The Saddle-Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses (198 pages)


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 physical 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 the riding-related pain and the potential for serious side effects, such as impotence, while female riders endure a 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.  Master saddler and saddle ergonomist Jochen Schleese is committed to finding new ways to ensure the health, comfort, and performance of horses and their riders.

Forwards written by Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, DVM author of ‘Tug of War’: Classical Versus Modern Dressage and ‘The Balancing Act’; Walter A. Zettl – also know as WAZ, one of the world’s most accomplished and revered masters of classical dressage and sought after clinician and coach, German dressage rider and Olympic-level dressage horse trainer; and Andrea Koslik a physiotherapist and instructor of Rider Biomechanics at the German National Riding School in Warendorf.


Book Reviews

In this extract from his book Suffering in Silence, the saddle-fit link to physical and psychological trauma in horses (J A Allen, £19.99), Jochen Schleese considers commercial dilemmas facing the saddle industry…

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“This book is lovely! It’s surprisingly very in depth and covers way more than I expected, from saddle pads, girths, riders’ and horses’ imbalances, muscular conformation, as well as saddle fit and much, much more. This book is a very easy read with tons of pictures and diagrams to help explain each point. Every page if full of ‘ah ha’ moments. Schleese has obviously dedicated his life to the study of saddle making and fit and his passion and knowledge shines through in this book. If you are a rider please take the time to get educated about saddle fit by reading this book or invest in having a saddle fitter look at how your saddle fits you and your horse. Saddle fit is such an important piece of the puzzle to making a happy, healthy horse and therefore happy rider. The only down fall is there is not any information on Western saddle fit but I think one can apply many of the English saddle fit principles in this book to Western saddles. Thank you Jochen Schleese for writing this book!”


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Equine Professional

Margaret Boyce

For me as a coach and judge, we absolutely do not want to see all our years of hard work and dedication go down the drain because of ill-fitting saddles on our horses. Saddlefit 4 Life®’s amazing developments, have absolutely benefitted the riders but more importantly - for the horse's long term health with immediate and visible results. Seeing is believing! I saw a close friend of mine whose horse has been misdiagnosed for years as to why he was not happy in his work. This horse had his hocks injected; he had an MRI and several other medical procedures trying to find the answer as to why this TB gelding was so resistant even in the most basic work. This horse saw saddlers, chiropractor, massage therapist - the owner felt she did everything she could for this horse and nothing seemed to help. Even the veterinary clinic found and treated the symptoms but never found the cause for this horse's pain. In the diagnostic saddle fit evaluation, Jochen discovered several major fitting issues on this horse and immediately set to work like a surgeon, fitting the horse instantly with a new saddle and the results were beyond amazing. In all the years I have known this horse - I have never seen him produce a regular three beat canter under saddle until that very day. Once all the pressure points were relieved on this extremely sensitive horse, he moved with so much freedom and regularity and offered no resistance - as a judge and coach I just started applauding and crying at the same time!

— Margaret Boyce, Equine Canada Certified Dressage Coach and Judge

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