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

EXPLORING THE PAINFUL TRUTH

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.

ORDER BOOK


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…

Download Review to Read More

“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!”

Liz

Find an event near you

Equine Professional
Testimonials

andrea Jochen Schleese’s experiences and ‘aha’ moments while working as a saddler are truly unique. It is truly a great honour that he shares this knowledge with us in Suffering in Silence. The use of his plaster cast method to take ‘butt imprints’ of many men and women exemplifies the sometimes circuitous route he used to achieve this level of knowledge. This methodology clearly demonstrated the differences between male and female pelvises and was integrated into saddle designs for the benefit of both. Riding is a very demanding sport, and the only one in which the athlete is dependent on the interaction of another being in order to move. As a physiotherapist and a rider myself, I can only state how important it is that finally the differences between male and female anatomy have been taken into consideration to positively impact biomechanics. The topic of saddle fit is a key consideration when I teach my course in biomechanics of the rider at the German National Riding School in Warendorf.  The rider forms the horse and the saddle forms the rider – these two statements are not mutually exclusive. I often compare the saddle to a shoe, which should be comfortable to wear – except that this ‘shoe’ needs to fit two beings (horse and rider) equally well at the same time. This leaves the saddlemaker with a huge responsibility – one which requires a good basic knowledge in human and equine anatomy. Although many of my students are not consciously aware of the anatomical differences in male and female pelvises, they are nevertheless adamant that a saddle should work well for either gender (which infers that these differences need to be taken into consideration during design). I can only expect good things to result in the sport of riding when riders, trainers, veterinarians, saddlers and physiotherapists combine their expertise and experiences for the common good of horse and rider. Only then can the saddler fulfill his role as interface between horse and rider and open the door for discourse. This in a nutshell is the philosophy of Jochen Schleese. Knee rolls are of specific interest to me personally. Through personal observation, which is substantiated by research, the opportunities for human activity and movement continue to dwindle nowadays. Children spend much of their time in inactivity, watching TV, playing games on their computers and cell phones. The result is necessary prosthetic compensation to make up for this loss in muscle development; for riders it is the addition of huge knee rolls on the saddle, which help to keep the rider in a static position while hindering movement.  A pliable seat for the rider and taking up the rhythm in motion are no longer achievable. Although at first glance it may seem that the rider is sitting properly balanced and straight, it soon becomes apparent that the rider is actually sitting stiffly but thinking that this is the way it should feel. The complementary muscle interactions are not in harmonious states of contraction and relaxation, which means that the rider cannot give the aids properly. How can she properly relay the message to the horse to achieve rhythm, suppleness, and connection – which are only the requirements from the first training scale? The rider feels cramped, experiences pain and possibly long term damage (up to and including slipped discs and torn muscles).  This is the possible result regardless which discipline you ride in – which is why the saddle should not only be correct for the rider’s gender and anatomy, but also appropriate for the riding discipline.

— Andrea Koslik, Rider and Physiotherapist

Recent Comments

    Meta