Forced to retire his competitive horse in due to lameness

“Pirat was my partner in many successful three-day event competitions in Europe. By 1984, it was already too late, as signs of Pirat’s increasing lameness put an all too early end to his career – his eyes began to lose their shine. Though I was surrounded by German Team professionals, no one could pinpoint the source of the lameness. I searched for answers conferring with professionals to confirm the diagnosis — irreparable cartilage damage of his scapula.

Although at the time I was an apprentice saddler, I had no clue that it was the saddle that had caused him all this pain and lameness. Years later I later understood how the construction of his saddle caused the lameness. With every step, Pirat’s shoulders were hit by forward facing tree points, the too narrow gullet impacted the spinal processes, ligaments, and nerves along his back, with the gullet plate likely pinching and impeding his wither muscle as he tried to jump and move. I had followed the advice of experts, but the result was a ‘textbook case’ of torture for my poor horse. My horse had suffered from an ill-fitting saddle. I will never forget nor forgive myself for this. Because of him, I want to help as many horses as possible avoid the same fate. I founded Saddlefit 4 Life and wrote “Suffering in Silence” – in dedication to my horse Pirat”.

 

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His articles are the most complete about the subject I’ve ever seen. Very valuable for me to learn about saddle fitting as a rider and veterinarian. We treat a lot of back problems, most of them due to the saddle. Jochen is not only a great master of saddle fitting, but someone who really cares about horses. It was a privilege to work with him.

— Solange Mikail, DVM, MS: Owner of Equine Rehabilitation Center, Brazil

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