Now this is more like the Schleese Saddlery I Know And Love

I had a very cute baby horse filled Wordless Wednesday post that is going to have to wait because I have a big update about my saddle! So I called Schleese yesterday morning to tell them that I just could not justify the extra expense of getting my saddle done and to just send it back to me. The Schleese representative (who incidentally has the same name as me) did not even take a full breath before she launched into sales mode. She tried to re-enforce to me how important it was to have a saddle that fits my horse. I let her know that I was aware of that, hence 3 fittings in the span of a year, but that I could not afford $1,900 to fix my saddle. I was pretty firm when I told her that there was no more discussing this. I had made up my mind and I just wanted my saddle back. Undeterred the woman asked what I was going to do since this saddle didn’t fit my horse. I told her the truth, I planned on buying a different saddle entirely for much less than the cost of the repair. I again just said that I wanted my saddle back. (oh and FYI, no I cannot use PO’s saddle for Phoenix because…she doesn’t have a saddle for Phoenix. He is much more my horse than I am willing to admit which is a post for another day).

Anyway, what I have come to expect from Schleese in all my years working with them is customer service. I was more than a little surprised that this woman was not taking no for an answer. One would think that if a client says no it means no. I was starting to get annoyed and angry with the whole situation for the first time during her speech about how proper saddle fit is so crucial to young horses that I wanted to scream. Gone was my melancholy mood as I explained to this woman that while I understood all of this I could not afford to spend that much on a repair. I explained that I have had my saddle fitted often to Phoenix and that Jochen himself had done the last fitting. I told her that I just wanted my saddle back. She told me that she would send my saddle back, but not until after she double checked to see if there was any other way to get the work done. I told her point blank that I was not interested about other ways, I just wanted my saddle back.

I could not believe that I hung up the phone annoyed with Schleese. This is the saddle company that had an employee who would remember to ask about Gen’s tendon whenever they sent an e-mail to me about fittings in the area. We are talking even 6 months after his injury they asked how things were going, always politely prefacing the e-mail with an “I’m so sorry that you horse is hurt”. These were the people who again had left me a really nice message after I lost Lexington and had to cancel my appointment with him. I could just not believe that this whole thing had happened. I went about my work as normal and a little while later my secretary told me that my phone had rang while I was out of the office. Figuring it was just Schleese confirming my address I listened to the message. I was wrong. Very wrong.

The representative saw Jochen in the office and explained the whole situation to him and guess what?


I am so excited! It is still a boat load of money, but it is a price I can afford at least. That is the kind of service that I have come to know and love from Schleese. They are the kind of company that normally works very hard to make sure that everything is done right. They want every customer to leave knowing something new that they can share with the world and also with a smile on their face. I have no idea what changed between yesterday and today, but I do know that I am over the moon happy right now! I cannot wait to get my saddle back with all the changes. Because of all the extensive work that is being done now it is adding up to another three+ weeks before I get it back (yikes). At least it is being fixed though and will hopefully fit my Phoenix perfectly when it comes back.

I do know that they put a part of one of my blog posts up on their testimonials page. I figured it out because I kept getting people coming to look at my blog through the Schleese website and couldn’t figure out why. Then I clicked on Testimonials and saw that I was up there with a link to my blog. PO was teasing me that they were going to do it because of the blog. I don’t think so though. I think that the Schleese company really just does have a heart. Jochen made a mistake quoting me the price he did and I appreciate the fact that Schleese is going to correct the mistake. I cannot wait to see how my saddle looks with an entirely new underside! I just cannot wait to get it back and ride in it. I really do love my saddle.


19 thoughts on “Now this is more like the Schleese Saddlery I Know And Love

  1. Great news! I’d still be choking on $1100 because I can’t understand what they could possibly be doing that would cost that much but…if you are good with it and it fits perfectly, then it’s good.

  2. I have to admit, I’m still not impressed AT ALL with their organization, though. They handled this terribly.
    Do they misquote, upsell and then pressure-tactic all their customers!?

    I’m glad it turned out okay in the end for you, but if it was my company, I would give you a discount at this point since they put you through the wringer. I work customer service — when we screw up and cause our customers stress, we give out free copies or full refunds. But, my products are video games for $35. Still a few $100 off ORIGINAL quote for the repair is what I would consider a more-correct solution. You’re walking away with just the deal that should have been honored all along! They’re not compensating you for the pain they put you through. Bad, bad form, Schleese.

