Saddlefit 4 Life® Educational Seminar and Course Offerings – North America

Saddlefit 4 Life® (S4L) is a global network of equine professionals working together to protect horse and rider from long-term damage. S4L offers a variety of educational options at various locations throughout the year – including one hour on-site lectures at barns, presentations at horse shows and trade show/expos, as well as more intensive 2-Day Seminars and Certification Courses.  Saddlefit 4 Life®’s comprehensive saddle fitting philosophy and certification programs are valued by equine professionals from many disciplines and are endorsed by The United States Dressage Federation (USDF), The Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA), American Riding Instructors Association (ARIA), The Association of Professional Trainers – Germany (Berufsreiterverband) and the Ontario Equestrian Federation (OEF).

Saddlefit 4 Life® currently offers the following :

  • Introductory barn demo (1-2 hours)
  • Lecture (1 day)
  • Course #1 – ‘Introduction to Equine Ergonomics’ (2 days)
  • Course #2-#3 (combined 5 days) – ‘Primary Equine Ergonomics (#1 prerequisite for combined Courses #2-#3); and Course #3 is the Certified Equine Ergonomist Course.
  • Certification/examination
  • Optional 1 Day training with a CSE or CEE (available before or after certification)

Saddlefit 4 Life® Academy is on several continents and therefore prices and course descriptions may vary based on location & currency of hosting country. For courses taught in English within Canada, United States, and the United Kingdom please contact For courses taught in English in Germany, South Africa and Brazil and courses taught in German within Germany, please contact Saddlefit 4 Life® Akademie in Germany.


Barn Demo

  • 1-2 hour lecture at any barn in conjunction with a scheduled clinic with any Schleese representatives, with refreshments
  • Barn owner or trainer who organizes attends for free
  • Each attendee receives a DVD and Saddlefit E-Guide
  • Organizer will be given several topics to choose from
  • S4L provides promotional material

Cost: $45

Class Size: Minimum 10 participants

This 1-Day introductory lecture is ideally suited for equine professionals and horse enthusiasts. The knowledge you gain will augment your current career or interests.

Curriculum Topics

• One day course, 3 hours theory and 3 hours demo
• Theory will cover basic anatomy of horse and rider as they relate to saddle fit, saddle support
area, ‘reflex’ points resulting in negative behavior, 9 points of saddle fit
• Demo will include chalk drawings, good vs bad saddles for gender, and aspects of dynamic saddle fit (this is not a hands on course for the students)
• Each student receives a workbook, the S4L DVD and Saddlefit E-Guide

Course Duration: 1 Day (9:00 am  – 4:00 pm)

Cost: $297
Discounted Early Bird: $247 (up until 30 days prior to course start date)

Class Size: Minimum 10, maximum 20 participants


  • Theoretical Classroom Instruction
  • Practical in Barn Demonstrations
  • Curriculum Workbook
  • Saddle Fit Checklist Kit

Course1_Image1 Course1_Image2

“All About the Horse”

This course is the first step to becoming an Equine Ergonomist and is suited for equine professionals and interested equestrians. This course is all about the horse, incorporating a series of practical workshops in the barn and classroom seminars. This 2-day course is the prerequisite to the Certified Equine Ergonomist course, but can be taken as a stand-alone, more detailed version of the one day lecture.

Curriculum Topics

  • Includes both theoretical classroom instruction and in-barn hands-on demos and practice
  • Philosophy of Saddlefit 4 Life, brief intro to historical and technological aspects,
  • Introduction to historical and technological aspects, anatomy of horse and rider, saddle support area, ‘reflex’ points resulting in negative reactions
  • Static saddle fit to the horse and demo of dynamic saddle fit evaluation

Course Duration: 2 Days

Cost: $597 (including workbook, 2 DVDs (one to keep and one to share), and the e-guide)
Discounted Early Bird: $497 (up until 30 days prior to start date)

Prerequisite to Course 2:

  • You may wish to combine Course #1 with Courses #2-#3 immediately following for 7 days combined (please inquire about pricing options).
  • Recommendation: We recommend that you read “Suffering in Silence” by Jochen Schleese prior to starting the course.


  • Theoretical Classroom Instruction
  • Practical in Barn Demonstrations
  • Curriculum Workbook



“All About the Horse, Rider & Dynamic Fit”

Combined courses #2 and #3 (total 5 days) is the next step in becoming a Certified Equine Ergonomist. A Certified Equine Ergonomist (CEE) works with riders to diagnose, analyze, and make recommendations on saddles and saddle fit; as a certified professional, you are able to augment your income.  Certified Equine Ergonomists work collaboratively with retailers, saddlers, and Certified Saddle Ergonomists. This is a 5-day course which will enable students to do the externship to become a CEE.

