Saddlefit 4 Life® Educational Seminar and Course Offerings – Europe

Saddlefit 4 Life® (S4L) is a global network of equine professionals working together to protect horse and rider from long-term damage. S4L offers a variety of educational options at various locations throughout the year – including one hour on-site lectures at barns, presentations at horse shows and trade show/expos, as well as more intensive 2-Day Seminars and Certification Courses.  Saddlefit 4 Life®’s comprehensive saddle fitting philosophy and certification programs are valued by equine professionals from many disciplines and are endorsed by The United States Dressage Federation (USDF), The Certified Horsemanship Assoication (CHA), American Riding Instructors Association (ARIA), The Association of Professional Trainers – Germany (Berufsreiterverband) and the Ontario Equestrian Federation (OEF).

Saddlefit 4 Life® currently offers three courses.  Course #1 is a Saddlefit 4 Life 2-Day Professionals Seminar; Course #2 is a 3-Day Equine Ergonomist Course “All About the Horse”; and Course #3 is 3-Day Equine Ergonomist Course “All About the Horse & Rider”.


S4L Academy - Revised August 25, 2016 - two colours-lalign


Basic Equine Ergonomics according to the Saddlefit 4 Life® Philosophy

This course is taught by certified trainers and teaches the basics of saddle fitting. You will quickly be able to determine the saddle support area of the horse, and what design features a saddle needs to help avoid long term back damage for horse and rider, as well as how it needs to fit. More information available at

  • Historical perspectives: the changing use of horses over the years (work>>recreation)
  • Growth phases of the horse and influence on saddle fit.
  • Basic equine anatomy. Shoulder movement under the saddle, reflex points, significance of the18th thoracic vertebra
  • Repercussions of poorly fitting saddles for horse and rider.
  • Long term back damage for horses
  • Male and female human anatomical differences
  • Long term health issues for riders using incorrectly fitted saddles
  • Static and dynamic fit
  • How to measure horse and rider and use the evaluation form correctly
  • Determination of the saddle support area
  • Biomechanical analysis of horse and rider.
  • Saddle adjustability
  • Tree width and tree angle.
  • Tack and Accessories
  • Saddle fitting limitations
  • Saddle fitting limitations

Target Groups:

  • Riders
  • Horse lovers
  • Groups, organizations and riding clubs
  • Retailers, Saddlers
  • Veterinarians, Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, Trainers

Prerequisite: other than a love for horses, no special prerequisites. It is recommended to have read Jochen Schleese’s book in either English or German.
Course designation:PE-G
Duration: 2-Days
Course fee:564,- €



Continuing development for Equine Ergonomics according to Saddlefit 4 Life® Philosophy
This course module goes into more detail on the following topics;
– measurements and analyses of evaluations done independently after completing Course 1

– completion and significance of static and dynamic fit analyses

– analysis of various saddle models on the horse’s back

– customer service and consultation techniques with clients

  • Review of theory from Course 1
  • Discussion of measurement results, client experiences, Q&A
  • Timed static analysis
  • Discussion of various saddle tree types commercially available
  • Health issues possibly arising from saddle tree designs not aligned with S4L
  • Innovations in saddle tree technology and design
  • Tack and accessories and their uses
  • Dynamic saddle fit
  • Watching the rider after fitting the saddle – results of fit
  • Dust analysis of horse’s back under saddle (w/o pad)
  • Which saddles are adjustable?

Target Groups:

  • Riders, horse lovers
  • Groups, clubs and organizations
  • Retailers and Saddlers
  • Veterinarians, phyisotherapists, osteopaths, Trainers

Prerequisites: Completed Course 1
Course designation:PE-A
Course Duration: 3 Days
Fees:846,- €


Course #3
Introduction to Equine Ergonomics – Certification as Equine Ergonomist (PE-P)


Certification as Equine Ergonomist according to Saddlefit 4 Life Philosophy

As a certified Equine Ergonomist you will be able to measure and analyse the proper saddle fit to horse and rider.


  • Practical – static and dynamic fit of saddle
  • Theoretical – written and oral questions regarding course content

Target Groups:

  • Graduates from Courses 1 and 2 (Introduction to Equine Ergonomics)


  • Successful completion of courses 1 and 2 (Introduction to Equine Ergonomics)
  • Completion of 30 independent correct evaluations for horse and rider

Certification:Saddlefit 4 Life Certificate as Equine Ergonomist
Course designation:PE-P
Course Duration: 3 Days
Fees:564,- €


Intensive Course in Saddle Ergonomics Module 1 – Saddle Ergonomist Intensive


Saddle Ergonomist – Professional Development according to Saddlefit 4 Life® philosophy
This is an internship whereby the CEE spends approximately 3 months training with a Certified Saddle Ergonomist on site working with clients..

