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Foxhall
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:54 PM
This question is directed towards riders on here competing at the upper levels mainly (prelim and above).

I recently switched trainers and started riding with a big name upper level rider in Ocala. He went out on a horse with me for a gallop set so he could help me with my gallop position. He was saying that I needed to get my leg out in front of me more and be more out of the saddle in my position. As we were hacking back to the barn, he said that he would let me ride in his "cross country saddle" to help me feel the difference and that I should start thinking about purchasing one of these saddles. The difference I felt from riding in my flatter Jaguar saddle to the cross country saddle was pretty remarkable, it was much easier to stay in the correct gallop position. He was saying that most professionals have separate xc saddles and he rides in one at the preliminary level and above.

So, how many people out there have a separate saddle for cross country? Was it worth the money? How often and at what level do you start using one? Where do you find these saddles (used is fine) for a reasonable price?

Thanks in advance :)

lstevenson
Jan. 11, 2010, 09:14 PM
So, how many people out there have a separate saddle for cross country?


I have always had just two saddles, a dressage and a x-c saddle, and have never had a problem doing show jumping in my x-c saddle. I would much prefer having to do sj in a x-c saddle, than try to do x-c at upper levels in a sj saddle. When you get to the bigger drops you will know why. ;)

Bobthehorse
Jan. 11, 2010, 09:25 PM
I dont think this is as common as it used to be. When my coach was a working student in the 80s, she said most of the upper level riders had 3 saddles. They did stadium in double flap, more conventional jumping saddles, and ran xc in something more forward (something like a Devoucoux Ioldy or a Pariani military). Those saddles put you in a different position, and require a shorter stirrup than stadium should have for sure.

Of course they now make a lot of saddles that have the xc "look" but arent designed very forward at all, and have pretty much the same balance of most jumper saddles.

Hilary
Jan. 12, 2010, 09:05 AM
Pass the tiara my way - While I am not currently competing at prelim, and when I did I didn't have a separate saddle, my current horse is extremely particular about where I sit and I ended up buying an Ainsley Chester (used) this summer because it really made a difference for us.

Unlike the other jump saddles I've used (except maybe an older stubben) this one felt most secure when I had my leg more in front, and my weight back - it's a very different balance. Horse loves it for XC. It's not great for stadium jumping so I didn't sell my other jumping saddle, so yes, I now have 3...

Jazzy Lady
Jan. 12, 2010, 09:36 AM
Sure, lots of pros have 3 or 9... depending on how many saddles their sponsors chuck their way.

I have 2 and I ride at prelim/int. I have a cross country and a dressage. I stadium in my cross country. I can't afford 3 saddles.

subk
Jan. 12, 2010, 09:54 AM
Another one here who thinks having a XC saddle is so important that the two I have is a dressage saddle and a XC saddle. I show jump in my ancient, original design Ainsley Chester XC saddle.

Divine Comedy
Jan. 12, 2010, 09:57 AM
I have just the dressage and the Devoucoux Chiberta which I use for both XC and SJ. In fact most of the people at my barn (the majority of which ride at P and up) have just two saddles, usually some version of the same jump saddle as me. (Our trainer is sponsored by Devoucoux and our assistant trainer is sponsored by Antares, so almost everyone has one or the other.)

Both of my trainers have more saddles, but they are multiples of the same saddle, since they sometimes ride four or more horses at an event. Neither uses a different saddle for XC, even at Rolex or WEG or anything like that.

GiGi
Jan. 13, 2010, 10:14 AM
Not an upper level rider BUT I have always jumped in a cross country saddle.
I love my Barnsby Diablo. I have cliniced with several top riders (iwillnotnamedrop) and have never had my position questioned and was applauded for keeping off my horses' backs when galloping between jumps. The saddle makes it easy!

yellow rose eventing
Jan. 13, 2010, 01:06 PM
I used to have a Devoucoux Ioldy and I couldn't stand it. I thought it was way too forward to ride and jump comfortably

I have a CWD that is a monoflap XC that I both showjump and ride XC in at the 3* level. I also ride several horses in it every day and I really do consider it my best friend.

Across the board, the technology and balance in the new monoflap XC saddles are so good I think they eliminate the need for two seperate jumping saddles.

purplnurpl
Jan. 13, 2010, 01:21 PM
I hate hate hate monoflap jumping saddles.
Maybe I'm a weak and sucky rider? But I don't feel secure in them at all.
I'm also not a fan of the 'stick your feet out in front of you' style. It doesn't work for me at all.

Stubben has a new one that is REALLY nice. But I still prefer double flat and fat blocks.

I jump in a Prestige Eventer. It has SJ balance. Love it. Love it. Love it.

