Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, DVM

Saddlefit 4 Life®  Partner shares our Passion to Protect Horses!

Trained as a Bereiter (Master Trainer), Dr. Gerd Heuschmann is an equine veterinarian based at the Warendorf Veterinary clinic associated with the German National Riding School. A respected international lecturer, Heuschmann educates equestrians on how to make the sport better for the horse. A true horse lover and voice for the horse, Dr. Heuschmann boldly speaks about the damaging effects of incorrect training methods (especially hyperflexion!) employed by many competitive riders and trainers today.

In 2008 Dr. Heuschmann studied Jochen Schleese’s Saddlefit 4 Life® system, and was certified as a [Saddlefit 4 Life® Professional] providing diagnostic assessment of suspected saddle fit issues. Jochen Schleese has taught with Dr. Heuschmann at the German National Riding School, training Bereiter and Reitlehrer on saddle fit principles and assessment, as well as at clinics all over North America.

Heuschmann speaks about the saddle as the interface between horse and rider, and damaging effects of poorly fitting saddles:

“The saddle is the connection between horse and rider and plays a massive role in this partnership. A poorly fitting saddle cannot result in optimum performance even with an excellent rider. The saddle size impacts the longissimus dorsi of the horse’s back. Saddles do fit better than they did even 20 years ago but there are still many poorly fitted saddles and there is a lot of room for improvement. The industry simply requires better education, such as Saddlefit 4 Life® is giving.”

Author of “Finger in der Wunde” (Germany Oct. 2006) translated as “Tug of War – Classical versus “Modern Dressage” link (Sept. 2007), as well as “The Balancing Act” (2012) Heuschmann explains why Classical Training Methods are necessary and beneficial to the horse, and how incorrect “Modern” riding negatively affects horses’ health. Comparing both classical and “modern” training methods, Dr. Heuschmann believes the horse’s body tells us whether our riding is “building the horse up” or wearing it down and tearing it apart.” His documentary [“If Horses Could Speak”] link 2008, shows the damaging effects of poor training methods on the functional anatomy and bio-mechanics of the horse, and features several experts in the industry with their commentary, including Jochen Schleese.


Together with Klaus Balkenhol and other prominent dressage experts, Dr. Heuschmann is a founding member of “Xenophon,” an organization dedicated to “fighting hard against serious mistakes in equestrian sport” www.xenophon-classical-riding.org.

Dr. Heuschmann writes on the [functional anatomy of the horse]:


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DSC_0050 Having spent years doing exercises to supposedly loosen my hips in an attempt to sit deeper in the saddle and prevent my toes from turning out while riding, I discovered when I ride in a ‘female’ saddle, I am immediately sitting deep in the saddle with my toes pointing forward – without even warming up. I wonder what unnecessary damage I’ve done to myself from years of putting torque on my joints from these exercises from a classical riding book. I wonder how many other women have unnecessarily hurt their body believing they struggle with ‘tight hips’.

— Laura Whitteron, Saddle Ergonomist, England

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