Schlesse saddle

Hi all,

A new trainer rides in Schleese saddles. She has a rep coming out on Tues. Of note, my horse and I have been off for 3 weeks because he dislodged and stepped on the clip of his shoe. He clearly hasn’t been doing much because he was 3-legged lame for a good week.

Poor timing. I’ve ridden in Scheeles a while ago but since they have new models. What are peoples’ experience with these current saddles? Do you like them and believe the narrative as to why they are so great? Of note, I’m casually looking for a new saddle and am entertaining saddle fitters from different companies.

What are your thoughts? I have a local Custom fitter and I think a local County fitter who is a bit and bridle fitter that I had to cancel with recently because of clip-in-the-hoof.

Thanks you!

Hi J-Lu
My 2 cents on Schleese.
I have an Obrigado that was actually a $$$ custom order. I do love the idea around the newer PSI panel, which I have. Needed a relief wedge behind for a shorter coupled horse, shoulder relief for those big shoulders. My monoflap has a pretty long thigh block, you can order different sizes.

Pros- When they were fitting my horse with this adjustable saddle, it was nice & easy. Puts me in a good position. Pony moves well with it. Good quality craftsmanship.


Cons- Expensive, heavy and never really breaks in as very soft. Getting a Schleese fitter is a PITA.

Good Luck Shopping!!!

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Thank you!!!
The obrigado is the model I suspect they’ll recommend based on my horse’s conformation. He’s fairly shorter coupled and his withers tie into his back well behind his shoulders. But therein lies the issue.

I’m planning on getting the fitting to learn about what models fit, but the new ones are way out of my price range. I’ll have to buy used. Two people at this barn purchased used and the rep seems OK with that. Plus, I want a reasonable yet fact based eval of why my current saddle doesn’t fit. I’m skeptical but open minded. I’ll consider every aspect of this fitting.

There is a custom saddlery rep who once sent a horse to my barn, I MAY consider her as well. I’ve ridden and shown in Customs before but they dont put my leg under me like Schleeses did. That said, it was another horse and I’m trying to be really open minded with this horse.

Thank you for your reply!!!

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I have a really interesting story. I had an obrigado for a horse I sold. Loved it. Tried it on the new guy and even tho it fit him I could not find my seat in it. Sent it to the buyer of the first horse. Now, a few years later, I just started riding him in an obrigado … And its wonderful.

In between I bought a new schleese pro light custom. it is now for sale, sadly the twist is just a bit too wide for my hips. Takes a while to feel it which is why I bought it… Weeks later I figured out just what was the cause of my hip pain.

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Wow. So very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

I have an older one that doesn’t fit me great but I can manage. My trainer has another that fits her GP stallion and OMG. I cannot sit down in that thing. I just… hover? I don’t know how to explain it. Definitely sit in it and don’t buy it if you don’t love it.

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My experience was not great. Drank the schleese kool-aid and bought a top of the line Pro light dressage saddle. It was never right for any length of time for my gelding or me. Even though I had it checked multiple times. It is now at a consignment shop where I have it at a loss. Will not ride in Schleese again.

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anyone have a hard flat saddle with no knee rolls and low cantle they want to sell? I’m having a very hard time finding something i like. My horse is medium everything…has no special oddities, and she’s not picky.

Look for a Schultheis saddle. They are rather old school and have minimal padding with no knee rolls.

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Thanks everyone. My horse is mostly well but is still slightly unbalanced going to the right when the injured hoof is to the inside. He’s obviously not his 100% self. I’m riding at a walk these days. A gold-medalist at the barn watched him go today and thought he seemed sensitive at gaits with concussive forces going to the right but thought I could go ahead with the fitting if I wanted to and get more of an opinion on my current saddle. She rode in it and didn’t recall any major issue, which she said she would have pointed out. She didn’t think 3 weeks off would very significantly change his muscling.

I’m not planning to buy their Kool-Aide, I want facts and proof as it relates to my horse’s back. I’ll look into what they say. The price of the saddles, even used, really help reinforce this idea. I honestly can’t come close to buying a new Schleese saddle. But I’m interested to learn.

Thanks!

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I’ve got a screaming good deal on a 17” Harry Dabbs that’s got a low candle and no knee rolls/blocks. The saddle isn’t hard but not a modern cushy type and is a M/MW and freshly reflocked :wink:

cannot PM you because: “this user’s public profile is hidden”, but i think you can PM me. Please so to do :slight_smile:

Weird!! I’ll PM you!

oh gosh…sorry meant to reply to Gracelikerain. oops

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I have owned two Schleese saddles (older monoflaps). They were fine. They were not amazing and although the leather was very nice, for me, they did not live up to the hype. I bought them because they were screaming good deals and they fit my horse at the time. I know a few people who spent big bucks on Schleese saddles but never felt comfortable in them and sold them a loss. But, they definitely work for some people. I believe that you need to have a Schleese fitter work on them or you void your warranty. I’ve always preferred using an independent fitter and I used him when I owned my two.

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I bought a demo Schleese Infinity II years ago from the fitter. My trainer wanted a Schleese (was pushing everyone in the barn to get one, which I later learned was so she could get her own Obrigado at a huge discount). The fitter was super and I really liked the 55-point measuring system for the horse.

