Jochen Schleese's Blog (44)

Saddle Fit Tip # 1 - Saddle Balance

SADDLE FIT TIP #1 - BALANCE (in a series of 9 short videos)

Have you ever experienced any of these problems which may indicate saddle balance problems?

Are you struggling with your position?

Is your horse lacking in its performance?

...then you may be faced with a Saddle Balance issue. Watch this informative video for some saddle fit tips on Balance that may help…


Added by Jochen Schleese on December 3, 2014 at 10:30pm — 5 Comments

Saddle Fit and Difficult Shoulders

One of our certified Saddlefit 4 Life® saddle ergonomists in Europe recently came across this horse – which had a shoulder blade that was higher than the withers. She said that the 'best' fitting saddle for it had a half panel to accommodate this unique conformation, but asked for my advice. Does anyone else recognize seeing a horse like this before?…


Added by Jochen Schleese on November 14, 2014 at 2:31pm — No Comments

Saddle Fit and Treeless vs. Conventional Saddles: Back Pressure Evaluated

Saddle Fit and Treeless Saddles

Okay I just had to share this with you because I am really thrilled that someone of Dr. Clayton’s reputation has substantiated what I have been preaching about treeless saddles for the last couple of years. Now you don’t just have to take my word for it! This was a recent article appearing at which I am putting in my blog this week to share with you.

Treeless vs. Conventional Saddles: Back… Continue

Added by Jochen Schleese on November 28, 2011 at 3:33pm — 4 Comments

Saddle Fit and Swelling

Saddle Fit and Swelling

One of my associates in Europe recently came across this issue at a client visit. This chestnut gelding was exhibiting blisters and swelling beside the withers on the right side – but apparently there was no saddle pressure to account for this. The saddle was sitting perfectly aligned. (I especially mention the colour since chestnuts often seem to be particularly vulnerable to skin problems).…


Added by Jochen Schleese on October 5, 2011 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Saddle Fit and Problem Backs

My last blog was a bit ‘ueberlong’ so I will limit myself to a quickie this week.

When I am travelling, I unfortunately often come across horses that have backs that look like the one in this picture. The client maintains that the horse has ‘always looked like that’ but – as I confirmed with my oft-cited good friend Dr. Joanna Robson, DVM – horses are not born like this.

The majority of these horses are ridden in saddles where the gullet channel is simply too tight/narrow.… Continue

Added by Jochen Schleese on September 13, 2011 at 9:30am — No Comments

Saddle Fit and Excellent Results in the Ring

Although of course it shouldn't be all about the medals and the winning, it absolutely thrills and validates me when one of my clients sends me a picture such as this one. (Christian Hartung riding “Watulele” from the Christiane Noelting Dressage Center in California). This is an absolutely textbook case of a beautiful horse demonstrating "Durchgelassenheit" ('throughness, suppleness, etc.') Of particular note is the fact that he has a beautifully rounded croup, the angle of the hind leg is…


Added by Jochen Schleese on August 22, 2011 at 2:30pm — 2 Comments

Saddle Fit and Tree Points

Although I have in the past discussed tree points in detail especially in regard to tree point angle and tree point width, I want today to address really one additional key issue with tree points – and that is direction.

Tree points can be forward-facing, straight (more or less perpendicular to the ground) or rear-facing. Forward facing tree points have been proven to be extremely detrimental to horse health in that MRIs and fibre optic cameras have shown the chipping of cartilage…


Added by Jochen Schleese on August 2, 2011 at 11:30am — No Comments

Saddle Fit and Second Hand Schleese Saddles (actually Used Anythings...)

Occasionally people will be fortunate enough to find a good used Schleese saddle on ebay or second hand or hand-me-downs from somewhere else – but the reality of it is that sometimes despite being fitted as closely as possible they may not actually be the best choice for both a specific horse and rider. Over the years we have changed our designs as our knowledge of equine anatomy and biomechanic requirements increases, so that older models may not be as ‘horse-friendly’ as the newer saddles…


Added by Jochen Schleese on July 25, 2011 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

Saddle Fit and The Mother's Lament - "my son doesn't want to ride with me!"


I always said I was really happy to have had only girls, because I would never make a good “boy daddy”. When I grew up in Germany, I was trained in what is generally perceived to be ‘sissy stuff’ here in North America – ballroom dancing, ice dancing, and riding. I would have been lost having to take my male children to early morning hockey tournaments, baseball games, or football camp. (not to mention that I truly enjoy watching sports where every single competitor does something…


Added by Jochen Schleese on July 14, 2011 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

Saddle Fit and Female Saddles - Riding Shouldn't Hurt! - Parts IV-V

Although I have broached this subject superficially in a past blog, I would like to address the last two key points in more detail, as they are important in determining the proper saddle fit especially for women – which is 85% of Schleese’s market – and makes us the only female saddle specialist in the world!

