Dear Readers and Riders:

This will be my last blog for Horse-Canada. I have had the privilege and pleasure of writing for you on the topic of saddle fit and related subjects over the last three years, and have managed to have over 100 of my articles published on this website. I trust that one or the other person will have found something of value and interest in what I have written about, and will have improved the lives of their horses because of it. That is the true gratification of everything that I do, that we at Schleese do – making a difference in the comfort and well-being of horse (and rider!).
My travels and my work especially with Saddlefit 4 Life® have taken me pretty much all over the world; interest in the topic of saddle fitting is growing, and I am spending most of my time now lecturing, teaching, and giving clinics. When I am home (not very often, unfortunately!) my time in the production shop is spent developing new products, innovating new designs, and working with my talented staff of excellent craftsmen to continue to bring you the latest and best saddles for you and your horses.

I am excited on the educational front for two huge steps in the coming year: my Saddlefit 4 Life® curriculum is under consideration to be included as an elective at the University of Guelph for its degree program “Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management” in the Animals Sciences program at OAC. And secondly: my wife Sabine has decided to go back to Guelph to pursue her PhD in Equine Sciences, with a thesis that broadly involves the discussion on how saddle fit affects equine performance! I look forward to working with her on the research that accompanies this thesis over the next few years, with the involvement of many of our clients.

As such, I will still continue to publish articles in various equestrian magazines and on our own website – and will be working closely with Muriel Chestnut, who will be writing for me. Muriel was actually my very first female apprentice and has been in and out of the Schleese family pretty much for 30+ years. I am excited to be able to collaborate with her, as she is an accomplished equestrienne in her own right as well. Sabine will also be sharing her results over the next few years, especially as they have relevance to what we are doing.

I take this opportunity to wish you all the very best of the season; Merry Christmas, and all the best for the New Year. As 2017 ends, we send prayers (and financial support) to our friends in California, who have had more than their share of devastating fires this year and have lost so much. It is in trying times such as these that the horse community shows its familial spirit and rises to the occasion. It is a small and closely-knit group of people, and we are honoured to play such an important role in helping to keep the lines of communication, education, and passion open.

Happy Trails!

Jochen Schleese