Schleese Western Saddle Experiences?

Wondering if someone can provide some insights or experiences for me…

I’ve been looking into the new Schleese western saddle and I love the fit concept behind it and how it’s named after one of the fitter’s daughter who tragically passed away. However, I haven’t been able to find any reviews on it thus far. Has anyone purchased or ridden in one? I’m concerned about the velcro panels and if they’ll hold up or if they make noise when you ride.

It looks like Mark and Connie Frantzke are the fitters for my area (Washington) and I also haven’t found any reviews on them, has anyone worked with them before? From what I’ve read it sounds like it’s hit and miss with the Schleese saddle fitters.
When I was trying to find reviews on Mark I came across this article - can anyone speak to if this is the same person? If so I have some major concerns.

Thanks in advance everyone!

Not sure that he has a background in Western saddles. He is not that far from me and I do know my friend had him cut down the panels on a Bailey saddle to fit her Arab about 20 years ago.

I have had him work on my English saddle and all I can say is that it is that the quality of work is totally dependent on who actually handles your saddle. I don’t think Jochan has had his hand on a saddle for years. My experience was not good.

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Here’s something Schleese wrote a while back: “but it seems that the manufacturers may have forgotten what was done in the old days – when the cowboy came from a cattle drive after being 3-4 months in the countryside, the horse was usually put out to pasture for a few days to rest. It may have gotten new shoes, and got a thorough grooming, while the saddle itself was completely overhauled. The panel sheepskin was pulled off and replaced, and the bottom of the tree was reshaped to the horse’s back with new sheepskin put on. He was then ready for the next cattle drive with a newly properly fitted saddle.” Ummm… no. As if they just rode one horse! As if the shearling on the bottom of the skirts is called a “panel sheepskin”! As if you can reshape a rawhide covered wooden bar!!! He doesn’t have a clue what he is saying here. (Here’s the link if anyone want to check it out.…nd-the-western)

Granted, this is 7 years ago and I expect he has learned a few things in the meantime, but no, I wouldn’t trust his western saddle anymore than I trust his knowledge of cowboys and cattle drives…