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View Full Version : Tell me about Schleese saddles...



Blacktree
Oct. 8, 2009, 06:18 PM
I found a great deal on a used one that is on it's way now - it was a custom saddle originally, so I don't have a model name or too much info on it beyond the photos I've seen. Once I get it, I will probably contact Schleese with the serial number, to see if they have any records on it/how it was customized.

Until it arrives, I was wondering if anyone knows if these saddles tend to have a narrow twist, or is that totally specific to the model? I've also heard that they tend to be heavy (not a problem) - are there any other things that are common to Schleese saddles that I should know about (do they run small, are the seats soft, stirrup bar placement, etc)? Do you guys love them or hate them and why?

Thanks!

HenryisBlaisin'
Oct. 8, 2009, 07:54 PM
I think they offer models with a variety of twists from narrow to wider. Mine is fairly narrow. It's not overly heavy, though I've heard the ones with the air bladders are heavy-mine is wool flocked. It is the most comfortable saddle I have ever sat in, and I find they run true to size. Mine is calf leather and soft as butter...wonderful! Schleese recommends wiping them and using Lederbalsam to condition, never oil, and this routine keeps mine looking beautiful!

blackhorse6
Oct. 8, 2009, 08:34 PM
all models are different and customize to each horse. My saddle is not overly heavy..not like a hennig.. I have the Wave and really have enjoyed riding in it. My horse seems to like it as well:) I hope you have a schleese saddle fitter that lives in your area. That makes a huge difference in how you will end up feeling about your saddle..

asb_own_me
Oct. 8, 2009, 08:43 PM
I bought one used that didn't work for me. I found the stirrup bars to be very far forward for my liking. I wish it had worked - it was lovely, in great shape, and was a steal of a price. :(

Blacktree
Oct. 8, 2009, 09:35 PM
This one is wool flocked - not the air panels, so that's good that it shouldn't be as heavy. It has french leather on the flaps - has anyone had this?

There is a Schleese fitter not too far away (part of why I bought it) - so if it looks like it could work, I'll go to him for final adjustments. Beyond fitting the horse, I hope that the twist isn't too wide for me and that it isn't a super hard seat, I thought of that after it had shipped. :)

Andrea_W
Oct. 9, 2009, 11:53 AM
I have ridden in many through the years. The company is very focused on correct fit, and I believe they have fitters who go out to the barns to help you decide on a good model for your horse.

Fire_fly
Oct. 9, 2009, 12:44 PM
I have a wool flocked with french leather. I am happy with it. The workmanship on my saddle is impeccable. I ride about 5 times per week, and the leather holds up nicely. However, I have a friend who used cheapo non- saddle leather cleaner on her french leather and it faded prematurely. Hopefully yours has been properly cared for.

Shrunk "N" Da Wash
Oct. 9, 2009, 03:18 PM
I have a jumping one and an older dressage one (jumping is custom). Love mine they fit my horses really well. Actually they fit just about any horse I've put it on from a 15.3H holstiener to a 17.3H sporthorse. What I don't like is the seats aren't that soft in my opinion and they are veryyy heavy. I do think they are amazing quality and they do a great job fitting them.

rothmpp
Oct. 9, 2009, 04:38 PM
I tried one during one of my saddle searches. It looked great until I tightened the girth and then it sat much too low in front. I don't think it was the size of the tree per say, but the billets came out of the saddle very far forward. I heard from the local shop that some of the models are like that. Sorry, I can't remember which model it was that I tried. I wanted to like it, I really did, but just did not fit my horse correctly.

I'm not sure there are a lot of saddles heavier than a Hennig. I should know, I used to one. My shoulders thanked me the day I moved on to a different saddle.

hey101
Oct. 9, 2009, 05:35 PM
Like any saddle brand, you will have people who LOVE it, and people who HATE it. I personally love mine (not 'LOVE', just 'love' :lol:). I have the Wave with Adap-Tree and Air Panels. Personally I think the Adap-Tree feature is fantastic. I bought it when my young mare had just turned 5. She is a slow-developing breed- ISH- and as such her back changed quite a bit between 5 and her current 6.5 yrs. It's easy to get the saddle completely readjusted to fit her as often as I want.

I also find the saddle to be extremely well-fitted for me. I rode for 10 years in a Barnsby which I thought was just fine. It didn't fit my ISH at all, so that's why I started saddle-shopping. I was mostly concerned for her fit, but this Wave seems to center and balance me so much more correctly than my Barnsby ever did. So count me doubly-satisfied.

I ~have~ heard that some of the reason that some people do NOT like the Schleese saddles is based on the skill of their area fitter. I got lucky in that Jochen Schleese himself comes to a barn 3 miles away from me a few times a year, so I get the maestro himself to evaluate and re-fit my saddle. Maybe check the clinic schedule to see if he will be anywhere near you so you can get his direct input, at least on the initial fitting.

