View Full Version : Schleese Southwest Saddle Fitter Opinions

Dec. 17, 2010, 12:20 AM
I own an Oldenburg mare who for the entire two years I have owned her has been back sore. She has had chiro, massage therapy and even a nuclear bone scan, multiple blood tests and scoping to understand this issue. All the vets say there is nothing wrong with her but she always acts sore.
Throughout this whole saga, I have ridden her in a DK saddle that is adjusted twice a year. I never even considered for a minute the saddle might be the issue.

You can imagine my frustration with this. The horse could be amazing in dressage but we fight this back issue constantly. At this point, I am only walking and trotting her.

I have always noticed she is most sore on her rear portion of her right side right under the saddle. I have mentioned the saddle issue to my massage therapist but it is quickly poo poo'd.

I started riding her bareback to see if the soreness went away. Today I got her out, ran my hands down her back and.....NOTHING! No pain response until I pushed really hard. Interesting.

Sorry for my rambling, but this leads to my issue. I am starting to wonder about the DK Dressage saddle with flair. I spoke at length to Schleese and their fitter Kristin thinks she would go well in an HK. I am also thinking maybe air panels aren't great for every horse.

Here is my question: Are the Schleese fitters ok? i will be honest that I have heard horror stories. If this saddle can fix my mare I will be thrilled but I worry about the stories I hear about fitters.

Any input on fitters? I live in Tucson, Arizona. If anyone knows anything please give me advice. I think I might be on to something with this mare but I don't want to make a bad decision and make it worse.

Dec. 17, 2010, 12:35 AM
Kristin comes to our area several times a year. She is a great fitter.

Dec. 17, 2010, 12:47 AM
Make yourself a favor and call a County or Custom Saddlery rep. asap!
Less expensive than Schleese and way better, in my opinion.

Schleese used to make air panels....and no longer do it.(I believe)
Isn't DK formally a Schleese rep?

Auto Be A Storm
Dec. 17, 2010, 09:39 AM
We have Kristin from Schleese come to our area too and she is awesome. My boy is a mess, brod shoulders, LONG withers and very narrow body and she gets me saddle balenced and fits him perfect. I think everytimes she comes out his shoulders get a bit more free and I have to relearn how to ride me boy!!!

Dec. 17, 2010, 10:31 AM
Oh those are great things to hear.

Honestly, no offense meant, but I would never buy a county. I had two semi customs by a saddle fitter. Within six months my horse was so back sore he couldn't even canter.

They fired that fitter and after a lot of talking agreed to give me all my money back which I was impressed with.

Thank you all for your input.

Dec. 17, 2010, 10:43 AM
I think you may want to talk to a friend of mine (perhaps you already did) who has been having problems with Schleese. Actually she and another friend are both selling their Schleese saddles due to repeated issues they've had. If you would like to speak directly to the one who does have saddle fitting experience/background to discuss her experiences further, please PM me and I will pass on your contact information to her. BTW she lives in the Phoenix area.

Dec. 17, 2010, 10:44 AM
Where is Kristen located and does she get to Northern VA? A client of mine just bought a used Schleese that is working out so much better for her. She has a gelding I sold her a couple of years ago and has had several different saddles, fitted by saddle fitters and still having issues. Called to say how great this horse is going in the Schleese but needs a little tweak. TIA -- I love the Schleese saddles - wish I could afford one!

Dec. 17, 2010, 11:00 AM
Well, after Kristin managed to fit a very difficult to fit horse at our barn, one by one almost everyone at our barn has gone to her. She now comes to our barn every few months to adjust and I have to say I have seen incredible differences in not only the horses, but the riders.

So, I'm a believer.

Dec. 17, 2010, 11:01 AM
I assume you've had Danny out? Are you making sure you place the saddle the same way he does? your saddle pads aren't too thick or anything?

We have some horses with VERY difficult to fit backs who are now doing wonderfully with their DKs is why I ask.

That said, it's very possible for whatever reason this saddle isn't working for you. He may be doing great things for horses I know, but that doesn't mean there's not something with your mare he doesn't see that's causing a problem.

I don't have any magical "I bet it's this!" but good luck finding the source of the problem. Whether it's the saddle or other, I hope you get it fixed soon - how frustrating for you!

Dec. 17, 2010, 11:43 AM
I have had 4 Schleese saddles over the years and have had fittings from multiple reps, including Jochen (and Danny when he worked for them). Kristen has done a very, very good job and wants her customers to have well fitting saddles. She is professional. The last saddle she made for me fits me very well and has just been adjusted for the third horse. We can all relate horror stories about saddle fitters and saddles. I have found Schleese to be responsive (much better than in the early years) and willing to be helpful. It is important to be clear about your expectations and communicate them to the rep. I have not found any of them to be telepathic:)
That is my experience over the past 12 years for whatever that is worth. Hope it helps.

Dec. 17, 2010, 12:08 PM
I was debating between a DK and Schleese. I even got as far as getting a DK saddle to try out on my mare. What I found was interesting is that she did not like the air panels in the DK at all. She ground to a halt and refused to move, and when we did get her to go forward we lost a lot of the looseness in the back and movement. I found this really interesting as I had a bates dressage saddle with air in it on her back and she was ok with it. From this result, I opted to try out some of the Schleese saddles and they work really well for my mare.

The DK did not work for my mare, but having said that at the same time, another lady in my barn was trying it out, and the immediate difference in her horse with the DK was amazing. So that goes to show that perhaps what doesn't work for one horse may work super well for another.

The Schleese rep who I have coming out here (BC) is very good and I have been really happy with the way she has been fitting the saddle and solutions she has come up with for my mare who is still young and changing shape. Only frustrating thing is that they only come out to BC twice a year so if you need a saddle adjustment between times, you have to wait.

Good luck with your decision!

Dec. 18, 2010, 02:04 PM
I just wanted to post another vote for Kristin as a fitter. She no longer comes to my state, and I have pretty much decided to ditch Schleese as a result, her replacement is nowhere near her calibre! She is a diligent, hard worker who is very dedicated and devoted to her clients, and will take the time necessary to make sure you get the fit you need. She has many years of experience, and has seen many varieties of horses and riders at this point in her career. I would certainly sign up to have her look at your horse, and see what she thinks.

Dec. 18, 2010, 05:52 PM
Ugh, DK!!?????

Dec. 19, 2010, 06:31 PM
Almost everyone in my barn has a Schleese. Kristin is our fitter, and I think she is super. She takes as much time as necessary, and is very thorough.

Dec. 21, 2010, 07:45 PM
I live in AZ too and have heard great things about Kristen...I believe they will be out here again in March. I would take any fitter from Schleese over anyone here locally who has hung a shingle out to call themselves a "saddle fitter".

Dec. 23, 2010, 10:09 AM
Thanks for all the input. Yes, Danny fits the saddle to her twice a year. I've been riding her bareback at the walk and a little trot and canter making sure she stays in a frame. Her back is way less sore right now. I get the Schleese in early January to try for 30 days -- how nice is that! We will see what happens.

Dec. 23, 2010, 12:23 PM
I've got a Schleese Connexion model and love it!! I've had it going on 3 years and although our fitter in Natalie, not Kristin, we have never had any issues with fit or back issues.

My saddle has wool flocking rather than air, as my horse does not like air at all!!

I also have a Schleese Cool Eventing saddle for when we jump, also with wool flocking, purchased second hand. I love both my saddles and would not hesitate to purchase another. The Customer Service has also been amazing!