Jochen Schleese's Blog (44)

Saddle Fit and Female Pain

For this blog I’m going to try something a little different – I have invited my wife Sabine to take the floor – and be warned; this is going to be a pretty blatant pitch for the difference a female saddle  can make to your comfort and riding!

Hi – this is Sabine Schleese writing to you; this guest appearance is actually due to a conversation I have recently had with someone who just a while ago became a complete convert to what…


Added by Jochen Schleese on December 11, 2010 at 11:30am — 3 Comments

Saddle Fit and Horse Straightness

One of the most common questions I am asked has to deal with both saddle ‘straightness’ and horse ‘straightness’ and whether the correct thing is to try and force the horse into ‘straightness’ with exercise or to accommodate their basic ‘non-straightness’ with a crooked saddle.



Added by Jochen Schleese on December 4, 2010 at 1:30pm — 1 Comment

Saddle Fit and Educational References

I am often asked for reference material and what I recommend for anyone wishing to educate themselves in a little more detail after they have a saddle fit evaluation with one of our saddlefitters, so I have come up with a list of books that I use as part of my ‘saddlefitting bible’. If any of you have come across a book that would be a great…


Added by Jochen Schleese on November 22, 2010 at 1:00pm — 1 Comment

Saddle Fit Tip #9 - Tree Width

The timing of this topic is very à propos – I was just at the National Championships of the IALHA (International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association) in Dallas Texas. These horses especially need to have saddles to accommodate freedom over the withers to allow their huge moving shoulders to really work. Whereas in Thoroughbreds you often have the paradox of ‘narrow wide trees’ (to accommodate narrow shoulders but big withers) with these Iberian horses you have usually no or small…


Added by Jochen Schleese on October 20, 2010 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Saddle Fit and WEG


I just got back from the WEG in Kentucky and must say that on the whole it was quite amazing to see so many riders, so many disciplines, so many visitors all in one area! In general it was quite a different atmosphere than the WEG in Aachen I have experienced – not better, not worse, just different – but the venue was SO huge that the whole…


Added by Jochen Schleese on October 10, 2010 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

Saddle Fit and Perceptions



If you have ever witnessed horses in a pasture or in a group standing at ease, how do they stand? A horse with its head up is alert and keeping track of its surroundings because it has seen or heard something that concerned it.…


Added by Jochen Schleese on September 30, 2010 at 7:30am — No Comments

Saddle Fit Tip #8 - Tree Angle

Pretty much everyone riding is aware that trees come in narrow, medium, or wide, but did you know that those designations can refer both to the width of the tree (more about that in Saddle Fit Tip #9) and to the angle of the tree? If a saddle fitter tells you that your saddle is a…


Added by Jochen Schleese on September 20, 2010 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

Saddle Fit and Saddle Models

I have decided that since it has now been a year since I started posting my blogs on Barnmice, I need to up the ante and increase the frequency to three times a month! So I will now be posting stuff on the 10th, the 20th, and the 30th of each month - especially since I keep adding stuff to my 'blog fodder' file. I keep finding stuff to write about and share with you!…


Added by Jochen Schleese on September 10, 2010 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

Saddle Fit Tip #6 - Saddle Length

First of all my apologies – my staff tells me I messed up the order of the tips, which is why, although last month we did #7 (Saddle Straightness) this month we’re back to #6 (Saddle Length). I guess it doesn’t really matter in what order you check your saddle, since all of the points are important when ensuring correct saddle fit. Saddle length is an issue I have been noticing more and more in the past few years, as breeding seems to have really concentrated on making somewhat more…


Added by Jochen Schleese on August 15, 2010 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Saddle Fit Tip #7 - Saddle Straightness

One of the things I see often – even in professional pictures in various magazines – is that the rider is not sitting straight on the horse. (this is especially obvious when you see the rider from behind!)

Do you often have to step into one stirrup while riding to center your saddle on your horse’s back? This could mean that your saddle does not sit straight on your horse’s back, for whatever reason.

