My Tuesday Schleese Adventure

So I FINALLY get to share my big news. Tomorrow I am getting my saddle fit by…Jochen Schleese!!! For those of you who do not ride dressage allow me to explain. My saddle is a Schleese brand saddle. Jochen Schleese is coming to fit it. I am getting, not only a master saddle fitter, but also the person who founded the brand of my saddle to come and fit it to Phoenix! For those of you with really good memories you will recall that back in November I had my saddle fitted by the local tack store owner. She is new to the saddle fitting business and so she gave us a conservative fit. She was also not able to fix the problems that I was having with my saddle which was a total bummer. She spent a long time working on it, but in the end she was just not able to get it to sit right. Her recommendation was to send my saddle away to get cut up and put back together in a way that better suits Phoenix (this was Gennyral’s saddle mind you and they have very different body types). I was reluctant to go without it for several weeks during the show season so I was waiting until the weather looked like crap on the 10 day forecast (I was told it would only take 2 weeks). While waiting an amazing opportunity came up.

I live VERY close to one of the current US Dressage Team members. They wanted a certified Schleese fitter to come down instead of going with the local tack shop owner. Since our normal rep from our area just had a baby (the one who did Phoenix’s saddle the first time back in January of 2009) she was not coming down. I am not sure how one thing lead to another but the next thing I know Jochen Schleese, the man himself, is coming to the area! I also knew that there was not a chance in hell that my no name self and my Fat Spotted Pony would ever have a chance of getting in on the fitting with Jochen Schleese so I did not even try to put in for it.

Last week I got a call from one of the people over at the Crik (the show grounds Phoenix and I competed at this year). They had found out through Phoenix’s Owner (PO) that I wanted my saddle done. They were getting a second fitting in my area, was I still interested. I said yes, but I also said that Phoenix would need a ride. My truck is basking in the Arizona sunshine so I had no way to get Phoenix to a fitting. The woman told me she would drive Phoenix so that was not a problem. Was I still interested. I answered yes again, but I said that I have to work so the fitting would have to be later if I was to be involved. The woman told me that would not be a problem because we would be the second barn of the day and that I could go last.

It was only after I hung up the phone that I got really excited. And then really nervous. First the excited part. Jochen Schleese, a big deal saddle fitter, was going to look at my saddle and my pony to see if they can work together. If anyone can fix the problems that I am having it is Jochen Schleese! I started to get nervous though thinking about the fact that Jochen Schleese is going to be coming right from working with some of the top horses in the country. Most of whom are Bay. And very dressagey. Jochen Schleese would be going from the classic dressage horse right to my Phoenix, who is not the first thing people think of when they think of a dressage horse :P. I admit it I am nervous about what Jochen Schleese will think of my Fat Spotted Pony. I wish there was a day gap in there so he would have time to forget the wonderfulness of the other horses so he would have a better shot at seeing the wonderfulness of Phoenix.

Not helping the nerves either is the fact that I am worried what Jochen Schleese will think of me. When I was filling out the visit form on the website it asks a bunch of questions like what type of saddle it is and what kind of horse you have, etc. There was a question that put my nerves on overdrive. It was “Rider weight”. Anyone who has reading my blog for a while knows that sort of thing doesn’t bother me, so why the nerves? I was happily scrolling down to put my weight in when the answers options suddenly stopped. Schleese doesn’t give a weight option past 180 pounds. Clearly, anyone seeing a picture of me knows I am well past that. I had to put a plus (+) symbol down because there are no weight options as large as I am. Nothing like getting the first impression that being fat is not okay to Jochen Schleese. Clearly fat people don’t ride in Schleese saddles…except me. Nothing like being REALLY different right?

So I am trying not to get nervous about the whole thing. It is just a saddle fitting after all. Even if it is kind of a big deal. I am still in shock that Jochen Schleese will be adjusting my saddle! It all happened so fast. I hope I can keep my nerves at bay tomorrow. Clearly I am nervous. I wonder how many times I used Jochen Schleese’s name in this post. That is so a dead giveaway as to how big a deal this is to me!

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9 thoughts on “My Tuesday Schleese Adventure

  1. I’d stop worrying what he’s going to think of Phoenix – he will probably see him as a challenge to fit because he’s NOT the typical dressage horse. A true professional will not look at what you are seeing as obstacles, they will see them as challenges and put themselves up to the task of conquering them! Same for your weight. No doubt he works with a lot of skinny-ass little dressage riders but fitting a saddle correctly for a Rubenesque woman is much more challenging!

    Have fun and learn all you can while he’s there. Pick the guy’s brain!

  2. Count your lucky stars this man is coming to fit your saddle and stop obsessing about the small stuff. He’s not going to say anything to you about your horse or your weight. He’s a professional and he won’t insult someone who owns one of his saddles.

    I only wish I had one of those saddles to be fitted. I want to possibly get one when Dusty, Blue and myself are fit and see if there is a saddle out there for horses with broad backs and no withers. So just enjoy the experience and be upbeat and confident, you ARE getting your saddle fitted by Jochen Schleese !

  3. Ditto to what the others said!!!

    Have fun and enjoy the experience. I would be nervous too, but you have to try and set that aside so you can say you had your saddle fit by the man himself!!! 🙂

    I like what Michelle wrote about him probably embracing the challenge of fitting the saddle to a different horse than the typical WB types…

  4. WOW! I am drooling now- how awesome that the man himself is going to lay hands on your saddle!?!?! I wouldn’t sweat the small stuff & hey, he should be flattered that the Spotted Pony’s back is graced with one of his saddles:)

  5. Jochen will be thrilled to work with a challenging horse and rider combo; I think you will find him very knowledgeable and truly passionate about what he does! I look forward to your comments after your session with him! Enjoy!

  6. What a super opportunity…..and I suspect that fitting horses besides high end FEI warmbloods could be fascinating to a saddler….especially one such as he is!

    Bask in your opportunity and just THINK what you are giving your horse!!!

  7. Don’t worry..if a master can’t fix any and all saddle issues, well then..that isn’t YOUR fault, nor your spotted pony’s, is it?! 🙂
    Anyway, I’m sure it’ll go great! Enjoy and absorb!

  8. Now, now, don’t worry. And I don’t mean that to sound patronizing…Jochen is VERY nice and very knowledgeable, especially about fitting saddles to the female skeleton.
    And remember, your bones are more important than what is covering them, since your seatbones are what you ride on. 🙂
    Seriously, I know Jochen–he has come to my barn (Windsor, at the time) to do saddle-fitting for my members/students, and he is as friendly (and funny) as he is knowledgeable. And your assessment of his knowledge is correct.
    Schleese and County are the only two brands of saddles I recommend. You are lucky to have Jochen himself, but don’t be nervous. You will like him. And he will like Phoenix. He has worked with ALL types, and ALL levels, and ALL disciplines of horses–even western ones!
    Let yourself have fun at this event. Kudos to you, too, for doing the best thing possible for your horse–a well-fitted saddle!

  9. Riders come in every size, even in dressage and any horse can do dressage. Knowing that….if he is as awesome as you say, he will embrace you as a fellow dressage enthusiast and want to help you achieve that perfect fit. I know that you will get nervous….I was practically hyperventilating when I met the Parellis. Just breathe and remember these are our horse gods, but they are just like us and love what we love. Enjoy your time and garner as much info as you can….and of course get pics for us!

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