will be opening applications December 20, 2021. Applicants can apply with a short essay on why they should be selected.  The lucky recipient of the Bursary of a Virtual Custom Fit System saddle of their choice valued at $8,000 will be announced on March 30, 2022!

WindReach Farm – Melanie’s favourite Fjords

Melanie Rogers - In Memoriam

Melanie on her customized Schleese saddle

WindReach Farm – Ashburn, Ontario

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