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Rider Testimonials

Over 200,000 Happy Customers!

Kathi Menner - Wave & Eagle Testimonial

"We could not be happier with Schleese!"

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“My name is Kathi Menner and I live and ride in Elmira, New York. I own two Schleese saddles [Wave and Eagle with PSI panels]. One old Weave dressage saddle and one really old Eagle eventing saddle. I have both saddles refitted with the psi panels.

I have owned the saddles for years and they have been fitted to 3 of my horses. Most recently, both saddles are fitted to my young horse Fritz. He is a 17-hand Dutch harness horse/ Standardbred. He has huge expressive gaits and can jump the moon.

What I LOVE most about the Schleese saddles, is that they grow with him. He looked very much like a Doctor Seuss character even a year ago. Long and awkward! The saddle he needed back then is not the saddle that he needs now. He has shown first-level dressage this year and is moving to second-level this coming spring. I absolutely love that the saddle was able to grow with him and adjust to his newly found muscles. Here are pictures of Fritz showing in Morven Park Virginia and schooling jumping at home. We could not be happier with Schleese!”

Kathi and Fritz

Kathi Menner - Elmira, NY

Julie Heyrman Compernolle - Cadence Testimonial

"Customized to me and my horse with endless abilities for modifications."

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“I am new to western dressage and purchased my Schleese western dressage saddle Cadence in the Fall of 2021. I brought both my paint horses to be fit. Fortunately, the half-sisters were very close in their fit and I did not have to change the panels before riding the other horses. However, it is great that if they were different in their measurements I could purchase separate panels for the other horse and just modify between the two girls instead of having to buy an individual saddle for each horse. Due to one horse having a career-ending injury in 2022, I resumed showing this year with Talon. She had her re-fitting done in May and that made a difference in the balance of the saddle for me and the horse. We have done a few shows in Wisconsin and are qualified for the WDAA World Show 2023. The Schleese Cadence Western Saddle is well balanced, customized to me and my horse with endless abilities for modifications.”

Julie Heyrman Compernolle - Richfield, WI

Kelly Kowalchuk - HK Testimonial
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“I am a very loyal Schleese customer and wanted to share my story, along with a testimonial.

I purchased my OTTB, Izzi, in 2017 after my previous horse of 29 years passed away. Izzi had successfully raced for 2 years prior to coming into my life and I was told that she was retired from racing because she not only started to slow down but her demeanour changed from very sweet to aggressive and ornery.

Izzi came into my life unexpectedly. I’d visited a barn to try a different horse (a very well-trained dressage horse) but we just didn’t click. The owner of the barn made an off-handed remark about a thoroughbred she’d purchased as a sale horse and asked if I wanted to try her. She warned me that this horse needed work. Despite the fact that our first ride was very chaotic (she was really green, unbalanced, and had no brakes or steering…when we cantered, everyone else riding in the arena quickly congregated to the centre for fear of being run over!) it was “love at first ride”. I knew she was the right horse for me and that I was the right owner for her. I also suspected, based on her change of personality and the fact that she was extremely girthy, that she was in pain.

My vet confirmed that her back was sore and my coach suggested I try a new saddle. The long and short of it is that Izzi had kissing spine which was discovered after three years of treating back pain with various treatments (shockwave, acupressure, massage, chiro). While it was partially hereditary, an ill-fitting saddle contributed to the problem. Before the diagnosis, I’d worked with two reputable highly recommended (non-Schleese) saddle fitters and had tried over 25 (yes, twenty-five!) saddles to no avail. At one point, I had three dressage saddles in my basement that weren’t working that I had purchased and now needed to sell.

Post-surgery, I started getting anxious about a saddle. None of the options I’d tried fit Izzi properly and none of the fitters could come up with a solution. I was even willing to have a saddle custom-made, but since no one could tell me what fit Izzi needed, I was reluctant to invest in this. I felt desperate.

By chance, a friend suggested I contact a Schleese fitter. I was skeptical of yet another fitter but gave it a shot—I was running out of options. It was such a great experience! She had me put on my current saddle, then showed me why it wasn’t working: the channel was too narrow so it was pressing on Izzi’s spinal processes and it was too long, putting pressure on her lower back. She explained everything in great detail, including creating a chalk outline on Izzi’s fur showing where the saddle should sit, and it all made sense. She then placed a Schleese on Izzi’s back and showed me where it sat in comparison to my old saddle. I couldn’t believe that something so straightforward wasn’t caught by my other two fitters and was angry that Izzi endured so many painful years (and that I spent thousands of dollars on treatment) because of lack of knowledge. The Schleese fitter didn’t try to sell me a new saddle but instead provided me with guidance on what to look for in a used Schleese. She also offered to review any second-hand saddle listings to provide advice on whether or not they would work. I ended up with a secondhand HK and had it shortened by replacing the panels with the upswept model. It fits Izzi amazingly and she has not had any major back pain since. Needless to say, I’m now a huge fan of Schleese. Your company basically enabled me to ride Izzi again. I’ve referred you to several friends and all of them are as happy as I am. I’ve attached a few photos of Izzi and me.