  3. Don’t underestimate the power of blogging! This isn’t the first time that you’ve had a bad experience with a company (remember the SmartPak boot incident), posted about it on your blog, and then had the company rectify it. I’m sure that your reviews influenced the Schleese and SmartPak decisions. And I think that gives even more kudos to these companies for fixing it. It takes a company with great customer service to hear a customer’s concerns- whether over the phone, online, or both – and do something about it. I’m so glad that they are taking care of this for you. It’s definitely the right thing to do.

  4. The reason our associate in customer service talked to you so long and in such detail is because she was truly concerned and cared about your issues with Phoenix and knew that you would not be happy with another saddle in the end – especially since Phoenix is still so young and developing and you would certainly need a new saddle again in a year or so. I think she recognized that you don’t really want to keep spending thousands every year and keep changing saddles. This one-time investment to have a saddle that fits and can be adjusted as he changes over the years would be really what would be best for Phoenix (and you!)

    We thank you again for taking the time to voice your opinion and write about your experiences; believe me – it is not in our best interest to anger our clients, and it seems that this may have also been a simple misunderstanding (we’re all human after all, and as such do make mistakes!)

  5. It sounds as though they did their best to rectify the situation…..and that they DO care about their customers. I find it really cool that they asked a lot about Genny when he was hurt and trying to recover.

    I still do personally feel however, that if you are given a $ quote, the company should try to stay as close to that quote as possible. I do understand that things come up and sometimes there is no way around an increase, but an increase of almost half of the original quote is not acceptable IMHO.

    The important thing is that your saddle will be fitted to Phoenix after all and you will be all set to keep foward in his training! Double, triple Yay!!!

    Who knows — maybe you will still need to buy that Wintec in the future……. for Gennyral :-D!!!!!

    Can’t wait to see pics of Phoenix’s “new” saddle & bridle!

  6. Sometimes, as much as we ADORE and LOVE our ponies, we can not afford the best things for them – just like a parent with a child. Some parents aren’t able to afford the best in private schools, or the best in technology/computers. Some are getting by with the best they can, often due to circumstances that didn’t happen until this latest economic pitfall.

    And lots of us get into it, without realizing that our specific baby need EXTRA stuff due to their unique situation, beyond the normal costs.

    We all want to do what’s best, but sometimes, we simply Can. Not. Afford. The. Volvo. So we settle for something that may not be as safe or as comfortable.

    We understand the differences – Most of us, anyway. And that’s why we really don’t need to be told over and over again that we’re not doing the best for our Horse – because we CAN’T and that makes us feel horrible.

    I have scoured the internet researching Schleese, since we have a rep coming next month to help me figure out my saddle issues. The very few complaints (and I mean FEW) I have seen have centered around two issues: A bad saddle fitter (rare – very rare.) and their customer service – being extremely rude (e.g. like you experienced – perhaps this person’s “concern for your horse” overwhelmed her ability to empathize with YOU at all, and specifically your financial situation ) or basically unwilling to negotiate on product concerns. I want to emphasize I had to search hard to find these issues – so they are apparently rare, as even your experience would illustrate.

    Thank you for sharing it. And I am awed that Schleese actually responded to your post! Clearly they DO care about you, your horse, and their product and reputation. What a glorious change from the rest of the world!!

    Me, I’m looking forward to my first Schleese experience this March! Hopefully my current saddle won’t be too bad, and I can get an idea for the RIGHT Schleese I need and start scouring the used market.

    Thanks Again! Your story is a REAL testament to the Company, and not some fancy “ohIlovethemSOSOSOSmuchTheyareSOperfect” review.

  7. Oh that IS great news!!!!!! Oddly enough, I was thinking about your situation today and thought I was going to urge you to ask if they would honor the original price he quoted to you!
    I’m SOOOOO glad that there are still great companies out there that are not only into making huge profits.
    Smart of them and yea for you! 🙂

  8. I’m so happy for you!!!!! This is great……

    I also appreciated your honesty as you reccounted the story as it happened. This is what is GREAT about blogs and making an effort to blog each day. Looking back and writing the story, maybe only the good would have come through – that they were going to make good on what they said they would do…..but what makes this story especially moving is the depth of your emotion through it all. Keep blogging!

    Melinda – the silent reader by virtue of work firewalls. 😦

  9. After reading all the blogs posted here I as well am happy you are getting your saddle back and for a price you can afford.

