Recommended Reading List

Suffering in Silence -The Saddle-Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses
– by Jochen Schleese, CMS CSFT CSE

Humans and horses have been joined for thousands of years, and for much of that time, one thing has served as the primary point of contact between them: the saddle.  However, for many horses and many riders, the saddle has been no less than a refined means of torture. Horses have long suffered from tree points impeding the movement of their shoulder blades; too narrow gullet channels damaging the muscles and nerves along the vertebrae; and too long panels putting harmful pressure on the reflex point in the loin area. Male riders saddle up despite riding-related pain and the potential for serious side effects, such as impotence; female riders endure backache, slipped discs, and bladder infections, to name just a few common issues.

We must ask ourselves: How much better could we ride and how much better could our horses perform if our saddles fit optimally? If they accommodated the horse’s unique conformation and natural asymmetry? If they were built for the differing anatomy of men and women? The answers to all these questions are right here, right now, in this book.


Recognizing the Horse in Pain and What You Can Do About It – Dr. Joanna Robson, DVM

Dr. Robson discusses basic anatomy, recognizing training and behavioral issues as signs of pain, saddle fitting and how to fit your own saddle, hoof basics, alternative medicine, oral and injectable supplements; includes stretching exercises, effects of training equipment, and full chiropractic and acupuncture cases.


The Horse’s Pain Free Back and Saddle Fitting Book – Dr. Joyce Harmann, DVM

In this highly illustrated, comprehensive book, Dr. Harman reveals that 75 percent of horses that are chronically stiff, crooked, resistant, or disagreeable are reacting to back pain caused by an ill-fitting saddle. It is made astoundingly clear that the results of conscientious saddle fitting are a horse that performs eagerly and moves freely, and a rider who finds it easy to correct her position, communicate her aids, and sit on her horse in a relaxed and balanced manner.


The Rider’s Pain Free Back – Dr. James Warson, MD

Over 90 percent of the US population seeks help for back pain at one point or another during the course of their life. If you’re a horseperson, back pain is of particular concern as it not only robs you of the joys of riding—it threatens your livelihood, as well. Dr. Jim Warson – a neurosurgeon who also happens to be a life-long horseman—provides all the practical information you need to understand the diagnosis and treatment of back pain.


The Rider Forms the Horse – Udo Buerger

One of the best books ever written on training of the horse from biomechanical/anatomical point of view.  Every equestrian should understand both human and equine anatomy. Following what this book says will enable your horse to remain sound and healthy and at the same time serve your needs – highly recommended for every equestrian.


Tug of War – Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, DVM

German rider and equine veterinarian Dr. Gerd Heuschmann is well-known in dressage circles—admired for his plain speaking regarding what he deems the incorrect and damaging training methods commonly employed by riders and trainers involved in competition today.


An Anatomy of Riding – Volker and Heinrich Schusdziarra, MDs

This very clinically descriptive book is about the anatomy of the human being as it affects riding. It requires a concentrated focus to understand the concepts described in the book, and is written at a highly technical level.


Anatomy of Dressage – Volker and Heinrich Schusdziarra, MDs

Only with a working knowledge of human anatomy can a rider fully understand the instructions given for correct position in the saddle and explanations of the movements. Originally published in Germany and previously published in English as Anatomy of Riding, Anatomy of Dressage presents a clear overview of anatomy as it relates to riding, written for the layman. Working from this anatomical perspective, the authors, who in addition to being father and son are also medical doctors, discuss the individual requirements of riding theory. Many of their conclusions may be surprising to readers, such as the notion that it is physically impossible to “brace the lower back” as we are so often advised by instructors.

An absolutely fascinating read, Anatomy of Dressage is required reading for the USDF’s Instructor Certification program.


Effective Teaching & Riding: Exploring Balance and Motion – Dr. Eckart Meyners

Helps the reader to develop the proper seat for classical dressage by teaching focused exercises to attain proper balance in motion, while discussing the psychology of the interaction between horse and rider.


Top Massage for Top Balance – Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt, LMT

A distinctive approach that combines the safest and most beneficial massage techniques to optimize horse health and fitness, using proven massage routines and stretching exercises in a specific sequence to benefit your horse. This is a great self-educating book that will assist in maintaining horse wellness and fitness.


Equine Behaviour – A Guide for Veterinarians & Equine Scientists – Dr. Paul McGreevy


Ridden – Dressage from the Horse’s Point of View – Ulrike Thiel
What goes through the horse’s mind when he is over-flexed and over-aided… when he is forced into biomechanically unsound positions? What happens when a prey animal (the horse) must learn to defeat his own preservation instinct and perform on cue with a predator (humankind) clinging to his back? In this important book, Dr. Ulrike Thiel-a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, sport psychologist, dressage rider, riding instructor, judge, and Xenophon Society classical trainer-examines these important questions, and others.


Balancing Act – Dr. Gerd Heuschmann

Exploring what it means to be a responsible rider, this book asks whether, in today’s society, it is indeed possible for riders in any horse sport to put the good of the horse first and foremost—most pointedly above ambition and fame.








Bareback Riding with Wendy Murdoch – CRK Training

Learn more about bareback riding and the dangers for horse and rider in this short video.

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Equine Professional

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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