Schlesse saddle

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Re “push seats” - we had Jochen Schleese in for a clinic years ago and he reminded us that since saddles were originally designed by men FOR men, the SOP was to build them with a convex seat. Schleese claimed his saddles were better for the female anatomy because they had concave seats instead. Most of us who bought Schleeses at the time thought he was right because the seats on our saddles worked well for us.

I do know one person who loved the trainer’s Schleese so much, she ordered one exactly like it, but when it arrived she hated it. She said she felt like there was something hitting her right in the crack of her butt all the time, pushing her up and forward. The fitter kept making adjustments and really tried to make her happy but there was not a satisfactory resolution and that person went on to other saddle brands.

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I’ve had several Schleese saddles over the years and I’ve had nothing but great experiences with them all. I upgraded to an Obrigado a couple of years ago, which I absolutely love. My oldest saddle is around 12/13 years old, and has held up very well. It’s an older model Derby. I had the shorter panel put in close to 7 or 8 years ago and it still looks like new.

I purchased all of my saddles through my fitter used. I paid around 1/2 price for my Obrigado that was practically brand new, and I’m glad I made the investment. Both of my horses have really short backs, and my Friesian Cross has more of a Baroque build, so the Obrigado is the perfect fit for her. It’s my newest saddle and about 4 years old. It’s taken awhile to break in, but now the seat feels really good and much softer than it did when I first purchased it. I do condition it well and regularly, which has helped with the break-in process.

I have about the same experience as CheektwoCheek. I feel the saddles are well made, and when they are well adjusted for my horses, they are a dream to ride in. The Cons are that they are expensive and heavy. Our fitters come out regularly twice a year, but the scheduling with them can be difficult. They are only in our area on certain days, but they always do a great job.

My barn mate has 2 WOW saddles and has horrible luck with them. They have never fit her horse, and she paid much more than I did for my Schleese saddles. She’s been trying to get a fitter to our area for over 2 years now, and they won’t come out. On top of that, she’s tried contacting the company directly to have someone help her adjust the saddles properly, and can never get a response.

Best of luck on your search! Saddle shopping is a much of a PITA as bathing suit shopping!

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Well, I had the official fitting tonight. My horse was off for three weeks because he stepped on his shoe clip and developed an abscess and I had one ride Sunday before this.

Anyway, before Amanda saw my saddle, she outlined what would fit and what wouldn’t on my horse. He’s very short coupled with sloping withers, big shoulders and a forward girth groove. I pulled out my saddle and she showed me exactly how it goes against what she just said fits my horse. She said "I bet it does A, B and C and I said “yep, it sure does”. My new trainer brought her over and provided her comments for Amanda.

Then she pulled out the Obrigado and showed how it fit his short-coupledness, curved around his shoulders with the set-back shoulder, and would likely put the rider in a better position. SHe had me sit on the perfectly conformed horse model (!!) and took my measurements. She then let me ride in the obrigado.

My horse hasn’t gone in 3 weeks. It’s been raining all day and drizzled during my ride. The arena was sloppy. But BOY did it make a huge difference. His shoulders felt so much more free and I only had to make very small weight changes to adjust his flexibility because it set me up so well. I have a long femur and their longer stirrup bar fit me well. What a huge difference in the way my horse went under really bad circumstances.

I asked about changes in the seat because the last Schleese I rode in felt like sitting on a 2x4 - I felt the edges of the seat in the top of my thighs. SHe said the seat has changed much. This seat felt so much more comfortable to me.

She also said that the tree is guaranteed for life. She said they measure the tree before and after a fitting and Schleese and her keep all the records. She said she’s seen maybe 3 or 4 saddles change tree shape between fittings in all of her time fitting saddles (she’s South East and fits a lot of saddles in competition areas) and the saddles are guaranteed if purchased from Schleese in those circumstances. I told your story @DownYonder and as I relayed it, she said the saddle is under warranty for life for such defects. The screws, the tree, cracks… - all are under warranty.

I have to say I’m a bit of a believer by seeing the difference in my horse who has even had 3 weeks off.

Now that I know how my horse COULD go and how restrictive my current saddle it, I’m going to shed a tear every time I ride. At least it was well spelled out what my horse needs in any brand based on his anatomy and I felt the difference.

I’m going to shed more tears at the price of a well-fitting saddle.

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I’ve been riding in a Link2 for the last 5 years and feel it fits my horse, I like it, and it’s held up nicely. The only issue I’ve had with it is the screws that keep the thigh blocks on the saddle. I agree with others it is a heavy saddle and some of the Schlesse saddle fitters are better than others. For example, the original saddle fitter I used had a different opinion on how the saddle fit my horse than the second fitter. I didn’t like 2 different opinions. They come to my area twice a year, but have had them cancel at the last minute due to adding people to the schedule of the area they are in before me. Not good customer since I had to take the day off work due to trying to accommodate their changing time schedules and they cancel.

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This is not my experience with Schleese. I bought a used Obrigado from someone at my barn who bought it used from a saddlefitter. I had one fitting with the Schleese saddle fitter after purchasing it several years ago. Last year I was riding at the trot when one of the rivets in the saddle bar broke and the stirrup dropped down. I immediately halted and dismounted to find the stirrup bar hanging by that one rivet. Then the second rivet broke. I contacted Schleese and they said I have to ship the saddle back to Canada to be repaired. When I got the saddle back, all the packing slip said was stirrup bar replacement and tree repair. No listing of the findings and I was charged $465 plus shipping for a total of about $600.

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I’m glad someone brought this up. Something happened to a friend and their “warranty repairs” were $900.

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Thanks for that story! I have a list of questions for schleese, and that is now on it. @Cally0826, how old was that saddle when that happened? Did the saddle give you any other problems?