Once you have determined that your saddle has a gullet/ channel that is…


Added by Jochen Schleese on July 15, 2010 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Saddle Fit and the Female Saddle - Part 2

Although I have broached this subject superficially in a past blog, I would like to address some 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!

Our saddle fitters all have a comprehensive understanding of equine biomechanics and how saddles need to fit to prevent longterm back damage in the horse, but we also have a good…


Added by Jochen Schleese on June 15, 2010 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Saddle Fit Tip # 5 - Saddle Fit and Billet Alignment

Does your saddle slide forward no matter what kind of girth or saddle pad you use? This is one of the most common problems my clients approach me with, and I know how frustrating this can be.…


Added by Jochen Schleese on May 15, 2010 at 7:00pm — 3 Comments

Saddle Fit and the Western Saddle

I have been asked now several times to address the subject of fitting western saddles. As you may know, my specialty is English saddles – and mainly dressage – but for what it’s worth, here are my thoughts on western saddles.



Added by Jochen Schleese on April 30, 2010 at 7:30am — 5 Comments

Saddle Fit and Gullet/Channel Width - Tip #3

I have had many clients with saddles that at first glance look like they’re fitting really well, but when I turn them over, I see that the gullet width is awfully narrow. I’m talking maybe 1-2 fingers here! A saddle with a channel or gullet that is too narrow can cause permanent damage to your horse’s back (but also, if…


Added by Jochen Schleese on March 15, 2010 at 12:00pm — 7 Comments

Saddle Fit Tip #2 - Saddle Fit and Wither Clearance

I have to revisit this topic again because the last time I posted on this back in the early fall, we got so many questions that it became clear that a lot was still unclear! So – take II! (and this time with a video, which will hopefully enlighten a bit more).

Wither clearance is an often misunderstood concept. All of us are concerned that our saddles have adequate wither clearance and do not pinch our horse’s withers. But few of us truly understand…


Added by Jochen Schleese on February 14, 2010 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

Saddle Fit and Rider Position

Here is a question from one of my saddle fitting colleagues that represents a problem some of you may have experienced:

She wrote:

When I have the saddle on the horse, the tree fits, the panels are leveled (flair), the rider is sitting on both his seat bones, the rider is sitting in balance, so statically everything looks ok.

And then the horse start moving. The saddle does what is has to do, it stays in place and at this moment I am satisfied what I see, how the saddle is…


Added by Jochen Schleese on February 1, 2010 at 11:00am — 2 Comments

Saddle Fit and Blisters

I have had a client who questioned the appearance of blisters after riding, which then disappear again after about 20 minutes. I suggest the following might be happening. The spinal vertebrae have three processes. Between the spinal processes, you will find the spinal dorsal ligament system . There should never be any pressure on the spinal vertebral processes, however, if you have a saddle which has a too narrow chamber and has been lying on the spine itself, probably at least one of the 7…


Added by Jochen Schleese on December 30, 2009 at 11:30am — 2 Comments

Saddle fitting at the pommel

This blog is in response to Valerie’s question from a few weeks ago:

If the question is relating to the pommel area specifically, I have pretty much already addressed this in a previous blog about withers clearance. There are exceptions to this rule for mutton-withered horses and extremely high withered horses (many saddles have lots of clearance on top of the withers, but not on the side of the withers). On a high withered horse you are lucky if achieve 1-2 fingers clearance all…


Added by Jochen Schleese on December 15, 2009 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Saddle Fit - Going Back to Nature?

The current trend in riding, as in most other things, seems to be “going back to nature”. Riders everywhere are interested in current discussions about whether or not to shoe, whether or not to ride bareback, whether or not to “chemically” supplement your horse’s diet. According to documented statistics, the following life expectancies show the opposite to be true:

• Life expectancy of the wild horse (for example Mustang) is 5-7 years.

• Life expectancy of a horse ridden by…


Added by Jochen Schleese on December 2, 2009 at 10:00am — No Comments

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