Watch this month's informative video. One of…


Added by Jochen Schleese on July 5, 2011 at 11:00am — 3 Comments

Saddle Fit and Stress Lines

 This blog is in response to a question raised from one of my recent blogs concerning a comment made in my very first Saddle Fit Tip #1 on Saddle Balance. Geoffrey wanted to know more about the stress lines I mentioned right at the beginning of the video. While I can tell you what to look for, I went to my good friend Dr. Joanna Robson, DVM and author of “Recognizing the Horse in Pain and what to do about it” for the physiology behind this.


She said that “the stress line that…


Added by Jochen Schleese on June 21, 2011 at 12:00pm — 5 Comments

Saddle Fit and Constant Pain

I have a client who is having problems that some of you also may have experienced. She has a horse with an old injury at the withers which, with pressure from any saddle over time with repeated contact created immense pain for him, which eventually resulted in him bucking off the rider. He is now pain free, has had Mesotherapy, and has shown that he (at this moment) is not in pain but has now a learned behavior to not tolerate anything on his back, any saddle etc. He is still bucking and…


Added by Jochen Schleese on June 13, 2011 at 12:00am — 2 Comments

Saddle Fit and "Banana Panels"

I have often been asked by clients why our saddles aren’t flat on the horse’s back all the way from front to back – which makes them look like they don’t actually fit and will probably rock. Many riders don’t understand that ideally the saddle needs to slightly ‘rock’ at the cantle as the horse’s back engages.


It is the duty of the saddle fitter to explain to the client that a slightly rocking saddle will never put so much pressure on the horse’s back that…


Added by Jochen Schleese on May 10, 2011 at 10:00pm — 2 Comments

Saddle Fit and Empathy with the Horse in Training

Back at WEG there was one stand that was absolutely swamped for most of the two weeks we were there – the one with Jane Savoie and a mechanical horse. For those of you who were there, you might remember waiting in long line ups to experience the amazing new product developed by the geniuses through the partnership with Jane at Equi Sense.

Equi Sense is technology developed in order to help the trainer train better, and the rider ride better. It is truly eye-opening; when you sit on…


Added by Jochen Schleese on April 29, 2011 at 5:51pm — No Comments

Saddle Fit and Equestrian Medicine


Today’s blog is written (with some judicious editing) by my good friend Dr. James Warson MD, author of “The Rider’s Pain Free Back” and a recent addition to Barnmice as an expert.  I wanted to share with you this extraordinary man’s thoughts on his passion, what makes him so absolutely unique in this industry and the role he plays in the team of horse, rider, and saddle.


“Rider health is what I do. It’s the application of medical knowledge, combined with knowledge of…


Added by Jochen Schleese on April 10, 2011 at 8:30am — 1 Comment

Saddle Fit and Saddles That Don’t Fit!

I am presently still off and on working in Florida until the beginning of April. I recently went out to fit one of our saddles for a client to a horse (like I always do!), but what I experienced there truly troubled me to the point that I had to write about it.

The owner and the trainer were both not present; the groom brought out this lovely, sad, little horse. I have rarely encountered such a pathetic picture of absolute dejection and misuse – probably totally unknowingly – and…


Added by Jochen Schleese on March 11, 2011 at 1:30pm — 5 Comments

Saddle Fit and Adjusting Your Saddle


This is an issue which has arisen time and time again – I hear it all the time. “I bought a custom saddle [note on  tangent – there is a lot of misconception of what truly construes ‘custom’ anything – but I digress] and I expect it to fit me and my horse for as long as we live and never need adjusting”.  Okay, that’s a bit exaggerated, but I think you may understand where I’m going with this. True, you may be lucky and find a saddle that you feel is comfortable for you and you feel…


Added by Jochen Schleese on March 1, 2011 at 12:00pm — 2 Comments

Saddle Fit and Saddle Trees - Treed vs. Treeless Part 2

The Controversy continues...

Many current books on equine anatomy will offer back up information to this statement (see specifically references to the supraspinous ligament system). Sometimes veterinarians are at a loss to explain equine 'problems' - often related to using the wrong type of saddle, or a badly fitting saddle. The unfortunate truth is that treeless saddles go against the logic of equine anatomy - they may work for a few years, but as has been reiterated, there is a…


Added by Jochen Schleese on February 17, 2011 at 11:30am — 4 Comments

Saddle Fit and Saddle Trees - Treed vs. Treeles Part One

The ongoing controversy – Treed or Treeless Saddles?? PART ONE


This is a topic I often get asked about, and I feel very strongly about. This is my opinion – based on the facts that I have researched and believe – but of course you are entitled to your opinion as well, and I know that there are many ‘treeless advocates’ riding comfortably and successfully in their saddles. All I ask is that you keep an open mind to the potential damage you could be doing to your…


Added by Jochen Schleese on February 4, 2011 at 11:30am — 4 Comments

Saddle Fit and Subluxations


I got this question from one of the osteopaths I work with in Germany, and asked my friend Dr. Joanna Robson, DVM (author of Recognizing the Horse in Pain) to give me her wisdom so I could respond on behalf of the client this was concerning. Apparently the Osteopath seemed to think that there were subluxations occurring on the horse’s spine due to the centre of balance of the saddle being too far back.


Joanna writes:


My understanding is that the…


Added by Jochen Schleese on January 20, 2011 at 12:00pm — No Comments

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