Jochen Schleese

Certified Master Saddler and Saddle Ergonomist
Founder of Saddlefit 4 Life

“I have been in the saddle from the time I was three years old in the hills of Cordoba, Argentina. When we returned to Germany we owned several horses and ponies and I began to compete in 3-day events. I was also working to become a Certified Master Saddler while a Passier & Son just outside of Hanover, Germany.

I finally realized that the ongoing soundness and lameness issues of my competitive Hanoverian, Pirat, were caused by my saddle – which led to the epiphany that the saddle not only needs to be comfortable for the rider, but definitely needs to accommodate the horse’s conformation and anatomy. The saddle, acting as the interface between horse and rider needs to ensure the biomechanics of both are supported.

The saddle needs to be constantly adjustable to the changing conformation of the horse over its lifetime, over its training, over its career. It has been my lifetime passion to design saddles that will conform to this requirement of being fitted to both horse and rider, and to educate riders everywhere as to the implications of poor saddle fit.”

“The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.” JFK

Valerie Ponocny

Certified Equine and Saddle Ergonomist

“I completed my training with Jochen Schleese in USA and Canada in 2009. Since starting my own company ‘Ergo Saddle Fit’ I have been busy with continuing to train new saddle ergonomist as well as continuing to grow my business in Switzerland and Germany. The service trips to my many clients allows trainees extensive opportunities to experience many different types of horses and meet many different riders.

Besides teaching how to analyse and fit saddles properly, I also teach trainees how to effectively work with both horses and their riders. I offer organizational and scheduling tips for personal business development. Trainees have the opportunity to stay at my facility, ride at my stable, and try out various saddles to develop a feel for each model. After certification has been completed, I continue working with the newly minted saddle ergonomists as they build up their own clientele.“

Katja Lange

Certified Equine and Saddle Ergonomist
Master of Equine Husbandry

In 1993 Katja completed her Master’s Certification in Equine Husbandry with distinction (‘Oskar-Maria Stensbeck’ Award of Merit). She has been working as coach and trainer for dressage horses and riders all the way up to Grand Prix since 1996, while competing successfully herself at this level in Germany, Luxembourg, and USA. From 2000-2010 she ran a training facility “Lange auf der Wintermuehle” together with her husband.

2011 she moved to the ‘Kronenhof’ in Langen outside of Frankfurt, Germany, and since 2013 has been running her company ‘Dressurreiten(er)leben’ (Experience Dressage) from there. She gained experience in operations, marketing, and business administration while working at the UKB Equine Consulting Services. She has been working as a Certified Saddle Ergonomist since 2013.

Anke Münch

M.A.Sc.(interior design architect)

I grew up in an agriculturally based family and was obsessed with horses since I was a child.

I love dressage, but over the years I have also ridden jumpers, evented, done endurance, ridden icelandics, and western - as well as tried my hand at driving.

At 15 I bought my first horse - a chestnut Trakehner mare. I soon realized how important saddle fit was for performance; over the years I experienced many poorly fitting saddles! In 2015 my research brought me to Saddlefit 4 Life and I finally got the answers I was looking for. I completed my certification as an Equine Ergonomist that very same year and since then have been concentrating my career completely on this extremely important subject.

In 2016 I began assisting the trainers of the S4L Academy by correcting the evaluation forms and helping out the new graduates with answers to their technical questions.

I completed my own certification as a Saddle Ergonomist in 2017 and began working as a trainer for S4L myself. I now teach the Equine Ergonomist courses and work in a team with Katja Lange ( all across Germany and in Denmark to help spread the philosophy of Saddlefit 4 Life.

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