I admit, I was dreading it when I received this book in the mail for a review. Suffering In Silence by Jochen Schleese sounded like some horrible animal rights book. I was prepared to say I would be out of the country and totally off the grid for a year or two.
Instead, I found a fascinating read on saddle fitting for both horse and rider! The title comes from Mr. Schleese’s feeling that he had done a disservice to his eventer, Pirat due to poorly fitted tack. Learning about his horse’s arthritis led to his study of saddles and saddle fitting for both horses and riders. He also founded SaddleFit4Life, a network of master saddlers, veterinarians and riders dedicated to educating horse owners about saddles, saddle fit and how to achieve the best possible fit for both horse and rider.
The book is a marvel for anyone interested in tack, especially saddles. There are many historical references – significant to me as my very first saddle many years ago which was thrown in with the purchase of a crazy bay gelding that my cousin and I bought was a McClellan (the cavalry saddle). I might add . . . it was the most uncomfortable saddle I have ever ridden in!
I really appreciate the fact that Mr. Schleese uses science and actual facts to develop his saddles and his theory on saddle making. Veterinarians, riders, trainers and physicians all provided insights and input.
The book is filled with excellent diagrams and photographs showing where there are pressure points on a horse’s muscles and back. He does not forget the rider either – there are diagrams, skeletal examples and even “butt molds” to show the differences between female and male riders. The book shows how both human and equine health can benefit from a properly designed and fitted saddle.
Saddle pads are also covered in this book as well as individual saddle design preferences – how do you like your thigh rolls?
Bottom Line: This is a superb account of the factors you should consider when purchasing a saddle, with plenty of extra historical and medical information thrown in.
Best Suited For: Any serious rider though geared mostly towards English riding, especially dressage, jumping and eventing.
You Will Be Disappointed If: You are a Western rider or were hoping for an animal rights diatribe.
You can purchase this book through HorseBooksEtc.
Deb M. Eldredge, DVM, Contributing Veterinary Editor