California Riding Magazine • April, 2013

Who is Jochen Schleese? 
The short answer: Certified Master Saddler
and Saddle Ergonomist.

Jochen Schleese

The well-being, comfort and back health for both rider and horse depend on your team of professionals working together. Here's how professionals in Jochen's Saddlefit 4 Life® global network answer the question of who Jochen is and how he has impacted the industry. Also, some facts they learned and what they said about the 'pioneer' of protecting horse and rider from long term damage. 

FACT: The saddle is the interface distributing the rider's weight evenly over the horse's saddle support area, while not negatively impacting reflex points causing pain or discomfort.

Joanna Robson, DVM, Author of Recognizing the Horse in Pain and What You Can Do About It.

"Jochen saved my horse – even the vet school couldn't provide an explanation of his symptoms. Understanding how the horse dictates saddle fit added a whole new dimension to my practice and helped countless clients and their horses. Passion for true horsemanship brings us all together."

Jochen Schleese teaches 80 point Diagnostic Evaluation in Equine Ergonomist Course.

FACT: Many female riders experience back, hip, knee and pelvic pain and recurring bladder infections simply because they ride in a saddle designed for a man.

James Warson, MD: Author of The Rider's Pain Free Back.

"Jochen Schleese is the only saddle maker who incorporates human anatomy into his saddles – the result being the ultimate in centered riding, performance and function to connect horse and rider."

Jane Savoie & Moshi. "I was astounded by what I learned!"
FACT: Poor saddle fit to rider manifests itself in a chair seat, knees and toes turned out, swinging legs and being out of alignment.

Jane Savoie: author, trainer, clinician, Olympian.

"Jochen's seminars are a must for anyone wanting to learn about correct saddle fit for both horse and rider. After a lifetime in the horse business, I was astounded by what I learned. If you care about your horse's comfort, run (don't walk!) to his seminars!"

Jochen and Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, DVM demonstrate dynamic fit.

FACT: Saddles must be regularly re-fitted to developing horses because of changes through the wither area; training impacts the size and shape of the rib cage and shoulder angle.

Gerd Heuschmann, DVM: Author of Tug of War and The Balancing Act.
Jochen Schleese 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.' Schleese's trees are made to 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 freely. Jochen truly is a master in his field, with comprehensive knowledge stemming not only from his training in saddlery, but his achievements as a rider – allowing him to reach excellence in this multi-faceted industry. 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."

Walter A. Zettl, Olympic Level Dressage trainer, Professional Trainer Extraordinaire.

It is easy to recognize how much Jochen Schleese cares about the comfort and well-being of the horse. He uses illustrations and descriptions not only to discuss what a saddle should look like and that it should fit, but also how it should be fit to individual horses. Only then can the animal carry the unaccustomed weight of a rider and the saddle without pain.

Jochen with Davi Carrano at Brazil Veterinary Conference.

FACT: Saddles too long for the horse's back are driven forward on the shoulder during movement, resulting in damage to scapular cartilage.
Davi Carrano: Head Trainer, Manège Sant Adelaide, Sao Paulo, Brazil where Jochen lectured at the South American Veterinary Conference.

"The teachings of Jochen are in accordance with the work we do in French Classical Dressage, seeking to ride in lightness and suppleness. Impressive developments really become obvious with the saddle – using proper equipment significantly shortens the time to achieve goals!"

Solange Mikail, DVM, MS. Equine Rehabilitation Center, Brazil

"His articles are the most complete about the subject I've ever seen. Very valuable for me to learn about saddle fitting as a rider and veterinarian. We treat a lot of back problems, most of them due to the saddle. Jochen is not only a great master of saddle fitting, but someone who really cares about horses. It is a privilege to work with him."

Jochen instructs veterinarians and trainers in Brazil.

FACT:The channel should be wide enough to prevent damage to spinal processes and vertebrae.

Heike Kemmer: 2008 Olympic Dressage Team Gold and Individual Bronze Medalist.

"Jochen has supported the positive development of my horses. His saddle fit evaluations are a lesson in anatomy – the functionality and cooperation of the bones and muscles of horse and rider. My horses now have more freedom in all the gaits."
FACT: Wither clearance should be 2-3 fingers at the side and at the top. Saddles pinching at the withers cause the horse to stop instinctively and hollow its back.

Carolin Schmidt: Executive Director "Bundesvereinigung der Berufsreiter" (Association of Professional Riders) Germany.

"Jochen teaches professional riders factually about the importance of good saddle fit in such a manner that it is a pleasure to continue working with him.
FACT: Saddles with rear facing tree points allow shoulders to rotate freely upwards/backwards, preventing chipping of scapular cartilage.

Peter Horobin: Master Saddler, Horobin Saddlery - Australia.

"The Saddlefit 4 Life® philosophy is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition and it has impacted riders of all levels. No one in the equestrian world is more passionate about his work for the good of the horses than
Jochen Schleese."

Isabella Sonntag: Publisher WuWei Verlag Germany.

"There is no other alternative for me and my horse. The industry needs more authentic visionaries like Jochen who have a real love for horses. Everyone would benefit- horses, riders – the industry!"

Derry McCormick: Director of Administrative Affairs, Equine Sciences Academy.

"We applaud Jochen's tireless efforts in researching, studying, compiling and now sharing this information worldwide. We are proud to have him on our world class Advisory Panel, incorporating his invaluable teachings into our comprehensive curriculum of horse health and management to benefit the horse."

Jochen teaches seminars, lectures and Equine Ergonomist Courses around the world. At Equitana Germany 2013, where he was a guest clinician, WuWei launched his book, The Silent Killer, soon to be released in English as Suffering in Silence. To spread the Saddlefit 4 Life® gospel of 'horses aren't machines,' invited guests view screenings of Beyond The 9 Points of Saddle Fitting, Jochen's latest DVD.

Lastly, Linda Hoover: US Refined Horsemanship Association.

"If we are to turn the tide in a direction that honors the horse in and out of competition, it will be through the joint effort of a committed few who lead the way and provide a path for others to follow. If we meet the needs of the horse, the horse will generously give back."

And that sums up the man Jochen Schleese.

Article provided by Schleese. For more information, visit www.saddlefit4life.com and www.saddlesforwomen.com "and Guys too!"