The Infinity was great for my horse - the rear facing tree points gave my horse so much more shoulder freedom and the super wide gullet didn’t press on his spinal processes or dorsal ligaments, so he stayed softer in his back and his gaits became bigger, loftier, more expressive. The downside was that it was a quite heavy saddle. (There was another major downside that appeared years later but we didn’t know it at the time - read on.)

The saddle also fit my trainer well and since she was the one doing most of the riding and would be showing my horse, I opted to buy a saddle that suited her instead of me. (I did okay in it but if I had bought a saddle for me, I would probably have gotten a different model.)

Horsie did well in the Infinity for quite some years, although I had to get it refitted at least once a year as his shape was changing as he built muscle. Then it got to where it kept riding up his shoulders and I had to have it fitted every 3-4 months. The fitter - who was quite excellent - kept having to adjust the width every time because it kept opening up on its own. I finally said “that’s it” and bought a WOW that was great for my horse.

I sold the Schleese to a lady that was having a hard time finding a saddle that fit her mare but the Infinity fit super. She contacted me about six months later to report that she was also having problems with the saddle riding up her mare’s shoulders and the fitter kept having to readjust the width. It was finally determined that the composite tree had developed microcracks at the screw heads so the screws weren’t holding as well. :astonished: :scream:

As mentioned, the big advantage to the Schleese was the very comprehensive measuring system, the rear-facing tree points, the extra wide gullet and a fitter that was really good. All that was outweighed by the fact that the composite tree developed tiny cracks over time at the screw heads.

So my take on them is that although they may be wonderful saddles when new, after many years of use and many adjustments/refittings, there is a risk of screw failure in the tree due to microcracks. (Bear in mind, mine was a demo so it had been around for years before I got it, and we rode my horse in it 6 days a week for 5-6 years).

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My personal experience is that they don’t work for me due to the way most of the models are what they referred to as “push seats”. So I ride a downhill built horse and anything that even hints at helping push my balance forward is no bueno for us lol the rise of the seat sort of “swoops up” quickly (if that makes sense!) Which means especially at the canter I was constantly battling keeping my body up straight vs being pushed forward by the back of the seat. Because of that, I ended up riding with an arch in my lower back due to attempting to keep my shoulders back and having the saddle push my hips forward and down. Not good for the balance. I ended up in an Albion which by contrast had a very balanced and centered seat and eventually, more recently, just switched to a Custom Saddlery which I absolutely LOVE! Super well balanced and fits my short backed mare wonderfully!

So just be aware when you’re riding that if you feel unbalanced and like the Schleese seat is pushing you forward don’t ignore it. The Schleese reps I worked with tried to tell me I was super centered and made me feel like I was imagining it. I knew I wasn’t. We took video and you could very clearly see the arch in my lower back and still they claimed I looked great because my shoulders hips and heels were in line. But they completely ignored the big arch in my lower back. I’m very glad I decided against the Schleese. Maybe it’s due to the way my pelvis is tilted and the way my horse is built. But just something to be aware of when you’re trying it out. Good luck with your saddle hunt! :slight_smile:

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Thank you, @DownYonder and @YellowPonyEventer. I was not particularly looking for a saddle but the new trainer I’m riding with rides in Schleese’s and hates the way my current saddle fits. A gold-medal rider put a ride on him a few weeks ago and she didn’t remember the saddle…so she said that means it didn’t register as a problem.

My saddle is pretty cheap (a Eurodressge) and the last independent fitter refunded half the cost of coming out because she said she didn’t have to do much (she fit it previously).

@DownYonder, I heard something similar from a friend who purchased a new Schleese saddle. She claimed the subsequent fittings changed the saddles fit negatively. The saddle opening on it’s own would explain her experience. The pro/barn was sponsored by a different saddle maker and I heard pros and cons about such an adjustable saddle.

What’s a WOW?

Riding 6 days a week for 5-6 years should be negligible for a well-made saddle. Especially a saddle at the price point of Schleese saddles. Their used saddles cost around $3500 (a friend just purchased one) and I’d expect more out of that purchase than 5-6 years.

Hmmm, I have a fitting on Tues. Thank you all!

WOW is a modular saddle, so panels, flaps, etc. can be easily interchanged. It has a Y-shaped tree that affords longitudinal stability and a flexible tree head that swings with the shoulder movement. The latter took a bit of getting used to - I was used to more “rigidity” to help me stay balanced, but I quickly adapted to the WOW and my horse loved the shoulder freedom even more than what he had in the Schleese. WOW also had a double stirrup bar which I really liked because I preferred the stirrups attached more forward than my trainer. It also has Flair panels, which is a plus when they have the right amount of air in them, but since the “right amount” can change as your horse’s shape changes, it can be a bit of pain keeping that adjusted.

It was much less expensive than a Schleese - I paid less for a brand new custom-made WOW, plus WOW H-girth, than I paid for my demo Schleese. Biggest downside is they aren’t super well known here in the US - their primary market is UK and Europe, and there isn’t a fitter in this area so we had to get her up here from Florida (Ocala area, I believe).

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I have a Eurodressage I have been trying to sell for years. A former trainer insisted on it when I imported my horse and although we ordered the exact same model as the one she rode my horse in (and with same specs), the one I received didn’t fit my horse AT ALL. I think I used it maybe 6 times, and for very short rides because he did not like it. Now I can’t get it sold because no one seems to know anything about them. :frowning_face: