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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As quoted in the Certified Horsemanship Association February Monthly Newsletter "I recently attended a nine day intensive saddle fitting course conducted by Jochen Schleese. Jochen and his wife, Sabine, have attended two of CHA's International conferences.  I was intrigued by his demos on how saddles are made differently for men and women. This year in Amarillo, he went into more detail about fitting saddles properly to horses to prevent serious injury.  He is passionate about helping horses and by offering this course to professionals in the horse industry, we can do our part in having healthy horses and educated riders. This 3-day course event covered how saddles [may] cause injury and how little has been done in the last 100 years to prevent these injuries.  By educating professionals who deal with horses on a daily basis on how to properly evaluate a saddle fit can go a long way in making horses healthy.  by teaching an 80 Point Evaluation, taking into account, the shoulder angles, wither shape, saddle support area and making sure critical pressure points are not impinged on by the saddle is just a small segment of this course.  The Schleese's passion for helping horses is much the same as CHA's mission statement for riding instructors.  It is for the good of the horse.  Taking these courses reminded me of my certification week to become a CHA instructor.  A huge highlight of my life with horses."  Check our Saddlefit4life.com and the book "Suffering in Silence."

— Lori Maciulewicz - Regional Director for Region 6

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