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I bought a Schleese saddle a few years ago because my trainer/barn owner at the time had bought one for herself and encouraged all her students to do the same. It was the most expensive saddle I had ever bought at that time.

I am ‘vertically challenged’ and waited 4 months to get that short flap saddle. When I unpacked it, I saw that one of the billets was made out of a piece of twisted discolored leather, like someone used a scrap from the floor. It was also not comfortable for me to ride in. A strap stitching came apart while I was warming up my horse before entering the show ring.

The Schleese fitter told me that she would not come to our barn for adjustment and repairs just for one person and that I should trailer my horse to the next show where she would be. I do not own a trailer, how convenient. It also made me realize why my barn owner wanted her students to switch to these saddles : no service unless it’s for a large group. An independent fitter finally did the work for me.

The saddle was also very heavy (metal frame) and its black leather turned green after two years. All in all, I could not believe I had paid that much for that. I was lucky to sell it for less than half its price and bought something else (also expensive!), that I loved from the start and am still riding in to this day.

I really hesitated before writing my negative review, but this fits right in with ‘the things you regret having bought’ on another post.

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@Mazou, I SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO appreciate your post!!! I and others really need information like this to make decisions.

My new trainer really likes Schleeses but she never experienced that. One of her students is my great friend who also purchased a used one and likes it so far.

I will note that my horse went so much better in the shoulder cut-back but I cannot afford $7K for a new saddle. I’d have to buy used. But I don’t want used unless they support it, and I plan a phonecall with the rep who “fit” my horse to better understand the costs associated with the “lifetime guarantee” and what years of models she thinks would fit my horse. His biggest issue is shoulder clearance (which is why the obrigato fit his so well) and being pretty short-backed (again why the Obrigado fit him so well). That’s how we landed on the Obrigado. But I’ll need to know the years that that particular model had specs that would fit my horse. Again, $7k is out of my range, as well as the $6K demo models.

I am so very grateful that you posted and am looking for peoples’ experience with Schleese, both good and bad. We all would like to hear the good and bad from people with actual experience.

I can’t afford new but am now interested in learning about just how old is a Schleese saddle “too old” and likely headed for repair.

Like I said, I loved the Obrigado but will have to investigate what year builds fit my horse given my $$$ fit and what is expected of me to maintain the warranty. I won’t have a saddle worth more than my car.

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You probably will be looking much newer than this, but I believe they won’t adjust older saddles with Hennig trees due to the possibility of damage. I had a Schleese Pouvoir (jump saddle) that was my unicorn - fit my gigantic withered TB with no additional half pads, shims, nada thanks to the flair panels. And it was a joy to ride in. But I have also ridden in several older dressage saddles that I found lackluster (the 2x4 seat mentioned above!). I haven’t sat in anything made in the last 10 years for sure.

Also, I’m happy to hear that I’m not the only one who doesn’t have a $6k saddle budget :rofl:

I’ve heard that, too - that they won’t adjust older saddles. Hence my question of what a) what years they’ll agree to fit in the next 5 or so years and b) what years of a saddle model will fit my horse GIVEN my very recent fitting and what tree is similar to the one I just rode in. Apparently, my fitting goes on file with the fitter and with Schleese. It should for the price.

Yep, we of the “Sorry-horse-$6K-has-bigger-priorities-club” can stick together. My new trainer hooked me up with a used Schleese website and feels my pain. Most of her students bought used. It’s still hard to justify the used price which is why I need specifics about years of models from the fitter/Schleese. That’s Monday’s project.

This is sadly similar to my experience with Schleese. My saddle was “adjusted” by Jochen himself, and came back unusable. Horse hated it, I hated it, trainer hated it - it had been a saddle that everybody loved. I had to threaten legal action to get it looked at at our barn. Still wasn’t right, and I sold it for less than Schleese charged me for the “adjustment”.

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@J-Lu, you are so very welcome. I do not usually write bad reviews about anything, but this saddle cost too much for me to keep mum. It never sat well with me, literally. As we all know, saddle shopping is not much fun, more often than not. If I had to get a saddle today, I would also be looking into used. I hope you find something that works for you and your guy.

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Similar situation I had with the fitter not coming for just one person. To me, that is poor service!

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Once again I agree with Mazou. Other than Schleese I haven’tever given a bad review. I echo her wish that you find something that works for you and your boy. Saddle shoppingis awful.

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I bought a Schleese several years ago. It was OK, but I felt it sat me too far up off the horse. Seemed well made. However, only a Schleese fitter can adjust or work on it or the warranty is void. And they are within hauling distance of me (about two hours each way) only about twice a year. So if there’s an issue in the meantime, you have two choices: Have somebody else fix it and void the warranty (which it appears isn’t worth much anyway) or don’t ride until you can get a fitting appointment in a few months.
I sold it and never looked back.

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I would ask whether when you buy a used saddle if the warranty is still valid as Schleese specifies that the saddles can only be worked on by their own fitters.

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Thanks, everyone.

The Schleese fitter seems to come to my area about 3X/year and there are several Schleese owners in a half-mile distance. We are on the way to and not far from Southern Pines, where the fitter has a bunch of horses. Seemingly, as long as I am in this area, I’ll have a fitter.

For those of you who had your saddles “sent out” for fitting, was that because no fitter would come to you? Did you do the measurements or did a Schleese rep come out to make measurements? @emo, who made the measurements for Jochen? Why did HE do the adjustment?

I recently sent my Obrigado to Canada to have the panels replaced . It is caramel colored, a “one of” made for someone down in Wellington a few years ago, and the local fitter does not carry caramel leather parts. Quite happy with the results. (the original panels were too long for my short backed guy).