Kelly Kowalchuk

Kelly Kowalchuk

Evie Dinkins - Obrigado & Let's Dance Testimonial

"It’s a perfect fit for both of us."

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“I was introduced to the Schleese line of saddles in May 2018 at a clinic in FL where Jochen was there supporting and demonstrating the brand. Both the clinician, Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, and Jochen told me that the brand-new saddle I had just purchased would never fit my new pony. Jochen offered to measure the pony (and me) and discuss options with his line of dressage saddles. Because my GRP has a very short back with large shoulders, and I am only 5’ tall, he recommended the Obrigado as his first choice. I went with the shortest flap and had him customize the thigh blocks for me.

I have been riding without stirrups for over 7 years now due to malformations in my lumbar spine. The seat on this saddle keeps me very secure and is so comfortable. And it allows him the shoulder freedom he needs. I have a special dispensation to compete without my stirrups. My pony, Dein Jolly Jocker, and I have competed at 4th Level through Intermediate-1, earning my USDF Silver Medal. He is 17 now. We hope to make it through GP and earn my Gold Medal. I absolutely LOVE this saddle and get it fitted twice a year. It’s a perfect fit for both of us. This pony also likes to jump so he has a Merci which nicely accommodates his short back and big shoulders. Check out his jumping photo with a student on him!

Meanwhile, I purchased a small young horse (14.3 HH) almost 2 years ago. Da Leo is now 5 and ‘going’ quite well in his very own Obrigado that I purchased second-hand and had fitted to him. He’s a little taller so I went with the #1 flap. We did the USDF 4 YR Old test this spring as his first outing. That was very successful. I look forward to taking him all the way to GP. (In the photos of him I am using stirrups to be safe since he’s 5 & it was his first time away from the farm.)

My friend and I own a Let’s Dance together for the Welsh horse I sold her earlier this year. She started leasing him several years ago. We struggled to find the right saddle for this uphill small guy with a shorter back. After trying several brands and then two Schleese models we figured out that they both loved the Let’s Dance. This tree gave him the most shoulder freedom with a wide gullet to keep the pressure away from his spine. So you can see that I am a huge fan of Schleese. I want to thank our saddle fitter Amanda Silver. She’s the BEST! I am including photos of Jolly and Leo.”

Evie Dinkins

Evie Dinkins - Powder Springs, GA

Mark Swinney - Legacy Testimonial

"“I wish my horse could write and tell you about his experience.”"

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“I bought a Schleese western saddle — a Legacy. I have had plenty of western saddles, including a custom-fit one, but this Schleese is eons beyond any of them. It fits me so well! The benefit that I appreciate most about it is that it automatically puts my body in the right position. This means that I can really focus on learning and showing.

I wish my horse could write and tell you about his experience with our saddle. But his actions and amazing freedom tell the story. Because my Legacy fits us both so well, we are improving together faster than I ever dreamed. This definitely is a western saddle I would recommend to anyone”.

Mark Swinney - Sandia Park, NM

Madel Kirdevoll - Cosmic saddle - Norway 2023

"Madel Kirkevoll – Cosmic VCFS Jump Saddle – Video Testimonial"

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Madel Kirkevoll, Norway

Kate Kudelko - VCFS Evolution Saddle Testimonial

"I absolutely love the [Evolution VCFS] saddle and seeing this change in Cosmo within 1 ride already has been so incredible"

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“First ride in Cosmo’s new @schleese Evolution VCFS saddle! I think Cosmo might love it just as much as I do! 😍 I am so excited to make a review video on this saddle. I think that my biggest realization of the day was that I’ve never ridden in a saddle that actually fit me before 🤣 This was the first time I’ve felt a thigh block actually rest on my thigh also and not just dig into my knee (short people problems). My FAVORITE part is that it is so close contact that you almost feel like you are bareback. It’s like you just sit down and your sitting bones are just connected right with your horse. I absolutely love this saddle, and seeing this change in Cosmo just within 1 ride already has been so incredible. It also came just in time for Cosmo’s first show next weekend!!! ❤️ Team Schleese all the way!”

Kate Kudelko
Brooksville, FL

Kate Kudelko, FL

Ruby Stringel - Boundless VCFS Jump Saddle

"I can’t believe the difference the “Boundless” saddle has made in my horse."

