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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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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