Course content:

  • Proper saddle flocking and reflocking
  • Using saddlery tools
  • Stitching billets
  • Using the Saddlesizer™ Tree machine
  • Adjusting the saddle to fit properly
  • Client conversations/consultation and customer service
  • Business Development and public relations

You will learn how and why a saddle needs to be adjusted at least once annually as the horse’s conformation will change due to the extraneous causes outlined in the circle of influence.

Logistics and Training Schedule: as determined individually with the CSE
Training venue: as determined individually with CSE
Prerequisite: Certification as Equine Ergonomist
Duration: Approximately 3 months
Course Designation:SE-K
Fees:  3.500,- € for the three month period of training with CSE
Additional fees as required for accommodation, meals and travel expenses as determined with CSE from case to case

S4L course 1 - Charlton, NY - Oct 2015

Module 2 – Saddle Ergonomist continuing education – Stitching and Saddle Flocking – (PO)


Stitching and Flocking
After this course you will be able to properly and correctly flock a saddle panel. You will learn how to use the specialized saddlery tools required for this adjustment, and how to stitch using two needles. You will learn about the various types of saddle flocking used and why some are better than others.
Course Content

  • Proper flocking/restuffing – what do you need to know?
  • Proper use of saddlery tools
  • Flocking materials and the advantages/disadvantages of each
  • Learning how to flock and restuff properly – the correct techniques
  • Stitching billets and other minor repairs

Target Groups:

  • Certified Saddle Ergonomists or Saddle Ergonomist candidates

Training schedule: Every month based on demand and appointments
Prerequisite: Certification as Equine Ergonomist

Course designation:PO
Fees:150,- €

Schleese International, Europa Zentrale Köln
Eupener Straße 150 , 50933 Köln


TIM McGrath - Quality Control Manager - RGB Jochen---Working-on-Saddle-Historic---cropped

Module 3 – Saddle Ergonomist continuing education – Working with the Saddlesizer™ Tree machine (BEM)


Working with the Tree machine (Taught by CSE Inge Taffijn) according to Saddlefit 4 Life® philosophy
This additional training will allow you to sell and fit specially adjustable saddles to your clients, and build ongoing relationships as you continue to fit ergonomically to horse and rider. You will learn how to use the Saddlesizer tree machine to adjust gullet plates asymmetrically to accommodate the horse’s conformation exactly. You will ensure that the saddle fits at the wither and at the shoulder by adjusting it properly using the tree machine.

Target Group:

  • Certified Equine Ergonomists

Schedule:  one day seminar as determined with Trainer Inge Taffijn


  • Certification as Equine Ergonomist including proof of independent evaluations done with approx. 30 horse and rider combinations.
  • Minimum amount of internship hours spent working with CSE

Course Designation:BEM
Fees:250,- €

Reitstall Gut Burghof
Hauptstraße 7, 505859 Köln



Saddle Ergonomist Certification – (SE-F)


Certification process for saddle ergonomists according to Saddlefit 4 Life® philosophy
With this certification as a Saddle Ergonomist you have the ability to not only perform a saddle fit evaluation and measure horse and rider, but also to properly adjust and fit saddles ergonomically over the life of the horse. You will be able to offer your clients specially adjustable saddles with a comprehensive service relationship to ensure protection from long term back damage for horse and rider. This is a unique selling proposition which will elevate you from conventional ‚saddle fitters‘.

  • Practical – including static and dynamic evaluation and fit of the saddle
  • Theoretical – written and oral questions concerning saddle fit and saddlery

Target Groups:

  • Certified Equine Ergonomists

Dates:TBD depending on demand and level of training of CEEs.Two days with maximum 4 candidates for testing.

  • Confirmation of completion of internship with CSE as well as having completed ca. 39 independent evaluations

Course designation:SE-F
Fees:390,- €



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Equine Professional

I just wanted to touch base with you after Alexa and Julia’s lecture yesterday afternoon. We are so excited to have made this connection with Schleese saddles because we were so impressed with their presentation last night! It was such a great learning opportunity for the students. Alexa and Julia did an amazing job engaging the students and creating a really fun learning environment. It is obvious that they work really well as a team. They both suggested I contact you to see if we could have them out again next time they are in the area. They said they would probably be back in the spring. We would like to make it mandatory for all of our riding students to attend the next lecture because of the valuable information presented. Thank you again!! Taylor

— Taylor James - Del Val University, Doylestown, PA

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