Saddlefit 4 Life Course Week Coming December 2014!!

The next course week for the saddle fit 4 life education training is tentatively scheduled for the week of December 3rd through December 7th, 2014.  For more information and registration, please visit:

Saddlefit 4 Life® 
Protecting Horse and Rider from Pain and Long-Term Damage

Equine Ergonomics Curriculum Outline


  • Equine Back Health – Current moral and legal dilemmas concerning issues in saddle fit
  • Historical Perspectives and Current trends facing equine professionals and riders
  • Equine Protection at what cost? Am I protected?
  • Your role in the team of equine professionals helping horses live life to the fullest
  • Professional and rider education – key to improving horse’s comfort, freedom and performance

Fundamental Principles of Equine and Human Anatomy Crucial to Achieving Proper Saddle Fit

  • Recent research findings in the equine back every rider needs to know
  • The gender of saddle fit – anatomical gender differences
  • Implications of Rider Gender for:
    a.  saddle design for women and men – relevance to the fit and construction
    b.  communication and comfort for the horse
    c.  back health for horse and rider
  • Growth stages of the horse and saddle fit requirements
  • Saddle fitting science and art – saddle fitter methods and qualifications

Applying Saddle Fitting Principles to the Conformation of the ‘Horse in Motion’

  • understanding equine anatomy and how it relates to the fit of the saddle
  • analysis of dust patterns and the saddle support area
  • tree angle and width, gullet width, channel requirements
  • implications of biomechanics of movement, training and development
  • protecting the horse’s skin, nerves, cartilage, spinal ligament system, musculature
  • factors to consider when selecting a saddle for optimal fit, comfort and performace
  • evaluation of saddle pads, girths, air flocking, treeless saddles

Identifying Common Saddle Fit Challenges leading to Back Soreness and Behavioural Issues

  • recognize signs of poor saddle fit and secondary back pain for horse and rider
  • prevention of pain and long term damage to horse and to rider
  • solutions: long-term versus short-term

Saddle Tree Technology

  • review of various trees and innovations
  • how the tree affects the comfort and health of the horse

Steps to Check Saddle Fit

  • diagnostic tools, systems and aids to evaluate saddle fit
  • 80 point evaluation of saddle fit
  • use of ‘Professionals Kit’
  • saddle fit aids and solutions

Saddle Fitting to Horse and Rider

  • evaluation of adjustable saddles and non-adjustable saddles and their implications for fitting
  • understanding the theory of saddle tree adjustments and re-flocking
  • measuring of rider


SufferinginSilence-CoverS4LsiteNew Book Explores the Painful Truth of Saddle Fit and Offers Innovative Solutions for Horse and Rider

Each year riders, trainers, and horse owners spend fortunes (literally) on veterinary attention, farrier work, pharmaceuticals, supplements, and physical therapies, all in an attempt to keep their horses healthy, sound, and performing their best. They invest time and money in finding their own boots, breeches, helmets, and chaps to ensure what they wear in the saddle is safe, comfortable, flattering, and right for the job at hand.

And yet still many balk at thoroughly understanding and examining the most basic and fundamental means of connection with the horse in most equestrian sports: the saddle.

Master saddler and saddle ergonomist Jochen Schleese says it is time to think intelligently about saddle choice and saddle fit for both horse and rider. In his new book, SUFFERING IN SILENCE: THE SADDLE-FIT LINK TO PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA IN HORSES, Schleese calls on all those involved in caring for and working with horses—riders, trainers, veterinarians, farriers, saddle fitters—to not only educate themselves in terms of the detrimental impact of poor saddle fit, but to also find a way to work cooperatively together toward a better and brighter future for the horse.

We must ask ourselves how much better could we ride and how much better could our horses perform if our saddles:

• Fit optimally?
• Accommodated each horse’s unique conformation and natural asymmetry?
• Were built for the differing anatomy of men and women?

The answers to all these questions and more are in Jochen Schleese’s new book SUFFERING IN SILENCE, available now from Trafalgar Square Books at