To get glowing reports from their satisfied “customers.”
It seems to have been some misguided attempt at marketing.
Problem was it pissed off their customers who paid $$ for X name saddle and had the plate removed and replaced. IIRC, the customers were often told that the original plates were damaged (no fault of Schleese, of course) and could not be put back on so they put their plate on it so the saddle would have a plate. Shady AF. Unethical. Downright dishonest.
Bigger problem was that those new name plates quickly tanked the resale value of their saddles. Consignment sellers would not take them.
This is the best post. I have one schleese i bought used and i found out later it had a twisted broken tree.
I’m sorry you went through that.
Its kind of the one brand i run from now. They all seem overly fitted and constsntly adjusted …
I’ve watched these get fitted and serviced for barn buddies who shelled out for new saddles. From this website I gather they are using plastic trees now, but that’s not connected to the adjustability. They put the wither gullet in a press and crank it. This changes the wither width but not the really important curve of the tree.
Proper use of a press requires it to sit level on a concrete floor. Otherwise you could get a crooked result. Our Schleese rep just carries hers in the back of her SUV and adjusts it in the dark, if necessary.
Schleese universally over promises and under delivers on fit, even makes statements like bridging doesn’t matter.
If your horse naturally fits a Schleese tree then you will likely have a good result. If your horse does not, Schleese will still try to sell you a saddle with a poor fit.
Be careful at the saddle fitting clinic. About 75 % of what Schleese says is just well known standard fact you can get on any saddle fitting website. The other 25 % is problematic. They over promise, they use scare tactics about competitors, they mystify or gloss over some key points, and in a few details they run counter to every other source of saddle fitting advice.
A bunch of years ago we had J. come from Schleese to do a saddle fitting clinic for our GMO. A boarder at our barn volunteered her horse and brand new County (fitted by a known and reputable fitter) as the demo horse. J. spent quite a bit of time discussing how the new County did not fit her horse (poor woman looked devastated), pulled a Schleese out of his pile, plopped it on the horse and said “see how much better this is?” while pointing to this and that. It just seemed oh-so-convenient… That experience turned me off to them. We had the JGD guy come a year or so later; his pitch was somewhat less obvious but then I read enough reports of difficulty in getting follow up fittings that I was turned off to that too.
I know several pros who got sucked into the pitch, only to complain regularly about how when adjusted (for $$$) those adjustments only lasted a short time. One trainer, who was at our barn was CONSTANTLY bringing out various pad, shims and other similar items to make the saddle work better…
well, now i’m discouraged. Truth is, i’m a sucker waiting to be fleeced. I know NOTHING about good saddles. I’ve ridden most of my life in a thorowgood or now these two synthetic dressage saddles. I wouldn’t know a bad fit until my horse made a serious objection. And my current ride and also me are kinda…ruffians. Pretty much any saddle will work for my butt/pelvis/legs and i don’t think i’ve ever experienced pain, even in a mcclellan or german ww2 saddle. I have buns of steel. And my mare doesn’t know she can object (yet). The only thing i know about me and fit is i like a lot of freedom, so flat cantle and no knee rolls.
The old style Passiers are like that - flat seat and no knee rolls. I had one and loved it but I left it in the barn too long and it is too mildewed to save. They do have fairly hard seats though. However they can be found used pretty cheap although mostly in a medium width. You could try one of those without making a huge investment and see if that is what you really like.
That makes absolutely NO sense to me whatsoever, I’d be pissed if they did that to my saddle. And what happened to them being so proud of their saddle brand, they really want folks to think some “crappy” Passier/Stubben/Custom is something they made???
SO misguided and just…weird.
The ONE saddle I’ve ridden in that literally broke while I was riding was a Schleese. To be fair, I have no idea how old the saddle was and I’m sure it was never maintained properly (it was a friend’s horse/saddle).
It’s unlikely that they will share with you measurements taken for a custom saddle order if you do not go through with the order. Nor will those measurements really help you because you’ve said you’re looking for used but it doesn’t sound like you have the familiarity with brands to translate those measurements into a used saddle that might fit.
They may take standard templates but I can’t say I’ve ever seen a Schleese fitter take a standard template. They had their own forms. Even so, I’ve never had a brand fitter be willing to provide me measurements to take elsewhere - that isn’t really how they make their money. That would be a job for an independent fitter.
Advice from a Canadian. Even Canadians don’t buy Schleese (well most, I am sure there are a few). In my experience, I have never seen one that fits and the resale value is in the tank. Also, they sucker you in with regular fittings, may not show up and their customer service sucks.
As to the Thorowgood…I did consider a certain model at one point in time because its design was touted to fit with my horse’s conformation (deep shouldered close-coupled Appendix). So really something that does not interfere with her shoulder and does not impinge on her lumbar area. And fits my ample hiney.
