One Horse's Pain is Many Horse's Gain!

One Horse's Pain is Many Horse's Gain!

Jochen Schleese has accomplished many things and acquired many titles: Certified Master Saddler, German National Riding School instructor, founder of Schleese Saddlery Service Ltd. and Saddlefit 4 Life Inc. and he’s an active member of many efforts to educate the horse owning public on the importance of good saddle fit. He has been recognized with many industry and business awards over the 25 years he has been in business, and has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and twice on the Discovery Channel. He owes many of these accomplishments, in part, to his experiences with his horse, Pirat, with whom he qualified for the 1984 European Championships as a member of the young rider’s eventing team for Germany.

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Pioneering Company Tackles the Tough Stuff

Pioneering Company Tackles the Tough Stuff

Pioneering Company Tackles the Tough Stuff - Schleese Saddlery. Crotch comfort is not a subject everybody wants to talk about. Even in our modern world, there are women who ride in pain and don’t seek help, assuming that bruising, chafing and sometimes even bleeding in their intimate area is something that simply must be endured. It drives Sabine Schleese nuts. Sabine is Managing Director of Schleese Saddlery Service, Ltd, which she runs with her husband, Certified Master Saddler and horseman Jochen Schleese and their partner, CEO Earl Rothery. The Schleeses started the Ontario, Canada-based enterprise in 1986 with the idea of being a full-service saddle company. As they gained their customers’ trust, however, they soon identified a recurring complaint from the gender that, ironically, constitutes the majority of the North American equestrian public.

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Horse's welfare is a the heart of an ever-evolving company - Schleese Saddlery

Horse's welfare is a the heart of an ever-evolving company - Schleese Saddlery

While most North American businesses hunkered down for tough times as the economy sank into crisis mode, Schleese Saddlery logged the best month in its 22-year history this past October. Not bad for a company whose president's mission is simply to "help as many horses as possible." The Ontario, Canada custom saddle maker and saddle fitting empire is built upon the expertise and progressive ideas of Jochen Schleese. Raised and trained in the craft of saddle making in his native Germany, Jochen invented the patented AdapTree adjustable saddle tree in 1996...

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Riding on Air and other Uplifting Innovations in Saddle Design

Riding on Air and other Uplifting Innovations in Saddle Design

There is a lot to be said for tradition, especially in the horse industry, which relies, to an extent, on tried and true methods to get the job done. Enlightened horse owners are, however, starting to look for ways to make the riding experience more comfortable for their mounts. A greater awareness of the consequences of “tradition” is also forcing the rules to change and attitudes to evolve. One instance where this is particularly true is in saddle fit and design. In a very literal sense, the saddle is the only thing that comes between you, your horse and the best possible ride. Unfortunately, when it comes to saddle design, the theory of ‘we’ve always done it this way’ is not only standing in the way of optimum performance, it is physically damaging our horses.

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Testimonials

The riding school where I first took lessons had "good" saddles, made by a venerable European manufacturer, so when I noticed my riding was uncomfortable, I assumed a problem with my position. Eventually though, I realized that no position was comfortable, that riding varied from unpleasant to excruciating. Nobody else seemed to have a problem, and my instructor was not a person with whom anyone discussed non-public parts of the body, so I just accepted that riding was painful. Until I rode in a friend's saddle, made by another venerab1e European manufacturer. It was an old saddle, but the moment I sat in it I was like Goldilocks in Baby Bear's chair -it was just right. Painless! Amazing! So I measured, compared, tried other saddles; then my husband made me foam blocks that I placed next to my stirrup bars to widen the saddle waist until I could buy a used saddle-shaped -like-me. If I or my instructor had had Jochen Schleese's important book “Suffering In Silence”, I would have been spared years of pain and frustration. It seems an unfortunate human tendency to take no steps toward a solution unless the ultimate solution is achievable, like the onlooker who wondered why to throw a single starfish in the sea if they couldn’t all be saved.  I can’t afford to buy custom saddles for my school horses, but there are many things I can do, with the information in Mr. Schleese's book, to make my horses and my students more comfortable. Correct diagnosis is vital to solving problems, and its information that you need to make a diagnosis, like the significance of saddle length, gullet width, equine asymmetry, billet placement, cantle angle, and many other features of the interface between rider and horse. Little, inexpensive things like foam blocks can make the difference between painful and painless for both the equines and the humans you are responsible for, if you have the information that comes from Mr. Schleese's experience, we may not be able to do everything, but we should do what we can.

— Katie Aiken, Riding Instructor Magazine Copy Editor Fall 2014

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