I blew quite a wad on my dressage saddle, but think it was well worth it. I would have continued to ride in my Barnsby if it fit my horse, and have every intention of keeping this Schleese for 10++++ years and many horses!

tarragon
Oct. 9, 2009, 05:51 PM
I bought one recently because I loved my trainer's. I bought a CHB Supreme (no longer available new) that had just been reflocked by Schleese at the factory. When my saddle fitter checked it for my mare he said it was extremely overstuffed and that it was pretty common thing for Schleeses to be very overstuffed. The panels did feel like wood, with no give at all, and it was tight behind my horse's shoulders. After the fitter removed and readjusted the flocking it was perfect. I really do love it, it's the most balanced saddle (for me) I've ever ridden in.

Also, my trainer has had hers for 10 years of hard use and it has held up very, very well.

Catsdorule-sigh
Oct. 9, 2009, 07:07 PM
hey 101 said:


I ~have~ heard that some of the reason that some people do NOT like the Schleese saddles is based on the skill of their area fitter.

I very much agree with this. I could not complain about the quality of the Schleese I got and it was "better" than anything else I tried for my horse at the time. But for a semi-custom saddle, it could have fit me better. Caused a lot of pain and several attempts to correct that with the fitter did not improve things. ("Looks like it fits you")

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I ended up trying a used JRD that my horse instantly went even better in, much more free in front. I had to go semi-custom there also but the end result was that I could sit the way I should and my horse loved it.

I could not say that one saddle is better than the other. It's possible that the JRD tree was just a bit better for that particular horse. But the knowledge and insight of the saddle fitter made a world of difference for me.

If you can, try to insure that you can return the saddle after a reasonable trial time and do not listen to the fitter telling you the saddle fits you when you're obviously the one who really knows. :mad: A couple of those and you'll be beyond the return time.

TropicalStorm
Oct. 9, 2009, 07:56 PM
I love my schleese. I had a very hard time finding a saddle that worked for my horse; he's a large 17.1hh boy who is broad. Everything was too narrow. I ended up getting an Infinity, with their shoulder relief pannel, and it fits him wonderfully well and is very comfortable for me (which is hard because I have a very long thigh, but a short calf, so they moved the stirrup bar and gave me a longer flap) I've had it almost two years now, and its still in excellent condition.

Actually, I was laughing, because I used to ride in a passier grand gilbert, which I loved...I rode in it this past week on my young horse, and thought I was sitting on a piece of wood it felt so hard in comparison!

But as others have said, really, really depends on if you can get a quality fitter out.

Blacktree
Oct. 10, 2009, 12:59 PM
Thanks for sharing everyone! It should arrive monday or tuesday, I can't wait to see if it will work.


However, I have a friend who used cheapo non- saddle leather cleaner on her french leather and it faded prematurely.
Yikes! Good to know - thanks!



I ~have~ heard that some of the reason that some people do NOT like the Schleese saddles is based on the skill of their area fitter. I got lucky in that Jochen Schleese himself comes to a barn 3 miles away from me a few times a year, so I get the maestro himself to evaluate and re-fit my saddle.
Lucky lucky! If it looks like the saddle could be adjusted to fit my guy, I'll check his clinic schedule first. That would be great!

I have heard nothing but good things about our local Schleese fitter, too, so I'm pretty confident that we'll be in good hands either way though.



If you can, try to insure that you can return the saddle after a reasonable trial time and do not listen to the fitter telling you the saddle fits you when you're obviously the one who really knows. :mad: A couple of those and you'll be beyond the return time.
The seller of this saddle has been GREAT so far, very good at communicating and quite reasonable. She has said that it can be returned if there is any reason I don't like it, or if it doesn't fit right.

I totally can see how having the wrong fitter could be a problem. I had my County jump saddle adjusted last week and was amazed at how different it felt afterwards! It can really change your position and how a saddle feels. After that experience, I can definitely see that if the fitter isn't a good match, that it would be worth trying another before giving up on a saddle.

Catsdorule-sigh
Oct. 10, 2009, 02:24 PM
Please be very careful in what you're told by the fitter and what you feel.

That said, I got a very good lesson about twists when it came time to figure out which JRD semi fit me better. There were several of us there and two of us with, what we thought, were similar build. But the bone structure is everything and I ended up in a medium twist (thought I'd be narrow), the other rider with like (seemed) build in a narrow, and the thinnest rider in a wide twist. The fitter was right on and I was finally able to really drop my leg from the hip, something that was impossible in the Schleese. There were two semi styles to try and one of those put me in more of a chair seat. OK because the one that felt the best was the one that allowed me to sit right for the first time. It just depends on the rider.