This saddle doesn't look particularly forward.
and it works quite well!
http://www.horsemagazine.com/CLINIC/O/OCONNORS/kconner.jpg

I guess I don't really understand the difference. Do XC saddles just have more block to them and SJ saddles are usually more flat?

deltawave
Jan. 13, 2010, 01:39 PM
I've always used the same saddle for all the jumping phases, and do 99% of conditioning rides in the same saddle as well, simply because it lets ME get some of the workout as well. You CAN do trot sets in a dressage saddle, but you really don't WANT to. :)

My trainer has a really, really forward (almost looks like a big jockey saddle) XC saddle that she used to ride in, but she doesn't use it any more. She does all the jumping phases in an Antares close contact-type. I thought I'd HATE her saddle after having my big, forward Berney Bros. for years, but it was love at first butt-contact and I bought one just like hers soon after.

Moral of story: saddle preferences are really, REALLY personal. What works for one person will absolutely be a disaster for another. In my observations it doesn't seem to be a talent/level/body type thing, either--just a very individual "feel" thing between one's butt and one's saddle. :D

Hilary
Jan. 13, 2010, 02:00 PM
I guess I don't really understand the difference. Do XC saddles just have more block to them and SJ saddles are usually more flat?


No, it's more in where you sit - my Ainsley and my Prestige Eventer are both 17" saddles. The point of balance in Ainsely's seat is about 6" further back than the Prestige's. Side by side, the Ainslely looks like a 19" saddle.


In the Prestige, when I'm cruising along between fences I can sort of sit up off the horse, or close back down into the saddle without changing where my upper body/legs are. My leg feels very vertically underneath me. It's super secure, with or without the blocks, but my weight is not back. It's vertical.

In the Ainsley, you can cruise along in 2-point to gallop and have your feet similarly vertically under you, but when you want to sit up and back to balance before a fence to have, as Lucinda says "3/4 of the horse in front of you" it's like the hand of god reached down and sat you into the horse's back end. As a result, your feet are a little more out in front of you but none of the photos actually show that happening.

Now, if you have a horse who doesn't require you to be in the way back back seat, the Prestige is fine - I thought it was fine until I sat in the Ainsley and it put me where I'd been trying to get all summer. So, I agree with DW, that horse and rider preference are a lot of this equation.

asterix
Jan. 13, 2010, 03:00 PM
I know you were interested in upper level, and I've only competed through prelim...

when I was last saddle shopping (for one jump saddle, two NOT in the budget) I ended up doing the same thing everyone else has said -- getting one that was optimized for xc over sj.

I fell in love with a County Stabilizer for jumping in the ring -- absolute love -- but it was just not enough help xc...so I went with the County Conquest, which works very well for me right now XC and quite well in the ring.

The first horse trial I went to after this I realized I was show jumping
a) on sloping ground and
b) 10 minutes before I went xc.

So I knew I had made the right choice.

At prelim and above, it is somewhat more common in Area II to go XC on another day, but no more common to jump on groomed ground (that's at best 50-50).

My trainer borrowed my Conquest and really liked it -- BUT she said at the *** and **** star level (which she has some experience at), it's "not enough" -- so I would put it in the category of good compromise saddle for both phases up to a point -- at the highest levels I have no doubt you do better in saddles really optimized for you in each phase.

So, I suppose when I run my first ***, I'll have to go saddle shopping. This, naturally, is the only thing holding me back.:D

RunForIt
Jan. 13, 2010, 05:09 PM
-- but it was just not enough help xc...so I went with the County Conquest, which works very well for me right now XC and quite well in the ring.

The first horse trial I went to after this I realized I was show jumping
a) on sloping ground and
b) 10 minutes before I went xc.

So I knew I had made the right choice.

At prelim and above, it is somewhat more common in Area II to go XC on another day, but no more common to jump on groomed ground (that's at best 50-50).

My trainer borrowed my Conquest and really liked it -- BUT she said at the *** and **** star level (which she has some experience at), it's "not enough" -- so I would put it in the category of good compromise saddle for both phases up to a point -- at the highest levels I have no doubt you do better in saddles really optimized for you in each phase.

So, I suppose when I run my first ***, I'll have to go saddle shopping. This, naturally, is the only thing holding me back.:D

I too love the Stabilizer - bought one for Buddy when I retired him and did jump BN stuff in it at Paradise Farm. BUT, here's my question, i DIDN'T like the Conquest cause it's just so BIG and BULKY...what does your trainer mean that the Conquest is "not enough"? Any "more" and how would you ever get up off the horse's back!

And yes, some day, you very well may be needing that "other" saddle! :D :cool:

asterix
Jan. 13, 2010, 05:21 PM
you know, I didn't love the concept of all that padding but I never even notice it now that I ride in the saddle all the time.

My trainer actually bought a Conquest, I think, and used it at several levels, but she said...hmmm...now I'm trying to remember exactly what she said...I think she said something about needing more...maybe it was "room" -- as in room to move, at places like the Head of the Lake or the really big drops at Burghley. I am pretty sure she was talking about drops specifically.

RFI, HAH! I love me my horses, and I think actually they both have the scope for way more than I have the bravery for (er, the big horse has trotted intermediate fences, sometimes on purpose and at least once by accident), but, yeah, Advanced...any year now.....:eek: