I know this is yet another saddle thread...but mostly I'm interested in people's experiences with Schleese. I had a fitting with Jochen, which was both very informative but also sales-pitchy. I like the idea of having an adjustable saddle that could (in theory) be readjusted when my current horse retires (let that be a long time from now!). I've heard both positive and negative stories about Schleese, some of which relates to which rep you work with. Could anyone comment on how adjustable their dressage saddles really are (ie, has anyone had their saddle adjusted to a significantly differently shaped horse?). Any input would be helpful!
If your horse is at a multi-horse barn, it should be easy enough for J to discuss which horses the saddle could be adjusted to & which it would not suit - ever.
If he tells you that the saddle could be refit to every horse in the barn, either all the horses are remarkably similar in saddle fit or I really want that saddle
I think asking people in your area what their experiences have been over the last several years will give you the truest indication of realistic expectations.
(eg, I know it would be an unsuitable purchase for me as I own a young horse whose saddle I want checked/adjusted every few months: for the past several years, Schleese has dependably been out once a year in Oct & you must be able to trailer your horse to the clinic location ... I did contact head office & did not just rely on hearsay.
OTOH in another area, there was a terrific independent rep for Schleese & everyone was very happy - until the IR retired & there was no replacement & the existing customers had the option of above.
There is now a new IR & she looks to be very responsive to customer needs & has a pretty aggressive travel schedule posted )
I don't own a Schleese, have never owned a Schleese, have only ever ridden in one once and didn't enjoy the experience, have never clicked on a link on their web site or provided them with any personal information. I have a saddle I'm very happy with from one of their competitors who has a local rep who looks after me very well.
They repeatedly spam me with information about their saddles and their rep visits, and this week I got home to a message on my answering machine (about 5 people on the planet have that #) from them about a saddle fitting clinic.
I have had a very good experience with them for a particular horse, but I know of A LOT of people who have had VERY bad experiences. We have had this particular saddle for almost 3 years and have had no problems, only good experiences. Maybe I just have a very good fitter?
I personally do not like how far away from the horse the saddle feels, but it works well for this particular horse who is very sensitive to the aids. My other upper level horse did not go well in it, so he gets to stay with his "cheap" saddle.
I'm not sure if I would go with them for my youngster, though. More then likely I would go another route and if he develops special needs I may work with them, may....but I am prepared to buy several used saddles until he stops growing and then decide on his "big boy" saddle when the time comes. It is cheaper that way
I have had four? five? Schleese saddles now.
Love, love, love love love them. Of course, the rep who came to our area was great, which makes all the difference. If you take care of them, they last for ever.
As for the fitting, they can be refit for different horses, within reason. I used the same Schleese on my appendix QH, narrow with shark fin withers, and had it adjusted for my Dutch horse who was wide with prominent withers. The wider space between the panels made a world of difference to my dutch guy, as he evidently needed more space for his spine to be comfortable.
That saddle will not fit my QH or my ponies, as they have shorter backs and no withers to speak of, so they got their own saddle that gets shared between the two of them. My new pony will have to earn her own saddle...
Of course, I have also traded in saddles and upgraded to get saddles that fit ME better as well (evidently you chance a lot from early teens to ... now).
All in all, I haven't had a bad thing to say about Schleese. Two thumbs up.
Love mine. Love. It. I bought it used but had the local fitter come out and fit it before I sent the check. It fits my horse beautifully and had been able to be adjusted as his topline has changed over time. I'm very lucky in that it also fits the other horse I'm riding very well. My only complaint is that because I didn't buy new/custom, the flap is too long for me. I've been considering seeing if it can be sent to the factory to be shortened.
It also fits me well, is deep and comfortable and supportive without locking me in. It rides like a couch...everyone who rides in it loves the way it feels. The model I have is no longer available, but I would not hesitate to get another one, especially with Jochen doing the fitting, but the fitter I use is very good as well. My horse goes well in it, I ride well in it. I've never had an issue with having it fit...that would depend on the individual rep doing the fitting.
We've had 5 Schleese saddles and two that they modified and were pleased with all of them. We had one for a very wide Lipizzan which was refit for a medium width Morgan. The shape of their backs is similar so that's probably one reason it worked well. The saddle I currently have for the Lipizzan has been adjusted many times as she has grown and developed muscle.
The fitters from Schleese in Canada come to this area 2-3 times a year so getting a refit isn't too much of a problem.
I purchased a Schleese from Jochen and it honestly didn't fit my horse well and I returned it. I will say I found Jochen to be very knowledgeable and very talented. However, he is also a salesmen and every saddle that was not a Schleese was no good in his opinion.
Schleese is very good about taking returns if your saddle doesn't work. The people in my barn who have Schleese's absolutely love them, so I really cannot say anything bad about them.
My horse and I have moved on to a Trilogy Verago and we are hooked.
The issue I've had is that it seems the more the tree is adjusted the less the saddle holds the adjustment. It's fine for a few years and then it needs to be refitted every 2 weeks because it looses the fit. I love riding in mine, but would never buy one again. With all the money I've spent in fittings I could have bought several new custom saddles.
I have a Schleese CHB (I think they just stopped making them). I love it. It's my perfect saddle.
I haven't had any experience with the reps yet because I bought the saddle second hand from my vet and haven't had to fit it yet to a particular horse.
I have a Schleese for my H/J and I love the saddle. I also like the independent rep who does the fittings.
