Posted by: shannonc | February 24, 2010

The Link II chapter

Schleese Link II, 17″ monoflap, extreme cutback shoulder panel:

Awfully pretty, isn't it?

I guess if there is a time to consider a saddle more expensive than what you would think of spending on, say, a room’s worth of furniture, the time would be while you are nursing bruises over being bucked to kingdom come.  Said bucking and bruising being, of course, a known cause of pocketbook vulnerability.

The tree on this saddle is adjustable, and Schleese comes to New England regularly in the spring and fall.  If anything it is a bit too wide so it could probably be ridden in with padding temporarily.  I like the seat, love the monoflap and wide gullet, and the flap length is okay at about 16″.  As usual I’m worried about the length on his back.  It also rocks some with a regular pad, less with a Mattes (weirdly, one without shims).

I doubt I will have enough time in the trial to have a fitter look at it, so I filled in the online form at the  Schleese site on the off chance that they might be willing to answer some questions for me.  I say off chance since I’m not approaching as a potential new customer for much more than a refit.  I know the saddle doesn’t fit perfectly – my question is whether or not it is fittable.

I sent the form Sunday and first thing Monday an email response appeared in my inbox.  Since then they have spent quite a bit of time with me, even looking at pictures of the saddle on the pony to try and help.  There continues to be some question about the length although the 17″ is built on a tree length more like what you would find on a 16.5″.  I can’t see the tree, only the panel – which, admittedly, could cause soreness on its own – but that is some comfort.

I have to admit I’m very surprised and impressed by the level of support they have offered to such a small-potatoes customer.  Hooray for stoking the fire of pocketbook vulnerability :P

Here’s a better look at the length on him.  The saddle does pass the last-rib rule (so long as it stays put, which is to say, there’s not a lot of buffer space), although Colleen was telling me last week that the rule can be somewhat misleading, as the overall available weight-bearing area of the panel is more critical.  At least, that’s what I think she said.  As far as I know, and sadly for me, a Rosetta Stone for the infinitely mysterious language of saddle fit has not yet been published.

Ouch or ouchless?

The weather at the moment is nasty – it’s a veritable baklava of ice-snow-ice out there – but with any luck I’ll be able to ship out to a lesson tomorrow, and take the Link II along for another ride.  Hopped up on Advil, of course :)



  1. I bought a saddle from them 15 yrs ago and Love it — it was a Cliff Barnsby and it is still perfect and great fit. I took another one on trial 2 yrs ago and had a bad experience which was disappointing.
    Check out my website if you have a chance — Would love to know what you think.

  2. Personally I love Schleese’s however, this saddle looks too long to me for your horse – it looks like it is sitting on his loins which will cause him to buck. You should watch the fitting videos on their website and it will tell you exactly how to fit this saddle to your horse…….you will see what I mean.

  3. Hi,

    Do you want to sell your Link II? I am looking for a previously owned one…

  4. Thanks all! @Cindy – the jump system is a fascinating idea! I will pass this word around for sure – if I had a little more land cleared, I might be able to use it myself. Everyone complains about not being able to school enough xc jumps!

    @Wendy – this one isn’t mine – you may have luck emailing Schleese ( or talking to Patricia at – I’ve found them both very helpful!

    @aussiechic – you’re right, the length was the concern. I had Schleese look at it and they thought it might work since this 17″ is built on a 16.5″ tree, the smallest they make. The only thing better would be a relief panel from them. The French saddles are apparently also built on shorter trees.

    I appreciate the input!

  5. I am looking for exactly this set up. If the owner of this saddle is interested in selling please let me know. :~)

  6. Thanks..I have already talked with my Schleese fitter..driving her nuts trying to find a used one. Patricia had one for me about two weeks ago but it was out on trial and was sold…I can go on….it’s nearly impossible to find a used one…think I’ve lost out on about 5 in the last 3 weeks…oh well…thanks never hurts to ask. :)

  7. I think that was me Wendy. I’m sorry!

    I do know someone with one currently for sale. Try Joy Congdon, email available at:

    I don’t have all the details on this Link II but she mentioned to me she had one for sale. Maybe it will be a match!

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