Schleese knows what he’s talking about. Not only is he an accomplished horseman, saddle maker and saddle ergonomist, he also had the painful experience in the early 1980s of having to put his eventing champion Thoroughbred/Hanoverian horse Pirat into early retirement because the horse continually showed apathy, pain and lameness. After trying a new veterinarian, different saddles and different training methods, Schleese finally gave up on the horse.
Looking back on the situation today, Schleese says he’s convinced “with 99 percent certainty” that his horse’s problems were caused by his saddles, something he describes as “a very painful revelation.”
Now, after years of training and practical experience, Schleese has consulted with veterinarians and expert riders and compiled all that expertise into a book, Suffering in Silence: The Saddle-Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses. Offered on HorseBooksEtc.com for $29.95, this 198-page book could save you thousands of dollars in vet bills and ill-fitting saddles and prevent your horse from needless pain.
For example, do you know:
- You would be better off financially if you invested in an adjustable saddle?
- A good farrier can influence proper saddle fit?
- How to tell by your horse’s sweat pattern if your saddle fits correctly?
As an ergonomist, Schleese details that it’s important to fit the saddle to the human as well as to the horse, especially if the rider is a woman.
If you’re female and you ride, Schleese says you need to make sure your saddle is built for a woman and includes these distinguishing characteristics:
- A wider rear seat to accomodate a woman’s wider pelvis and support her larger bottom
- A lower skirt with extremely flat seams to avoid pressure and pain to the inner upper thigh
- A narrower twist to allow the upper leg to hang straight
- A flatter pommel to help proper positioning of the seat bones
- A high and steeply angled cantle to provide support for the rider’s pelvic position
Suffering in Silence is a very thorough book that users dozens of color photos and diagrams to explain how to achieve proper saddle fit. And it’s only when your saddle fits both you and horse well that you can achieve harmony when you ride.