    But after reading other post online from different sites it doesn’t look like Schleese is the place I would purchase from. I’ve read they are banned from barns, don’t work on any other saddles but their own etc. And also reading Sabine Schleese’s blog above they still don’t seem accountable for their actions. Even if mistakes happen. Customer service has gone by the way side she didn’t see sympathetic of your issue.

    Did you ever get an apology from the customer service rep that was rude to you?

    • Dear Joan and Cynthia:

      Thank you for taking the time to voice your opinions on this situation, although your righteous indignation seems somewhat misplaced. We did the right thing for Michelle, we apologized for the misunderstanding, yet you seem to be attacking one person in customer service in our company as a result of a personal interaction that may not have gone the way you wished it to, and you are quoting ‘from somewhere’ comments that may not actually have any validity.

      To clarify specifically:
      A) we do saddle fit evaluations on any saddle you may use on any horse you are riding; if we decline to work on a specific model it may be because we don’t want to negate the manufacturer’s warranty or because there is nothing that can be done to a particular saddle to make it work for your horse.
      b) if we are ‘banned from barns” (how many and where would truly interest me because this is news to me!) there might be a valid reason – for example, the owner may have an agreement with another supplier. It would likely not have to do with the level of service we offer to all of our clients,
      c) if our customer service ‘still stinks’ (how exactly is that?) please do enlighten us as to how you feel we can improve and
      d) the equestrian industry IS a horse-related industry, where the horses unfortunately are subject to the whims and opinions of their masters/owners/riders – and our mandate is to protect as many horses as possible from the vagaries of these sometimes uninformed/uneducated (but well-meaning) people to the best of our ability. Sometimes you simply don’t know what you don’t know, and it is worth thinking about how wonderfully most horses behave and move in spite of what they are subjected to!

      I am sorry you don’t find my responses or the company actions particularly ‘accountable’ however let me assure you that we care deeply about the satisfaction of each and every client – would we not, we would not enjoy the level of success and position in the industry that we do. How would you have liked me to respond?

      to paraphrase an ad I saw recently:
      “97% of women who ride in Schleese would highly recommend us to their friends… the other 3% never like anything anyway!”

      Happy Riding to All – Enjoy the Spring weather!

  10. Oh I so know who you talked to, she is the reason I didn’t buy a Schleese saddle when I called. I still may but I am trying to figure out how to get around her, she is AWFUL! I had a similiar experience, the lady has no listening skills, talks over you, and she is just flat rude. Honestly, I bought a different saddle but now have a horse that needs a custom but I have a hard time plunking down a bunch of money on a saddle to know that the customer service still stinks. Note to SCHLEESE, it is a people industry not a horses #$%^ industry!

  11. I have given the Schleese reps in my area many chances to provide me a proper service. I am no longer using them as my saddle fitter because the last time I had scheduled an appointment I was treated with disrespect, a schedule time mix up where I was never sent the new times and was blamed for it and told to contact Schleese Head Office and have them push back the time for the next client. I was given an appologie, but certainly did not seem sincere as she was very impatient and simlpy wanted to just leave the stable in a hurry. A witness also told me, as the rep was leaving her parking spot that their company van hit my car. I don’t believe it was done on purpose but she could have at least told me. After all that drama, my saddle was very poorly fitted, far too narrow on my horses shoulders which resulted in him rearing, bucking and kicking a whole in the arena side boards. I had no choice at this point but to sell my saddle. I was more than furious that I could no longer ride in my saddle and furthermore that it cost me a few hundred that evening for absolutely nothing. I am so disappointed, wish they would carefully choose who they hire to work at and represent their company!

  12. I’m considering a Schleese, I’m impressed with the content of the media that’s available……but I simply can’t afford for it to not fit. Horse has been off work for over 2 years & still has a lot of shape changing to do…..I’m worried that he will need expensive refits for the next 12 months, & it will only take the smallest amount of incorrect pressure/pinching for him to go right back to where he was 2 years ago.
    I’m wondering if using a soft-tree saddle for a few months would be of any benefit, as at least that way I shouldn’t have a fitting issue, & it would give him time to change his shape without the potential of a saddle causing any additional problems. I’m aware of the treed versus treeless debates, I don’t personally like treeless as he is wide & very sharp & a true treeless sits me far too wide & I can’t balance. So my thoughts were a soft-tree with a twist, which would keep me secure & not be pinching his shoulders, could possibly be a short-term rehab answer. And as it would take 3 months to have a schleese made, I have to use something in the meantime.
    Anyone got any thoughts on this?

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