Fit is Everything - Infinitely Adjustable for Optimal Comfort & Performance!

Jochen Schleese – Biography

Eventer

Former member of the German young rider’s 3-Day Event team, Jochen Schleese qualified for the European Championships in 1984. Unfortunately, he had to retire his horse due to lameness, which abruptly ended his riding career. Years later, through research Jochen discovered his horse’s lameness was caused by damage to the scapular cartilage from an ill-fitting saddle. This was the catalyst for Jochen’s life-long mission to prevent saddle related damage for all horses.

Jochen Schleese - circa 1980's Germany.

Jochen Schleese – circa 1980’s Germany.

Certified Master Saddler

Jochen graduated from Passier in 1985 as the youngest Certified Master Saddler in Germany at the time. He came to Canada as the Official Saddler for the 1986 World Dressage Championships.  Jochen registered the trade of saddlery in North America in 1990, and operated the only authorized training facility for this trade in Ontario.  He discovered that many female riders struggle with pain and health issues from riding in saddles designed for male riders (due to pelvic and anatomical differences).  Schleese Saddlery Service (1986) is the world leader in gender correct saddles, which can be fit and adjusted according to the biomechanics of movement and the development of the horse, through personal on-site saddle fit evaluations.

Educator

Jochen Schleese established Saddlefit 4 Life® (2006) as an independent organization to teach saddle fit evaluation and analyses, and certify professionals in equine and saddle ergonomics. Jochen lectures at the German Professional Trainers Association in Warendorf Germany, at veterinary conferences in Brazil and is a frequent clinician at trade shows and equine forums worldwide. Saddlefit 4 Life® courses are accredited by the United States Dressage Federation, the Certified Horsemanship Association and Ontario Equestrian Federation. Jochen Schleese is on the advisory board of the Equine Sciences Academy and an education partner with the American Riding Instructor Association and Ontario Equestrian Federation.

SIS and TSK booksPublished Author

Jochen is author of “The Silent Killer” – the Painful Truth of Saddle Fitting and Why it Doesn’t Work” (Wu Wei Germany 2012) and “Suffering in Silence – the Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses” (Trafalgar 2013). Selected as the Official Saddler to the World Cup Finals in Las Vegas (2005, 2007, and 2009),  Jochen Schleese has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and Discovery Channel (“How it’s Made”) and has written articles for over 28 equine publications.

Awards

In 2010 Jochen was part of the educational roster at WEG (World Equestrian Games), and is the recipient of numerous business and trade achievement awards. In 2014 he was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year (Chamber of Commerce) for ongoing innovation, research and development, growth, products and services, creative business initiatives, and community service.

Read why Jochen does what he does.

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Testimonials

I just wanted to thank you for the recent article you wrote on saddle fit and hyper-flexion. In fact, I want to thank you for ALL the publications and electronic clips you have created.  Your dedication to improving the welfare of horses through education is inspiring and a principle we try to live by here. We work hard every day to make sure our horses are healthy and happy and that their needs as horses are always met, before ever considering what we need from them. I am always eager to devour your articles and webinars because of the emphasis on the horse as a living being whose physical structures have specific functions, and how to tailor our own desires/wants to work WITH these structures instead of against them. When I first learned principles of saddle fitting, I learned only about the line of the panel following the horse’s back to ensure there was full contact and no bridging, about 2-3 fingers of space between top of wither and bottom of pommel, and the classic idea (at the time) that the pommel and cantle should sit level if the saddle was in balance on the horse’s back.  Thinking back on that makes me sad that I may have made horses uncomfortable because of what I didn’t know… Through my own education endeavors, and with a strong assist from your seminars, I now understand about the saddle support area, not having a saddle riding the scapula (or causing it to jam against it with every step), not having a saddle too far back, and the importance of aligning the seat of the saddle with the optimal carrying spot at the base of the horse’s withers.  I understand that a saddle can ‘fit’ but the horse may not like the feel of it, and to look first at fit and comfort when a horse starts developing ‘attitude’. I’ve learned that a saddle can ‘fit’ in the barn but you have to confirm the fit with a person in the tack- because weight in the saddle changes things. Given we are all animal lovers, we want what’s best for the horses, even if that means they need a different job in order to be happy.  We are proud that our herd looks healthy and happy and that not one horse is ring sour. Reading your recent article, I was struck with a need to express my gratitude for the horse person you have helped me to become.  I wanted you to know about the profound impact your words and philosophy has had, not just on me, but the horses, clients and trainers I have worked with, numbering collectively in the hundreds. Thank you again, I look forward to future articles.  

— Seana Waldon - Ontario

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