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paintedworld
May. 27, 2011, 11:28 PM
Just curious if anyone shows lower levels or does dressage in a close contact saddle? Do you find that having a CC saddle at a show brings your score down? Also since the flaps are foreward and require more bend are you still able to cue your horse effectively to do flatwork?

TheHorseProblem
May. 28, 2011, 12:08 AM
I ride in a CC saddle. I haven't shown and probably won't, but I know that at the IEL shows, the kids ride in their jumping saddles. I'm interested to hear what the rules are on this.

As far as any difference in aids, for me, there are none. Maybe because the saddle is black.:)

The only difference is that my stirrups are shorter. I can't get them shorter in a dressage saddle because of the knee rolls. I love my new saddle, and it has enabled me to continue to ride. It's just way, way easier on my creaky hips.

TheHorseProblem
May. 28, 2011, 12:13 AM
I found the rule:

DR121 Saddlery and Equipment.
1. An English type saddle with stirrups is compulsory for Federation and USDF tests. An English type saddle may be constructed with or without a tree but cannot have a horn, swell, gallerie, or open gullet. Australian, Baroque, Endurance, McClellan, Spanish, Stock, or Western saddles are not permitted nor are modified versions of these saddles (exception: competitors with a current approved Federation Dispensation Certificate). A Dressage saddle which must be close to the horse and have long, near-vertical flaps and stirrups is compulsory for FEI tests.

So, it looks like a close contact is fine up to FEI levels. As a matter of fact, all purpose saddles were made to be suitable for both jumping and dressage.

J-Lu
May. 28, 2011, 12:56 AM
Just curious if anyone shows lower levels or does dressage in a close contact saddle? Do you find that having a CC saddle at a show brings your score down? Also since the flaps are foreward and require more bend are you still able to cue your horse effectively to do flatwork?

you won't get marked down, but honestly, a dressage saddle is designed to put you in a position to do dressage (legs underneath you,effective use of seatbones and body weight, etc), and a cc saddle isn't (designed for forward-seat riding). The judge is mainly judging the horse but in my opinion you can't get the same kind of ride from a forward seat saddle as you can from a dressage saddle. Similarly, my experience tells me you can't effectively jump in a dressage saddle.

J.

slight
May. 28, 2011, 08:22 AM
Show in the cc until you are able to get a dressage saddle - you will be fine to start off this way, lots of folks (including me) have!

Start looking for an inexpensive "starter" dressage saddle - maybe used, maybe synthetic - or if you're one of the lucky ones - go for a really good one!! You will find it improves your position and communication for dressage - your leg will be where it should, and your weight properly distributed,etc.

Good luck! Have fun!! You won't be the first (and maybe not the only) person at the show in a cc.

Ruffian8
May. 28, 2011, 08:50 AM
I rode all three phases in one saddle for years, and it was no problem. One less piece of tack to clean! It's nice to have a dressage saddle now, but I would wait until you find and can afford one that fits you really well. "Life is too short for cheap tack" is my new motto!!

enjoytheride
May. 28, 2011, 08:56 AM
I'm an eventer, but I'm on my way to a dressage clinic in my close contact saddle right now! Now that I feel we do dressage well enough to deserve another saddle I'm looking for one that fits me and my horse and it's a chore.

jn4jenny
May. 28, 2011, 09:26 AM
As any eventer will tell you, yes you can do lower-level dressage in a CC saddle and it would be against the rules for a judge to penalize you for it. Until you get to Second Level, there's nothing in the tests that can't be done (mechanically speaking) in a CC saddle. Look at the movements at First Level: w/t/c on the bit, leg yield, stretchy circle, lengthening, simple change of lead, 10 meter circle at trot, 15 m circle at canter. If those things weren't eminently possible in a CC saddle, then there would be no such thing as "the discipline of show jumping."

And I say this as someone who does own, and love, a dressage saddle. But on days when I plan to jump/do conditioning work up and down hills/do some trail riding in addition to the dressage, I don't hesitate to school Training and First in a CC saddle.

ptownevt
May. 28, 2011, 10:11 AM
My daughter rides dressage. She started out in my VSD Stubben (all purpose but more for dressage). I took one lesson in the saddle and started looking for another saddle for her. You just could not get and keep your legs in the right position. You were fighting the saddle the whole ride. Even the slight forward slant of the flaps was enough to be an obstacle. Her trainer confirmed that the saddle was making it more difficult for my daughter to adopt a correct position. That said, I did not spend a ton of money on a new saddle; we're on a very, very strict budget. I found a nice Passier dressage saddle for under $400 on ebay. Since then I've been looking for myself and I just bought a lovely, almost unused, older Collegiate dressage saddle for $200. It does take time and patience, but there are some great deals to be had on nice, used saddles.

jn4jenny
May. 28, 2011, 10:20 AM
My daughter rides dressage. She started out in my VSD Stubben (all purpose but more for dressage). I took one lesson in the saddle and started looking for another saddle for her. You just could not get and keep your legs in the right position. You were fighting the saddle the whole ride. Even the slight forward slant of the flaps was enough to be an obstacle.

