LOPE is thrilled and honored to announce that Schleese Saddlery Service is now a LOPE sponsor! Schleese provides custom fitted saddles designed for the female rider and the biomechanics of the horse. Their saddles are of the highest quality for both performance and pleasure riding — and provide the horse with the most comfort and support to ensure full movement in all gaits.
LOPE’s mission of placing ex-racehorses into new homes has required that we learn more about equine biomechanics — so that we can more effectively assess and help each ex-racehorse into the right new career. Many ex-racehorses carry body tension and muscle memory from their track days — and proper saddle fit is one of the most critical elements in helping the horse transition into proper movement for new disciplines.
LOPE is launching a public education drive to raise awareness about the role of saddle fit in good horsemanship and horse care. “We are not performance riders at LOPE,” stated Lynn Reardon, LOPE’s executive director. “But our work with ex-racehorses has led us to Schleese, because of the tremendous impact their saddle fit has on equine comfort and ability to move properly. Whether you are a competitive dressage rider or weekend trail rider, Schleese saddles will help you and your horse be a happier, healthier team.”
Lightening Ball, a 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding who raced until age 9, is one of LOPE’s poster horses for this education effort. “Lightening Ball was very tight in his back muscles and seemed unable to let down and relax into proper movement. Within ten minutes of riding him in a Schleese saddle, Lightening Ball demonstrated a huge aptitude for dressage movement. No longer impeded by improper saddle fit, he immediately lifted his withers and moved his back to allow for a full, flowing trot and canter. It was very dramatic,” said Reardon.
Even more surprising was the change in Lightening Ball’s demeanor. “He can be very stoic and reserved. But after working in the Schleese saddle, his personality has really come to the surface. He is noticeably happier and seems to really enjoy his lessons and work now,” commented Reardon.
Reardon and Lightening Ball will be chronicling their journey as they learn dressage together in a specially fitted saddle donated by Schleese. As they take lessons at Hy Court Farm in Cedar Creek, TX, LOPE will be recording Lightening Ball’s progress and changes in movement under saddle.
“LOPE is very grateful to Schleese for giving us such a generous sponsorship. With their help, we are better able to help horses like Lightening Ball fulfill their performance potential and transition to the right new careers,” said Reardon.
Just follow the LOPE blog for updates on Lightening Ball’s progress. For more information on Schleese saddles and their benefits for horse and rider, go to www.schleese.com.