Also, if you need a narrow twist but a wide tree for a wide-backed horse, you are just not going to be able to sit as close to the horse. You could opt for a wider twist but personally, being able to sit correctly is more important.

Twists, I imagine, also vary by vendor. But it was a good lesson about twists. I had to get a longer flap because my legs are long.

Later, another person rode my saddle for a bit and although we were about the same height and build, it pushed her into a chair seat. Bone structure, it's the bone structure!

FYI, the Schleelse rep took a lot of measurements, etc. in my fitting and it just did not work. Nothing replaces a really knowledgeable fitter. I would also be cautious about getting opinions from trainers who work with the rep. I got burned by a kickback deal between my trainer and rep that I did not find out about until I left that barn. So there was no way my current trainer was going to say more than "maybe I needed to get used to it." Not saying that's the way it is in all cases, just beware.

Piaffing
Oct. 10, 2009, 08:29 PM
I personally don't like them period. I have tried a few of them used over the years on different horses and none of them worked. Also it makes you wonder why there are so many used ones for sale compared to other brands.

Hobbs
Oct. 10, 2009, 11:41 PM
And I will probably be selling both soon. I think they are a very well-made saddle and very comfortable for the rider but they are extremely heavy and aren't well-suited to ponies or short-backed horses. Yes, and many of the fitters are NOT very good.

Mallard
Oct. 11, 2009, 11:57 AM
I tried at least a dozen saddles last winter.
A fellow boarder let me try her Schleese JES and I fell in love with it. The pony also liked it even tho it was not fitted to him and was a tad long for him.
I continued to try a lot of different saddles, including some other used Schleese. I found the seats on the odler models were quite a bit harder.

I did end up getting a JES, in a smaller size than the one I had borrowed and it fits my large pony very, very well. I had a super fitter.
Two other pony riders just got new JES. Their ponies are only 13.3 and Schleese put shorter panels (might be called a 'relief panel'?) so that the part that sits on the back is very short.

I agree that the Schleese are pretty heavy saddles.. at least quite a bit heaver than Stubben, Passier, Vega etc

Hobbs
Oct. 11, 2009, 03:53 PM
Well Mallard, let me know if all those ponies are still going wonderfully in their Schleese saddles in about three years. That's how long it took for the negative effects to show up in my pony.

AllWeatherGal
Oct. 11, 2009, 10:27 PM
Have been riding in a variety of Schleese saddles over the last 10 or so years, all of them custom. Interestingly, the one that works the very best was made for my trainer and her horse. I ride the horse now and that saddle helps me like no other, including the ones made for me.

However, Jochen Schleese has said that when my trainer gets done with all her modifications he really can't call the saddle any of his models, they're so different.

My jumping saddle was made for my trainer, she didn't like it and I tried it for a *perfect* fit. Weird because we're built completely differently. But it only cost $750 to get it redone (taken apart and reDONE) for my newer horse, so I feel the initial investment for a custom was well worth it.

I had heard the business was for sale, or sold, but there's no mention of that situation on the company website.

I'd say for any money, a talented saddle fitter is the key to success.

luckles
Oct. 11, 2009, 11:10 PM
Sorry to be truthful. Smoke and mirrors. I bought one. Not worth the price. Have too many friends to count who had similar experiences. There are many excellent saddles that are not so pricey. I have gone back to Stubben. Quality & reasonably priced.

goodpony
Oct. 12, 2009, 12:06 AM
Between my husband and myself we have three different Schleese models. In my opinion all three are quite different and fit both the horse and rider differently. The most recent one the "Wave" model we've had the most success with fitting a variety of horses comfortably. It is an excellent choice for shorter wider backed ponies. I recently started my youngster and he has not had a saddle fitted to him...he has been a challenge in that department....will be taking him next week to finally have a fitting and am genuinely hoping for success. I have had only one fitting that did not go as planned and it was a Schleese person....just not THE Shcleese person. The fitter is definitely is an integral part of overall satisfaction.

FancyFree
Oct. 12, 2009, 12:46 AM
Sorry to be truthful. Smoke and mirrors. I bought one. Not worth the price. Have too many friends to count who had similar experiences. There are many excellent saddles that are not so pricey. I have gone back to Stubben. Quality & reasonably priced.

There's a woman at my barn who has one who has told me the same thing. She said it's like a barcalounger, comfy but puts you locked in a position. She hates it and it sits in her tack room.

blackhorse6
Oct. 12, 2009, 10:28 AM
Again, I think it depends on the model.. I have a Wave and probably my biggest problem is I don't feel as if I am "stuck in a position" as I did when I rode in a new County(trainer's saddle). I like my Schleese but have enjoyed other saddles as well.. My Luc Childric being my favorite:) Didn't fit my new horse though:(

Blacktree
Oct. 12, 2009, 12:31 PM
Thanks everyone for your input! As with any saddle brand, I knew there would be people that both loved them and hated them. So much depends on how you and your horse are built...



