Message from Jochen
How much better could we ride and how much better could our horses perform if our saddles fit optimally, accommodated each horse’s unique conformation and natural asymmetry, and were built for the differing anatomy of men and women? Horses should not suffer for the ignorance of the rider, nor should they be farmed out or put down because of severe, irreparable damage caused by poor saddle fit.
I wrote Suffering in Silence on the basis of my own 34+ years of experience working in the equestrian industry. I incorporated insights gained from my own apprenticeship and master’s training, from associating with numerous other industry professionals and picking their brains, and from doing evaluations (personally and through my company) on over approximately 150,000 horses (reword) of all breeds, ages, condition, and ability during these years. I hope you will look at your saddle and saddle fit a little more critically in the future, and use the guidelines in Suffering in Silence to evaluate your personal status quo. Perhaps you will go to your saddle fitter and ask him/her to do a proper evaluation book. Saddlefit 4 Life® knowledge not inherent in many people who are working with saddles in the industry – your fitter, saddler, or tack shop owner may make recommendations that are in direct opposition to what you have learned here. You will also experience skepticism – ‘it’s all smoke and mirrors’, ‘absolutely unnecessary to put so much emphasis on saddle fit’. People may try to persuade you that the saddle you just bought is absolutely the best thing for you and your horse.
Don’t let them bamboozle you! You need to ask the right questions of your saddle fitter – to reassure yourself that either he is right or that he doesn’t really have a clue. You need to be steadfast. Insist on the answers you need to make an educated decision. Question the qualifications and training of the people you work with – don’t be afraid to ask!” I personally have fit and evaluated more horses in my life than most saddle fitters or tack shop owners. I have probably learned more and taught more about saddle fit than most people who call themselves experts in this field. Decide who you want to put your faith in. YOU carry the responsibility for the well-being of your horse. It’s really only common sense and simple logic.
Horses should not experience discomfort, pain and irreparable damage caused by ill-fitting tack, due to lack of knowledge. Nothing compares to the feeling you experience when you know you have helped your best friend!
I wish you continued success, health and happiness with your horse; I wish for you a well-fitting saddle that will provide enjoyment with your horse; I wish you access to a well-trained and competent circle of professionals caring your horse for your ongoing enjoyment of riding for years to come!