The Silent Killer — Sattelanpassung nur für den Moment?!

by Jochen Schleese CMS, CSFT, CSE

The Silent Killer – The Painful Truth of Saddle Fitting and Why it Doesn’t Work!

The subtitle of Jochen Schleese’s first book — published in hardcover by WuWei in Germany and now translated for the North American market under the title Suffering in Silence — clearly states that there are issues inherent in the generally accepted principles of saddle fitting that affect the success of making saddle fit work. The Silent Killer does not simply imply that there is a choice for correct saddle fitting; it acknowledges that there are saddles being made and fitted incorrectly and the book will inform the reader of the suggested philosophy to consider when having his/her saddles fit.

Certified master Saddler and Saddle Ergonomist Jochen Schleese is well know in equestrian circles for his work to educate the riding public through his network of equine professionals “Saddlefit 4 Life® who are dedicated to protecting horse and rider for long-term damage.  His innovative saddle designs are well known in the dressage world for truly altering performances and his consuming passion for the well-being of the horse has lead to his involvement as a founding member of HIPPOH (Horse Industry Professionals Protecting Our Horses) Foundation. This book is meant to be a no holds-barred, extremely honest (and perhaps brutal at times) representation of the facts surrounding saddle manufacturers, saddle sales, and saddle fit as existing in today’s market.  The rider and the reader need to have the tools and the information at their disposal to allow them to ask the hoard questions necessary from both their saddle provider and their saddle fit service person.

As per Jochen; “My hope and my intent is to enlighten; the thirst for knowledge has become paramount in this industry at this time and the target audience continually haunts the equestrian chat rooms on the internet looking for advice and opinions, reads the latest books (as well as hopefully this one!), attends the ‘hot’ clinician seminars, and in the end hope that what they are doing is what’s best for their horse. It is some of these pervasive myths of ‘what is considered right’ that I hope to dispel and give food for thought too.

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

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 Posts

Recent Comments

    Archives

    Categories

    Meta