However, I do not like the home office. They are extremely un-helpful when trying to arrange fitting appointments. I purchased a $4000 saddle from them and have fairly regular fittings and have never missed a fitting, yet they absolutely insist to have my cc prior to scheduling a fitting.
One would think that after building a relationship that a good-paying reliable customer might be able to make an appt without having to fill out the online form and giving a cc # but sadly, they do not trust anyone to show up and are abrupt to the point of rudeness about getting their money guarantee up front.
After having my cc # stolen 2 times (most recently at the Gulfport hotel last week), I do NOT like to give anyone my number. It is a shame that "handshake" business has gone out of style due to theft.
Proud member of the Clean Horse, Dirty House Clique! Founder of the Goodbye Fat, Hello Muscle Clique!
I owned quite a few used Schleese saddles, a Wave which didn't work at all for my horses, and several JES saddles. I liked them because I could have them adjusted to a different horse, but usually they put me in a chair seat and I just didn't find a good balance point in them. THEN I had a fitting with Mr. Schleese and ended up purchasing a new custom saddle. WORST saddle I've ever owned and I've had dozens! The saddle that was supposed to be perfect for me hurt my back and neck, pitched me forward, and my horses didn't like it either, in fact my young horse started acting out very badly when she was ridden in it. They changed the seat out at their cost and adjusted it once at my cost, problem is that the whole process was prolonged and then they just starting 'blaming the victim', and twisting everything to put it back on me! I finally sold the saddle at a loss, and since then I have talked with a lot of people about my experience, and have heard time and time and time again about people who had bad experiences like mine. I had a saddlefitter tell me that others have sent their custom saddles back to Schleese and then have tried to get their money back through the credit card company. Since then I've found the perfect saddle that is head and shoulders above any Schleese saddle that I ever sat in. It is an off the rack Albion SLK that makes riding effortless with a perfect balance point for me, I can use my legs independently, and I don't end up with an aching back and hips.
I have a very bad taste in my mouth from how I was treated, and personally will never recommend them to anyone (although I used to).
Owned several Schleese's all originally measured by Jochen ... one of them was a jumping saddle (flair) measured to my trainer who didn't like it, but it fit me and my small TB horse at the time perfectly. I subsequently had the saddle redone for $750 US and it fit to my quite large warmblood with big shoulders very well.
My most recent experience was with an independent rep who restuffed a dressage saddle that had been made for the horse. She's done lots of work for the new trainer and I was very happy with the results.
I know just as many people who aren't happy with their purchases. The impression I get is that if the saddle works, it's great. If it doesn't work, return it and go another way ... no amount of tweaking is going to fix whatever's not right.
I rely on my trainers' advice for tack decisions and as it happens, both women in my horse's life have been Schleese fans. I think things work well for me because of their advocacy and participation in the process.
It just goes to show you how different people are! I have ridden in several and I hated every single one of them! I found them uncomfortable and some of them made my back hurt. I much prefer my Hulsebos
I have a PRE and was sold a Trilogy a few years ago (four years ago) as "the saddle for him." It did not work for him and so after four years of blaming everything else (because I had been told this was "THE SADDLE!!!"), I tried my friend's shorter tree Triumph (Schleese) on him and WOW, it was like a different horse. I talked to my trainer, who now rides in a Schleese (but does not push anything on his students) and looked at all of Schleese's videos, and on faith, ordered a new Schleese. It arrived and I can not even begin to tell you what a difference it has made in two weeks. It is a great saddle. The quality blew me away. The customer service from Miriam at Schleese was incredible, and I am having it fitted with Jochen for free in April. If it does not work, they will give me my money back. They knew that I needed a saddle right away and that his next fitting in my area was a few months away, so they gave me an extended period to try it. pretty good customer service I would say. I am 54 and have pelvic pain every time I ride. Now, that is a thing of the past. The saddle really does put me in the right position. I did manage to sell my Trilogy, but it was falling apart and had lost its dye and had to be re-dyed. This of course was "all my fault." The tree extended so far back on my horse and completely dwarfed his shoulders. It was for him like trying to do ballet in a straightjacket. In two weeks, his half passes are clean and nice, and he is starting his canter pirouettes. before, I could not even get a 15 meter circle out of him.
I've had several. They are beautifully made with high quality leather and workmanship. The Schleeses just don't work for me and the way Schleese fits them do not work for my horses. I find the twists too wide and the seat of the saddle too high off the horse's back for my taste. I also felt that they needed too much fine tuning. That said I've always had great customer service and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them if you like the feel and your horse likes the saddle.
My first impression of the company was when Jochen himself came to our area and did a saddle fitting lecture/demo. The person who volunteered her mare had an almost new saddle that was professionally fitted and mare going well.
JS put that saddle on the mare and promptly pointed out how it did not fit. Sat his saddle on and said the equivalent of "perfect". The poor owner of the mare was bummed for several days until we convinced her that it was a sales pitch.
I rode in a borrowed one one day, it was OK. I have a friend who has one, which she recently had refitted by I believe a Schleese rep, and since that time has had two different trainers tell her the saddle does not fit her horse. They have no skin in the game but to make her life and the horse's better.
So overall, there is nothing that would make me run out and buy one.
We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........
I own several of their saddles. I had a Wave on my 15 hand arab gelding and that saddle is now on a young 17 hand warmblood. Worked great on both. I have a client that purchased one had it fitted to a rotund QH then to an Arab. They are very adjustable but some of them fit a wider variety of horses than others. I've had problems with them at times but they have always taken care of them to my satisfaction.
What a really like is the ability to adjust the saddle as my horses grow and develop.