"All purpose saddle with a dressage bent" is not equivalent to "a well-fitted and properly balanced saddle made specifically for jumping." I wouldn't care to try dressage in a Stubben VSD either, but only because it is (IMO) a poorly balanced saddle that is not designed for any kind of serious finesse in the saddle. It's a saddle for people who trail ride, hunt second flight, that sort of thing.

However, I have seen an eventer WIN the recognized dressage at Training Level in a Stubben Siegfried CS (an all-purpose model with a much stronger bent toward jumping).

GreyStreet
May. 28, 2011, 11:36 AM
I found I could effectively school in my all purpose until I began schooling First/Second and had to sit. It was very difficult to get my legs underneath me and to keep a correct alignment in order to sit effectively in my all purpose. Finding a properly fitting dressage saddle made an absolute world of difference for me.
So yes, you can certainly ride dressage in a close contact or all purpose (I showed in an all purpose for years when I did combined training tests and Training Level dressage). But if your goal is to move up the levels, I would eventually begin looking for a dressage saddle that will make the journey a bit easier for you.

Pocket Pony
May. 28, 2011, 11:45 AM
Technically you can of course ride dressage movements in a CC saddle, especially at the lower levels. Riding in a proper dressage saddle will put you in a better balance for proper dressage work, though.

I started with my mustang in a western saddle and that puts my leg in a more dressage-type position than a jumping saddle. When he grew out of that, though, the only other saddle I had that fit him was a jumping saddle. Having grown up doing h/j, it is so easy for me to ride in that position again (forward seat) vs. keeping a dressage seat - that's what a jumping saddle is designed for, after all.

I'm in the process of trialing a couple dressage saddles and the difference in how I'm able to be balanced throughout my whole body in order to support my horse is substantial. It is much easier to "do dresage" in a dressage saddle! :)

ptownevt
May. 30, 2011, 12:09 PM
"All purpose saddle with a dressage bent" is not equivalent to "a well-fitted and properly balanced saddle made specifically for jumping." I wouldn't care to try dressage in a Stubben VSD either, but only because it is (IMO) a poorly balanced saddle that is not designed for any kind of serious finesse in the saddle. It's a saddle for people who trail ride, hunt second flight, that sort of thing.

Well, excuuuuuse me.

serendipityhunter
May. 30, 2011, 01:35 PM
I have been riding in my close contact for the past year in which i started dressage lessons. I agree with another poster that stated you are constantly fighting with your position depending on the saddle. I am already position challenged and I have a difficult horse, but I just bought a used dressage saddle and I already feel the difference in my horse, it is like he is sighing a breath of relief that i am in better balance with him!! I got a great used Albion for $750, deals are out there right now.

jn4jenny
May. 30, 2011, 09:32 PM
Well, excuuuuuse me.

Um, ok. :confused: If you took my comment in offense, then I apologize. But my point was simply that the Stubben VSD is not a close contact saddle nor a cousin to a close contact saddle, which means that your experience trying to dressage in a Stubben VSD has little relevance to the OP's question--which is about riding dressage in a close contact saddle.

I didn't say it's a useless saddle. I said it's a saddle that's not optimally or primarily interested in keeping your leg in a balanced position underneath you. We seem to agree on that, so I don't know why you took offense.

TickleFight
May. 31, 2011, 12:26 AM
Of course you can ride dressage in a close contact saddle. You should not depend on the shape/padding of a saddle to put your legs in the "correct" position. Spend enough time riding without stirrups and your legs will find the right position for your body.

NCSue
May. 31, 2011, 12:00 PM
Not all c/c saddles are created the same. Some have more forward flaps. Some tend to sit you more forward. The one I use on occasion allows me to sit in almost the same position as my dressage saddle and it is much, much easier on my hips when widing the very wide horses. I find that I am able to effectively ride w/o problems for the most part.

I know of at least 2 dressage trainers that will ride in c/c saddles at different time especially when their backs are sore.

netg
May. 31, 2011, 12:23 PM
I read the post wrong and thought you'd typed cross country.


My personal take on using my CC for dressage is that the flaps hit me in an odd place with longer stirrups, and the saddle certainly doesn't *help* my position - but it allows me to be in just about any position I want. I actually like it, but more for working on myself than my horse. I have trouble relaxing my body enough, only supporting with my core - and if I attempt to ride in the CC and stay too tense without being in a more jumping type position, I flop like crazy. It essentially is good for testing my own riding, not as good for me to work on teaching a horse.

TheHorseProblem
May. 31, 2011, 12:44 PM
Not all c/c saddles are created the same...The one I use on occasion allows me to sit in almost the same position as my dressage saddle and it is much, much easier on my hips when riding the very wide horses. I find that I am able to effectively ride w/o problems for the most part.

I know of at least 2 dressage trainers that will ride in c/c saddles at different time especially when their backs are sore.

this

hntrjmprpro45
May. 31, 2011, 03:02 PM
I ride and show in a cc saddle. Honestly, for the lower levels it is more than sufficient and have never had any judge's comments made regarding the use of it. I too was worried at first that I would stick out but honestly, if you ride well then no one will notice. And IMO, many young horses who are still filling out seem more comfortable in a CC saddle to start out with.