Horse Illustrated’s Barn Banter Podcast Features Saddle Fitting Expert Jochen Schleese

Horse Illustrated releases the sixth episode of its new podcast, Barn Banter. Co-hosts Raquel Lynn and Susan Friedland talk to saddle fitting expert Jochen Schleese and Horse Illustrated contributor and clinician Jec Ballou. This episode is presented by Title Sponsor Straight Arrow Products. To listen to this episode, visit or search your favorite podcasting app to listen and subscribe to the show.

This month’s first guest, German Certified Master Saddler and Saddle Ergonomist Jochen Schleese, received his initial training in saddle making from Passier and Sohn in Germany. In 1984, he was certified as the youngest master saddler ever in Europe, and was asked to come to North America from Germany in 1986 to be the Official Saddler for the World Dressage Championships held in Toronto. Jochen confers regularly with industry professionals and is a guest speaker at equine veterinary schools, riding instructor conferences, and teaches equine ergonomics on five continents through Saddlefit 4 Life, founded in 2006 as a global network of equine professionals dedicated to the comfort and protection of the horse.

This month’s second guest, Jec Ballou, is an author, clinician and contributor to Horse Illustrated. Raised in a horse training family in Vermont, Jec Ballou studied dressage throughout Europe, and eventually settled in California. About 15 years ago, she realized most of the problems riders struggled with stemmed from their horses not using their bodies well. They lacked strength or coordination, they had muscle imbalances, they were stiff. Meanwhile, horse training had become too specialized and way too complicated. Jec saw a need for simple tools to help horses use their bodies optimally and so she wrote her first book in 2005, 101 Dressage Exercises for Horse and Rider, which was endorsed by the United States Dressage Federation as critical for every rider to own. Three other books followed which have been translated into foreign languages and widely trusted around the world for helping horses regain freedom of movement, an enjoyment of exercise and strong bodies. Jec offers online courses, clinics and customized training programs to empower riders to get their horses moving confidently and comfortably.

Raquel and Susan wrap this Barn Banter episode with the ASPCA Right Horse adoptable horse of the month, Lauren. Click here to learn more about this Thoroughbred filly looking for a confident handler.

Co-host Raquel Lynn keeps her Paint Horse mare, Fira, on her urban equestrian property in Los Angeles, Calif. She has a passion for fashion and an eye for interior design and creating. Raquel is the creator of the popular blogs Horses & Heels and Stable Style. She is also the author of Stable Style: Barn Inspiration for all Equestrians and freelances for a variety of equine publications, including Horse Illustrated and Western Life Today.

Co-host Susan Friedland is a blogger at Saddle Seeks Horse and frequent contributor to Horse Illustrated. The former middle school teacher and fan of equestrian travel has written three books: Horses Adored and Men Endured, a horse lover’s dating memoir; Unbridled Creativity: 101 Writing Exercises for the Horse Lover; and Strands of Hope: How to Grieve the Loss of a Horse. She’s a proud OTTB mom to her gelding Knight.

Barn Banter releases new episodes once a month on all major podcasting apps, including Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify. For show notes and more information about each episode, visit Sponsorship opportunities are available; interested parties can contact Rima Dorsey at

Horse Illustrated would like to thank title sponsor Straight Arrow Family of Brands, makers of Mane ‘n Tail, Cowboy Magic, and Exhibitor’s, with over 100 years of grooming excellence. For more information about your favorite products, please visit and find Straight Arrow Products at a tack shop near you!

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Horse Illustrated, Young Rider, Western Life Today,,, and are part of the EG Media stable. Horse Illustrated is the magazine for people who are passionate about horses. Each issue offers advice on horse health and care, plus user-friendly training tips for both English and western riders and engaging lifestyle features for horse lovers. Young Rider educates horse-loving kids ages 8-15 with a combination of English and western riding lessons, horse-care hints, and stories about real-life young riders, plus fun, interactive elements. Western Life Today is the premier publication for all things western, from fashion and entertainment to destinations and more. Visit,, and to learn more. Contact us at 844-330-6373 or


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Horse Illustrated & Young Rider