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Sunshine Murray (Murray) is a 2007 Thoroughbred Bay Gelding who is 17hh. Murray is an amazing athlete with an interesting resume. He started his career with two years of racing. He had 16 starts, 2 wins, 2 seconds and 1 third. He then retired from racing and became an eventer. He excelled at eventing and competed successfully at the FEI 2* level. Murray’s love of jumping has now led him into the world of show jumping. He has competed with success at the 1.15M level. Murray has the scope and ability for higher. I have schooled him over 1.39M at home. We hope to compete in 2022 with the goal of entering 1.20 classes when ready.

Over the summer, we had a saddle that did not fit Murray correctly. Over the course of the show season, he became sour while being saddled, often trying to bite while being girthed. His back muscles became weak, painful and spasmodic. He was also very resistant to go ‘on-the-bit’ or use his back correctly.

My Mother has always used Schleese saddles for her dressage horses. She arranged a saddle fit/evaluation for Murray by Heather Doig. Heather was very professional and helped us find a saddle that fits Murray. I can’t believe the difference the “Boundless” saddle has made in my horse. He is happy in his work and his back muscles are getting stronger each week. He is relaxed and is much easier to go on the bit. He is using his back with nice swinging gaits. He is less grumpy when being tacked up. My coach thinks he is moving and looking better than he was when we first acquired him.

I feel more horses, especially in the jumper world need to be comfortable in their jobs. If Murray’s story can help a few of these horses with poorly fitting saddles then I’m happy to help spread the word. The technology that Schleese is using in their saddles is amazing.

Ruby Stringel, Merrickville, ON

Ana Polaczak - Looking great on 'Flash' riding in a Jeté

"Immediately had it Fit and Felt the Difference in My Horse"

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I am Ana Polaczak from Colorado and I own a Jeté.
I have an OTTB named Flash who has a shorter back and high-high withers. Saddle fitting was never an issue with my past trainers so I had no idea it even made a difference. I moved barns and my trainer suggested my saddle fit was an issue. After going through all the brands and many-many many saddles, we hired a fitter. She told me he would need a custom/customized saddle due to his back shape and the difficulty I will have finding an “off the rack” saddle that’ll fit him properly.

Frustrated and not seeing training progress, I found my Jeté. I bought it, immediately had it fit, and felt the difference it made in him. We flew in training progression and he felt like a new horse! He moved out more, was not grumpy, and just felt so much better! We’ve been riding in my Schleese schooling 1.40m, showing 1.15m+,  schooling and showing dressage, cross country, trail riding and even messing around in western events!

It’s a saddle that I believe made the ultimate difference in my gelding’s training and I will never turn back from Schleese!”

Ana Polzczak, CO, USA

Sequence - VCFS Dressage with IP Panel - New Flap Design July 2022

"Well, Jochen and Schleese have done it again! Sequence VCFS Dressage Saddle"

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Well, Jochen and Schleese have done it again. When I thought they could not improve on a really fantastic saddle (ProLight) they did!!! I am a bit of a complicated customer combining a somewhat hard to fit super sensitive horse (very short back that can lift in an insane way… this horse standing in his stall or under saddle are two different animals!!!) that changes in his top line quite easily with a rider that suffered a hairline fracture in her sacrum a few years ago. Well, my boy has been giving me some of his best moments ever and my lower back is sitting on butter! The saddle just disappears when I ride. I am not adjusting for it in any way, I just ride and don’t have to think about it which is how it should be I believe. Thank you Schleese!!!

Anne Palmer, Vermont

Sequence - VCFS Dressage with IP Panel

"5***** rating for the Sequence VCFS Dressage Saddle"

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For me, it all started when I was trying to find a saddle for my situation: riding lots of horses but not having my own tack (at the time). Then, I discovered Schleese and went digging to learn more about their approach and their line of saddles. When I came upon the Sequence saddle, I felt like I found the perfect saddle for me. It fits me wonderfully and it is truly comfortable! But more importantly, I can fit it onto any horse that I ride! Since I don’t have a horse of my own to ride, I ride many different lesson and private horses, so having an adjustable saddle makes a world of sense! The saddle can be adjusted in so many ways – from wither clearance, to shoulder angle, to adjust for the asymmetry of the horse, I am confident that the horse is comfortable and pain-free in our sessions. Every time. The Schleese fitting team has taught me so much about what to look for in the horse’s conformation and how to adjust my saddle to better fit the horse. To me, an adaptable saddle is the best investment for sound horse-rider synergy. And I get compliments on my saddle all the time for its pretty details and bling that I ordered on it, and the excellent quality of the work that went into its design. Hands down, best saddle a girl and her horse could ask for!

Andrea G, CA

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