I ended up buying a PDS Showtime and never looked back (interchangeable gullets…but that’s only part of the fitting). Recently had a reputable independent saddle fitter out and she said that that saddle with TSF girth was perfect for my horse. She saw me ride in it. She reflocked it as the stuffing had compressed over time and lifted the wither a little to balance it as Maresy is on the cusp of large vs X-large gullet.
Her observation was that dressage saddles in general are currently designed more for warmbloods and may need some minor adjustments if possible for lighter horses.
So learn what you can and keep your truck running for a fast getaway.
Best of luck in finding something that works for both of you.
I saw this in reverse for a woman who had spent a fortune on getting a Scheese saddle to fit her lovely Thoroughbred mare and was having all sorts of training/riding issues. Watched her face drop in devastation (cuz she had spent a lot of money doing what she thought was best for the horse) when a reputable equine body worker came out and promptly assessed saddle issues that were creating problems. Tried a saddle borrowed from a boarder that was not the perfect solution but a better fit, and the mare was clearly happier in it.
I bought a Schleese Infinity II about 10 years ago. It had been a demo and I bought it off the fitter’s truck. My horse had deep shoulders and a sensitive back (kissing spines), and the Schleese gave him lots more shoulder freedom than other saddles and the super wide channel didn’t aggravate his spinous processes. It was also a good saddle for me as well as my trainer (she actually rode my horse more often than I did, and also rode him at a higher level). The biggest downside early on was that it was HEAVY and it aggravated my old rotator cuff injury lifting it to put on my horse and also when putting it in my tack closet.
For a while, I had to have it adjusted every 6 months or so as my horse developed muscle and his shape changed. Then I got away with adjustments every 12-15 mos. During that time, my horse went from First Level to scores in the low 70’s at Third Level and schooling Fourth Level, plus playing with half-steps and tempi changes. Then things started to deteriorate - I started having to have the saddle adjusted more and more frequently as it didn’t seem as “stable” as it had been, and my horse was beginning to stay backsore all the time. When it got to where I was calling the fitter every 3 months (she was an excellent fitter but had to come from a neighboring state and each fitting cost me $300), I said enough and bought a WOW (which was fantastic for my horse).
I sold the Schleese to a lady that the fitter had referred to me. The buyer was delighted with it at first but very quickly started to need it readjusted every few months. They finally determined that the composite tree had developed microfissures at the screw heads, which were no doubt caused by the repetitive adjustments.
So my experience was that although the Schleese was an excellent saddle for my horse for about five years, the composite tree just didn’t hold up. I don’t know if Schleese still uses the composite trees but if so, I would be very leery about them.
And I agree with the person upthread up said, don’t pick a saddle brand - pick a fitter first. Find one with excellent recommendations that services your area on a regular basis. And be cautious about saddle brands recommended by your trainer - trainers very often get free saddles or discounted saddles in exchange for getting their clients to buy something at top dollar.
Well, i’m not actually ordering. I think they realize that?? I signed up for a regional come-one/come-all fitting. Paid 180 for the privilege. I asked they please bring along the two models i thought look interesting to me, and they confirmed they would have them.
So, what i can get out of this???
-Maaaybe i will walk away with some measurements? I was expecting to have this, but now my expectations have been properly ‘managed’…lol
-i’ll be able to try out various styles of dressage saddles…with big bucket seat and with knee rolls too. Maybe my body is not as put-off by them as my mind thinks i am.
-My mare will get to see a new barn and have a bit of ring experience in the only 3rd place she’s ever been in her life. (vet/my farm/where we haul to lessons…not counting my farm, so 3 outside)
-I will bump elbows with other dressage people in this area, rather a ‘soft’ introduction as i work my way very gradually toward entering a show.
As an event, that sounds fine. Just expect a hard sell. And the rep may not even produce templates. They might just pop the saddle on the horse and see what fits.
You really really need someone like my independent saddle fitter. She is super focussed and very technical minded. She’s done several courses I think in the Netherlands. She’s budget minded both for her clients and herself. She makes intricate templates, she leaves them with the client, and then comes back to evaluate the trial saddles you have sourced. She doesn’t want to rep a brand but does sell girths and shim pads. She also does saddle repair so if she takes your saddle to relock she is the one putting the tiny stitches back in the leather.
Her templates are so precise. She is very careful and thoughtful and honest.
She also does not really market herself and tends to undercharge. She has all the work she can handle via word of mouth.
There must be other fitters like this around, but finding them is the problem.
I have learned so much from her. I can take my cardboard templates to a consignment tack shop and pick out a saddle that fits that she then approves and tweaks.
There must be other fitters like this around, but finding them is the problem.
To that end:
Does anyone know a good independent saddle fitter that would travel to mid-Missouri?
My only experience with Schleese was years ago when their local rep took measurements of my non-Schleese saddle and had me ship it to Canada for an adjustment. My mare was young and developing. Six months after getting the saddle back, it didn’t fit. It cost big $$$ for that adjustment. I have avoided anything Schleese since.
If you want to see what saddles are unpopular, look at Ebay or Facebook Saddle selling groups. You will see lots of Schleeses.