Jane Savoie

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Jane Savoie and Jochen Schleese (JS and JS) – what makes their partnership so successful? One of the key ingredients of any successful pairing is a mutual respect, complementary philosophies, and genuine passion for the product. Both Jane and Jochen embody each of these prerequisites in all aspects of their being, specifically as it relates to the ultimate well-being of the horse. Savoie and Schleese have worked together for over two decades now in a mutually beneficial relationship.

Of all of the many saddle companies available on the market today; of all of the endorsement opportunities available to a well-known and internationally ranked rider such as Jane Savoie; why then did she choose Schleese to design her name brand saddle with? Jane explains, “I chose Schleese after sitting in one of their saddles when riding a student’s horse. I’m very much “the princess and the pea” when it comes to saddles. If I’m not TOTALLY comfortable, I get distracted and end up focusing on the saddle instead of the horse. (How I’m fighting it to stay in the right position, how hard or slippery it is etc.) When I sat in that saddle, I was dumbstruck at how absolutely fabulous it felt. It was, without exception, the most comfortable saddle I had ever ridden in and I wanted one!!” The result – one of Schleese’s most popular saddles “the Jane Savoie” which became a bestseller a few years ago. Some lucky clients can still find them available ‘previously loved’ on used saddle sites.  Jane is now working with the “Obrigado” model on her Friesians.

Both Jane and Jochen are primarily into education and the comfort of the horse and rider with the ultimate goal of producing happy horses that can easily do their job. Jane helps people from the instructor/trainer point of view – indeed is the marketer extraordinaire of her talents, bar none!; Jochen helps riders by giving them enough information to make educated choices when it comes to deciding what alternatives to follow with their saddles.

Jane believes in “physical therapy” types of exercises that unlock, unblock, loosen and strengthen the horse so he can become more of an athlete. Jochen uses these exercises to demonstrate the impact a poorly fitting or an incorrect saddle have on the horse’s inherent ability to perform. Obviously, both Jane and Jochen can personally reach just so many people on a one-on-one basis, so they also try to educate using alternative methods to impart their message to a larger audience. Jane is a prolific author, having written many books. She also has videos that will allow people to benefit from her methods long distance. (Jochen also has a best-selling book “Suffering in Silence: The Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses” and a DVD out). Jochen educates people through clinics, seminars, lectures, and articles about what goes into proper saddle fit and design so that neither horse nor rider suffer any discomfort. Both Jane and Jochen realize the importance of maintaining their cutting edge level of knowledge and influence, and make every effort to consult with industry professionals in various fields on an ongoing basis.

There’s also an openness and transparency to what they both do. Jane has recently transferred some of her passion into her newest hobby – ballroom dancing – and is enjoying quite a bit of success on the ‘pro-am’ circuit with her instructor Clifton Sepulveda of Fred Astaire studios in West Palm Beach. Another thing she and Jochen have in common – as Jochen used to compete with his instructor back in the day!

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ask_watlter_bookI have known Jochen as a talented rider and master of his trade since 1986. It is easy to recognize how much Jochen Schleese cares about the comfort and well-being of the horse. Many rider errors have their origins in poorly fitted saddles—to either horse or rider. Too many times these issues are simply ignored and that is why I cannot thank Jochen enough for bringing them to our attention in his book, which every rider who loves his horse should own. He uses illustrations and descriptions not only to discuss what a saddle should look like and that it should fit, but also how it should be fit to individual horses. Only then can the animal carry the unaccustomed weight of a rider and the saddle without pain.  The horse is not really made to carry any weight on its back – which is the second most sensitive spot after its mouth.  It really only becomes possible to do so after its back has been properly strengthened and trained to do so using specific training and gymnastic exercises. All of this was taken into consideration by Jochen during his many years of training and studying with his master in Germany, and later as a master saddler himself while establishing his business in his chosen land [Canada]. Especially Jochen’s experience as a successful competitor in 3-day eventing allowed him to observe and feel the necessity for freedom of movement required under saddle in all three gaits.  His own training had taught him that only a correct seat will facilitate the right aids to the horse. What happens when the rider is even only slightly out of balance?  This is where the saddle comes into the picture: one often sees the rider react by holding his head somewhat to the left or the right. This is the first mistake in the seat; from this he may collapse at the same hip and shift his weight to the other side to compensate. This will of course put more pressure on one side of the horse’s back. Then the rider pulls more on the opposite rein, the whole other side comes higher, and so forth. The result of such seemingly inconsequential errors in position that may go unnoticed or uncorrected for years may be a crooked saddle. It will not fit the horse properly any longer and secondly continue to place the rider in an incorrect seat. One shouldn’t underestimate the frequency or speed with which this crookedness and unevenness can happen. Many rider errors have their origin in poorly fitted saddles to either horse or rider.walter Too many times these issues are simply ignored and that is why I cannot thank Jochen enough for bringing them to our attention in his book ‘Suffering in Silence’. Every rider who loves his horse should own this book. Jochen discusses what to look for in a saddle and how to ensure it will not cause your horse any pain. Horses did not ask to be ridden, which is why it is so important to Jochen that he protect our four-legged partners from poor saddle fit. He is ensured a measure of gratitude from all horses for making their lives bearable and comfortable with properly fitting saddles. I thank him on behalf of riders everywhere, and also his wife Sabine who played just as big a role in the writing of ‘Suffering in Silence’. Jochen teaches discuss what a saddle should look like and that it should fit, but also how it should be fit to individual horses. Only then can the animal carry the unaccustomed weight of a rider and the saddle without pain.

— Walter A. Zettl, Olympic Level Dressage Coach, Professional Trainer Extraordinaire, Clinician and Author of Dressage in Harmony and The Circle of Trust

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