Born in a small town outside of Munich Germany it is not surprising that horses are in my blood. My first thought, word and memory were horses, horses, horses. At the age of twelve I shoveled snow, raked leaves and mowed lawns until I had saved up enough money to buy my first pony. I was on her back every free moment.
After college the first thing I bought was an off-the-track race horse that ran away with me just about every day. I started eventing but wasn’t very brave and dressage was my favorite phase of the sport. So after a couple years of hitting the ground, I officially switched to dressage, which I love!
I didn’t become aware of the importance of saddle fitting until my second FEI horse had a lengthy lay off after surgery. His saddle just didn’t fit when I started him back to work. I spent the next nine months in search of “the saddle”. I would buy a new saddle and my trainer Shannon Peters would come into town for a clinic and she would quickly nix it as too tight, too curvy or too wide, etc. Finally, after many unsuccessful attempts she stopped us after just one lap around the arena and pulled out her phone, dialed Debbie Witty the owner of Performance Saddlery and said you have to come to Michigan to help my friend. And unbelievably she did.
It was during that very educational weekend that Debbie asked me if I would be interested in being her saddle fitter in Michigan. It was, and continues to be, an eye opening experience. I have spent the last several years training with Debbie, learning about proper saddle fit and how a horse’s back can change due to aging, training, illness or time off due to injury. I have also learned how each horse can carry a saddle differently according to how they lift their back and how asymmetrical both horses and riders are. A horse’s back is continually changing which is why it is so important to find a really good saddle fitter. No matter what a horse’s job is -- from trail horse to Olympic champion -- saddle fit is as important to their performance as their fitness, nutrition, or the balance of their feet. I feel very blessed to be able to help make a difference in the comfort level of these giving animals that work so hard to please us.