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

Thankful for our Horses

By Jochen Schleese|December 6th, 2016

I’d like to share with you what I recently wrote for one of the US publications I submit to, because I feel it warrants repeating. In this season of being thankful (the recent US Thanksgiving holiday, and our upcoming Christmas celebrations), let’s take a few minutes to reflect on the horses we’ve loved and learned so much from. Pirat was my partner in many successful event competitions in Europe. His career came to an early end when signs of increasing lameness appeared and his eyes began to lose their shine. He was examined by team doctors and several universities, but it was already too late to do anything. The diagnosis: irreparable cartilage damage at his scapula. At the time I was an apprentice saddler, but I had no clue it was the saddle that had caused him all of his pain and lameness. I will never forgive myself for this.  We tried everything – I even blistered his shoulder in an attempt to try and heal him. It worked for about three months – during which time he got time off and just ran around with our other horses at pasture. He stayed sound for about three weeks – and then the hitch came back.

I wrote my book “Suffering in Silence – the Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses” and dedicated it to Pirat. It’s because of him that I want to help as many horses as possible to avoid the same fate. I hope he forgave me – because I think horses have great capacities to forgive everything we put them through. I now teach these principles through Saddlefit 4 Life® (S4L) seminars all over the world – most recently in South Africa, which is our fifth continent! Many saddlery companies have systems which they follow to make their saddles and fit their saddles, but S4L is a philosophy based on scientific research to address the issues that can protect horse and rider from long term back damage caused by poorly fitting saddles – not opinion that results in commercial gain. Only S4L works together with all types of equine professionals to ensure a global language of saddle fit for the complete good of the horse.

get_my_free_eguide_now_image_web_revised-20160930As a token of appreciation to riders who strive to improve the lives of our beloved horses, I share my Saddle Fit Guide.

Learn how to protect yourself and your horse from discomfort and pain due to poor fitting saddles. This guide contains information on:

  • Signs of Poor Saddle Fit – overview of unwanted behaviour that may be due to a poorly fitting saddle.
  • Rider Saddle Fit Checklisthow to check if your saddle fits you well.
  • The 9 Points of Saddle Fittingdetermine if your saddle fits your horse well.
  • Saddle Fit For Womenwhat you need to know if you’re a woman looking to buy a saddle.
  • Personal On-site Evaluationshow to receive the most comprehensive analysis worldwide with our 80-Point Saddle fit Evaluation™.

‘Like’ our Saddlefit 4 Life® Facebook page to receive regular Fit Tips and updates.

I am thankful for equine professionals who invest in continuing education, who collaborate with other professionals to learn from each other.  I am thankful for riders and owners, who regularly confer with professionals, ask questions and insist on finding answers to make educated decisions. I am thankful for publications that provide educational for riders.

Happy Holidays and Happy Riding!

 ©2016 Saddlefit 4 Life® All Rights Reserved


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Ever since sitting in my new Schleese Triumph saddle for the first time in March 2018 I've wanted to write a testimonial of the  significant changes that have taken place in my riding and how my horses are going. I felt the changes immediately when I test rode the Triumph. Both of my horses I mainly ride are 14.1 and 14.3 hands, have short backs and small saddle support areas. I was thrilled to know there was a saddle that fit us all. So many dressage saddles I saw advertised were designed for large, wide backs which wasn't going to work for my Spanish Barbs. Think small Lusitano type build. Within the first 5 minutes, literally, of riding in my new Triumph, my horses back came up right under my seat, his trot easily became loftier and lighter than ever before. For me, I realized in another 5 minutes, I could focus more on my horse now and not on trying to retain a certain position. Unbeknownst to me I had been using a lot of focus on my position and where all my body parts needed to be. I have struggled to hold my leg underneath me for as long as I can remember, but a few laps around the arena I didn't have to even think about my position any longer and could just focus on how my horse felt. I just fell into place. You can probably imagine how happy that made my horse! Happy horse, happy human! Over the last 6 weeks I have made such progress in my development as a rider  and my horse has progressed just as quickly. It has given me confidence which has filtered over to my horses. This last week I spent 4 days away taking lessons with an international Working Equitation judge and competed in my first Working Equitation show. I felt like I have never ridden so well and my horse has never been so on the aids and happy in his work. I can honestly say I believe the changes all have to do with my new saddle. Both physical and mental. I have to mention as well that I had glamour options of a tooled half moon and carmel colored welting added which I love! The Schleese saddle pad which came with my saddle is my favorite pad and I plan on ordering more. The saddle is a piece of art in my opinion. I ride proudly in it. I have now convinced two of my students to attend fitting clinics this month. I am a believer of Schleese and all that the company has to offer. Attached is a photo of myself and my horse Morado from our recent lesson trip. Thank you for providing such a great product!

— Stephanie Lockhart, Johnson, VT

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