Later, another person rode my saddle for a bit and although we were about the same height and build, it pushed her into a chair seat. Bone structure, it's the bone structure!

Very interesting - I'm sure that's true. I think for me the twist is the first thing I notice if it is the wrong fit for me.


Sorry to be truthful. Smoke and mirrors. I bought one. Not worth the price. Have too many friends to count who had similar experiences. There are many excellent saddles that are not so pricey. I have gone back to Stubben. Quality & reasonably priced.

No worries - I knew there would be people that didn't like them - I want to hear both why they work for some and why they don't for others, so that I know what to expect. In my case, I'm not spending full price for it (since it's used), so it is really very comparable cost-wise to other saddles I've looked at so far.

I've been looking for a year now and haven't found any dressage saddles that have fit my horse well so far, so either a Schleese or a County seemed to be a logical next step as we have fitters for both brands close by. If this one fits both him and me, I will be thrilled! If not, I'll probably try a County next. I have a County jump saddle that my horse and I both love, and having a fitter close by to keep things just right has been well worth the initial higher price of the saddle so far. I know that a fitter can't make every model work, but it sure can help if you find one that is close!

PaulaM
Oct. 14, 2009, 02:35 AM
I have just purchased my 2nd Schleese Saddle. my first is a Schleese ConneXion. I love it as does my Freddy. my second is a Schleese Cool. it is an eventing saddle and I purchased it used off the internet. Got to ride in it for the 1st time last week. Love it as well. Each model is slightly different. Try as many as you can so you can get a feel for each model before purchasing. I have always found all their employees to be helpful and informative.

Well worth the investment in my opinion.

Touchstone Farm
Oct. 15, 2009, 10:47 PM
Love my Schleese. Has worked well on two different horses. (Adjusted by the saddle fitter.) Have used it on my current horse for about three years. When I first bought her, I rode her in the Schleese. Worked well, but decided to try her in my Passier, she acted absolutely lame. Freaked me out! I had trouble finding a saddle that worked with my long thigh until I bought the Schleese. So it's been great for me and my horses. (I have the Wave, air panels.)

Allagash's mom
Oct. 16, 2009, 12:45 AM
GREAT saddles, but yes -- a lot depends on which rep does your fitting and such. I was spoiled by having Schleese himself measure me, my horse, find the right used saddle and then restuff and adjust the tree to fit us. And then keep up with the adjustments as my horse (Ally at that point) remuscled, etc.

Then I moved (sigh!) and had to deal with another one, but she's gotten better over the years -- refitted both my Schleese's (Jane Savoie dressage and Pouvoir jumping saddles) for Ally's sister after he passed away. My instructor, who is built VERY different from me, has ridden in the jumping one and loves it as well.

thumbs up here, just like with any saddle (Passiers, etc), your best bet is to keep in top of saddle fittings because your horse WILL change over time. And the things you 'like' can be changed as well - knee block sizes, etc. Only things like stirrup bar placement and gullet placement (to a degree, I HAVE seen those changed too) need to be considered beforehand, so you know you are getting the right saddle for your body type.

patina.marc
Oct. 21, 2009, 11:32 AM
Everyone is talking about how heavy these saddles are. That was my first impression too. What makes them so heavy? And why would an air filled one weigh more than a flocked one???

blackhorse6
Oct. 21, 2009, 11:59 AM
Heavy saddles? Good grief.. Keep hearing that statement..Tell ya what, pick up a western saddle and then decide just how "heavy" the schleese saddle is.. not..:eek::eek: No seriously, I went to Wyoming to an "authentic" cattle ranch this summer. I am honest when I tell you the saddle pad was heavier than my schleese saddle.. It took 2 women to get my sisters saddle on her horse and these are short quarter horses.... I'll never complain about a heavy dressage saddle again!!!:D

Rear*Buck*Rear
Oct. 21, 2009, 01:53 PM
I've got a chance to possibly buy a used Wave for $1,500 (in good shape) is that a good deal??

KayBee
Oct. 21, 2009, 04:29 PM
I'm not so sure I'm thrilled with the air bladders -- granted, I'm riding in a hunt saddle, but the bladders seem to require pumping up after 1 to 2 rides. A bit of a pain.

Allagash's mom
Oct. 21, 2009, 06:49 PM
I've got a chance to possibly buy a used Wave for $1,500 (in good shape) is that a good deal??

definitely. and if it doesn't work, you can trade it in for credit towards a new (or used) Schleese from Schleese directly. they'll probably give you $2-$2.5k for it.