Curriculum Topics

  • Review and add more depth to the Introductory Course #1
  • Equine ergonomics, measuring the horse, rider, and saddle
  • How to obtain a detailed horse description
  • Assessing saddle fit to horse and rider (how a saddle affects the rider’s position and how the rider then affects the horse), tree angle and width
  • Assessing static and dynamic fit
  • Assessing saddle condition, considering the various disciplines and saddle manufacturers
  • Formulating viable solutions, and testing.
    Students completing this course successfully will be able to purchase the measurement tools to do the externship required to become a Certified Equine Ergonomist ($280)

Course Duration: 5 Days


  • Must have attended Course #1 within last 12 months
  • Must have read “Suffering in Silence” by Jochen Schleese

Cost: $2497
Discount Early Bird: $2197 (up until 60 days prior to start date)

Prerequisites to Certification:

  • Correct completion of 30 independent evaluations

Class Size: Limited to 10 participants


  • Theoretical Classroom Instruction
  • Practical in Barn Demonstrations
  • Curriculum Workbook


Saddlefit 4 Life Equine Ergonomist Certification (CEE) Program

Upon correctly completing the required 30 Externship S4L Evaluations coupled with the required purchase a Saddlefit 4 Life Tool Kit ($285) containing the necessary measurement tools, the CEE candidate will then be certified and issue an S4L certificate card with its associated expiry date. Re-certification is available annually at no charge and is required every five years.


Optional 1 Day Training with a S4L Certified Saddle or Equine Ergonomist (available before or after certification).

The Equine Ergonomist will have the option to take 1-day additional training with a S4L certified CSE or CEE

Cost: $250
Prerequisites: must have completed Course #1,#2 and #3 within the last 12 months

Cancellation/Refund Policy

Cancellation prior to 60 days before course start date will ensure you receive a full refund of any course fees paid minus a $100 processing fee. Within the 60-30 days before the course start date, a refund will only be made with a doctor’s note and will be subject to a $100 processing fee. Within 30 days of the course start date, course fees are forfeited unless the spot is filled with someone else. Alternatively, we can keep your paid fees on account for a year for you to use at a subsequent course if the position is not filled.

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Equine Professional

Jochen Schleese is truly a master in his field, with comprehensive knowledge stemming from not only his training in saddlery but also his achievements as a rider – and he uses these attributes to reach a level of excellence in this multi-faceted industry. Jochen offers an alternative to the industry. The saddle is the connection between horse and rider and plays a massive role in this partnership. Only a balanced rider not forced into position can adhere to the goals of ‘classical riding.’ The saddle trees should accommodate specific and individual requirements for female and male riders. Only a rider with a properly made and fitted saddle can give his horse the proper aids so the horse can move free.  Although there has been much improvement in the last 20 years there are still a lot of badly fitting saddles. The industry simply requires better education, such as Saddlefit 4 Life® is giving.

      Balancing_Act_Heuschmann_BookScannedImageGerd Profile Pic 150px S4L site   Horse Roll Kur - Video Icon              S4L in Germany with JS and Gerd Heuschmann       A prerequisite for harmony between horse and rider is the pairing of a healthy, mature horse with a practiced, empathetic, sensitive, and well-trained rider.  The saddle is the connection between these two totally disparate living beings: it will either bring them together or distance them - biomechanically speaking.  This makes a well-fitting saddle key to ensure commonality in motion, as well as playing a critical role in ensuring successful training for horse and rider.  It can help a rider with a good seat find harmony with the horse, but can also restrict and prevent this if it is not fit properly to both. A well-fitting saddle will quickly allow a good rider on a young horse to attain suppleness.  Still, even the best rider will find it impossible to reach harmonious movement on the horse’s back if the saddle doesn’t fit. There is only one thing that even the best fitting saddle doesn’t guarantee, however: it will never counteract the effect of an unbalanced, tense, rough, and overall poor rider. As has recently been discussed in numerous print publications, riding has become rather far removed from its former idealistic representations, especially dressage, which has been brought into a negative light by the actions of a few controversial trainers in the industry. The negative consequences for horse and rider have been and continue to be illuminated, discussed, and evaluated.  A few saddle manufacturers have reacted to the described issues and made some major design changes in their products. In my opinion, the main issue is that a rider will have difficulty in finding an independent, pliable and balanced seat if the horse is held in a position of constant tension with the rider pushing forward in the seat to go forwards while pulling on the bit.  The saddle now needs to afford the rider additional support to augment this increased and constant tension on the reins. As a result, many modern dressage saddles now have extremely deep seats with high cantles, and huge knee rolls. They allow the rider to wedge himself securely and tensely in a deep, non-pliable seat behind giant knee rolls and hang in the reins with tight hands. Many saddle manufacturers are aware of this phenomenon and yet are powerless to change it for economic and market demand reasons. As an experienced rider and certified master saddler, Jochen Schleese has taken an alternate direction with his saddle production, which orients itself towards an unencumbered rider sitting on a relaxed horse. Only such a rider – completely balanced and not forced into position with either his seat or his legs – can adhere to the goals of ‘classical riding’.  But Jochen’s philosophy of saddle fit doesn’t stop here: the trees are made to accommodate the specific and individual requirements of both male and female riders.   Only a rider with a properly made and fitted saddle can give his horse the proper aids without clamping the thighs, relying on the hands, and sitting unbalanced on its back. We all want a horse that moves freely and without restriction.  The saddle should not cause it pain or hinder its movement. This means that the back muscles need to move freely, which is furthered by a well-fitting saddle (that may also have to take any asymmetry or unevenness into consideration).  These are also parts of the equation considered by Jochen in his work.

— Gerd Heuschmann, DVM Author of Tug of War and The Balancing Act

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