3-Day Clinic in the UK with Jochen Schleese, Caroline Lindsay and Dr. Sue Dyson

August 14th, 2017

American Horse Publications


August 14, 2017

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3 Day Clinic in the UK with Jochen Schleese, Saddlefit 4 Life, Caroline Lindsay of Perfect Movement Solutions and Dr. Sue Dyson of the Animal Health Trust

Caroline Lindsay

Caroline Lindsay of Perfect Movement Solutions

Jochen Schleese joined UK based Veterinary Physiotherapist, Caroline Lindsay, to launch the MSFConnection’s international continuing professional development initiative this weekend in England.  Attended by 25 interested equestrian enthusiasts and equine professionals, with special guest Dr Sue Dyson, Head of Clinical Orthopedics at the Centre for Equine Studies in Newmarket, UK (and well-known expert on equine lameness!), it was deemed a great success.

The inaugural event got off to a great start August 4 in North Hertfordshire, UK, at a big, beautiful, Victorian country house venue where a ‘pop up’ classroom was set up in a barn, surrounded by horses close at hand when needed for hands on explanations and demonstration.  Within this ambient setting, a closer connection was made with the horses as well as the many equine therapists and saddle fitters who attended to make this event truly memorable with high quality saddle fitting information, providing modern saddle fitting with a platform on which to air opinion on sound fitting practices for the future.

Caroline Lindsay’s presentation covered the perspective of saddle fitting and riding from a veterinary physiotherapist’s stance where aspects of when a horse may not be quite ready for saddle fitting were covered, together with tips on how to prepare a horse for being better able to carry a rider by using ground schooling and static back strengthening techniques.  A professional videographer, Lloyd Ludgrove, captured this unique presentation for inclusion in the MSFConnection.com website video library when the website goes live in the near future.

Certified Master Saddler Jochen Schleese, the author of the best-seller “Suffering in Silence: the Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses”, gave an insightful presentation, which was enthusiastically received by all (especially Dr. Dyson!). He covered saddle fitting in great depth, exploring the concept of male and female saddle design requirements and the areas on the horse’s back where saddle contact should be both distributed and avoided.  Jochen said, “These are the kinds of courses that will change the course of saddle fitting in the industry. The more aware that riders are of the issues facing them and their horses, the more the demand will grow for regulation and education.”

Dr. Dyson was especially complimentary to Jochen Schleese, noting: “Several years ago I read a review of his book, ordered it immediately, read it several times over and realised that here was someone that was on the same wavelength as myself. This was reemphasised over the last several days. It was a real pleasure to meet him in person, learn from him and feel inspired to continue to keep trying to improve the lot of the horse.” 

Dr Gerry van Oossanen, Founder of the MSFC Academy and MSFConnection adds: “Our first event under the flag of MSFConnection was a very successful one. It shows how different professionals with sometimes different opinions can still work together in a very respectful way. This is what MSFConnection is all about, since we all join one passion: our love for the horse.”


About Jochen Schleese and Schleese Saddlery Service Ltd.

Jochen Schleese graduated from Passier as a Certified Master Saddler and came to Canada in 1986 to establish and register the trade of saddlery in North America. Schleese Saddlery Service Ltd is the world leading manufacturer of saddles designed for women, specializing in the unique anatomical requirements of female riders. Schleese authorized representatives provide diagnostic saddle fit analysis and saddle fitting services across North America to maintain optimal saddle fit to horse and rider. For more information about Schleese Saddlery Ltd. please go to www.saddlesforwomen.com

Jochen Schleese is also the author of the best-selling “Suffering in Silence: The Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses”. Watch for the 3rd edition now available in paperback by Trafalgar Books with additional chapters and brand new pictures!

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Equine Professional

Jochen Schleese is truly a master in his field, with comprehensive knowledge stemming from not only his training in saddlery but also his achievements as a rider – and he uses these attributes to reach a level of excellence in this multi-faceted industry. Jochen offers an alternative to the industry. The saddle is the connection between horse and rider and plays a massive role in this partnership. Only a balanced rider not forced into position can adhere to the goals of ‘classical riding.’ The saddle trees should accommodate specific and individual requirements for female and male riders. Only a rider with a properly made and fitted saddle can give his horse the proper aids so the horse can move free.  Although there has been much improvement in the last 20 years there are still a lot of badly fitting saddles. The industry simply requires better education, such as Saddlefit 4 Life® is giving.

      Balancing_Act_Heuschmann_BookScannedImageGerd Profile Pic 150px S4L site   Horse Roll Kur - Video Icon              S4L in Germany with JS and Gerd Heuschmann       A prerequisite for harmony between horse and rider is the pairing of a healthy, mature horse with a practiced, empathetic, sensitive, and well-trained rider.  The saddle is the connection between these two totally disparate living beings: it will either bring them together or distance them - biomechanically speaking.  This makes a well-fitting saddle key to ensure commonality in motion, as well as playing a critical role in ensuring successful training for horse and rider.  It can help a rider with a good seat find harmony with the horse, but can also restrict and prevent this if it is not fit properly to both. A well-fitting saddle will quickly allow a good rider on a young horse to attain suppleness.  Still, even the best rider will find it impossible to reach harmonious movement on the horse’s back if the saddle doesn’t fit. There is only one thing that even the best fitting saddle doesn’t guarantee, however: it will never counteract the effect of an unbalanced, tense, rough, and overall poor rider. As has recently been discussed in numerous print publications, riding has become rather far removed from its former idealistic representations, especially dressage, which has been brought into a negative light by the actions of a few controversial trainers in the industry. The negative consequences for horse and rider have been and continue to be illuminated, discussed, and evaluated.  A few saddle manufacturers have reacted to the described issues and made some major design changes in their products. In my opinion, the main issue is that a rider will have difficulty in finding an independent, pliable and balanced seat if the horse is held in a position of constant tension with the rider pushing forward in the seat to go forwards while pulling on the bit.  The saddle now needs to afford the rider additional support to augment this increased and constant tension on the reins. As a result, many modern dressage saddles now have extremely deep seats with high cantles, and huge knee rolls. They allow the rider to wedge himself securely and tensely in a deep, non-pliable seat behind giant knee rolls and hang in the reins with tight hands. Many saddle manufacturers are aware of this phenomenon and yet are powerless to change it for economic and market demand reasons. As an experienced rider and certified master saddler, Jochen Schleese has taken an alternate direction with his saddle production, which orients itself towards an unencumbered rider sitting on a relaxed horse. Only such a rider – completely balanced and not forced into position with either his seat or his legs – can adhere to the goals of ‘classical riding’.  But Jochen’s philosophy of saddle fit doesn’t stop here: the trees are made to accommodate the specific and individual requirements of both male and female riders.   Only a rider with a properly made and fitted saddle can give his horse the proper aids without clamping the thighs, relying on the hands, and sitting unbalanced on its back. We all want a horse that moves freely and without restriction.  The saddle should not cause it pain or hinder its movement. This means that the back muscles need to move freely, which is furthered by a well-fitting saddle (that may also have to take any asymmetry or unevenness into consideration).  These are also parts of the equation considered by Jochen in his work.

— Gerd Heuschmann, DVM Author of Tug of War and The Balancing Act

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