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Tell me about Schleese saddles...

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  • Tell me about Schleese saddles...

    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?

    Blacktree Farm
    Lessons, Training & Sporthorse Sales.
    Blacktree Studio
    Graphic Design, Web Design & Photography.

  • #2
    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!


    • #3
      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..


      • #4
        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.


        • Original Poster

          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.
          Blacktree Farm
          Lessons, Training & Sporthorse Sales.
          Blacktree Studio
          Graphic Design, Web Design & Photography.


          • #6
            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.


            • #7
              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.


              • #8
                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.


                • #9
                  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.


                  • #10
                    Like any saddle brand, you will have people who LOVE it, and people who HATE it. I personally love mine (not 'LOVE', just 'love' ). 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!
                    ~Living the life I imagined~


                    • #11
                      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.


                      • #12
                        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. A couple of those and you'll be beyond the return time.


                        • #13
                          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.
                          In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks for sharing everyone! It should arrive monday or tuesday, I can't wait to see if it will work.

                            Originally posted by Fire_fly View Post
                            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!

                            Originally posted by hey101 View Post
                            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.

                            Originally posted by Catsdorule-sigh View Post
                            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. 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.
                            Blacktree Farm
                            Lessons, Training & Sporthorse Sales.
                            Blacktree Studio
                            Graphic Design, Web Design & Photography.


                            • #15
                              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.


                              • #16
                                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.
                                Frogs in a Basket. Oh, one jumped out.
                                EC Level 1 Coach, ARIA Level 3 Dressage Coach


                                • #17
                                  I Have 2......

                                  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.


                                  • #18
                                    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


                                    • #19
                                      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.


                                      • #20
                                        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.