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pryme_thyme
Jun. 16, 2011, 11:03 AM
Need your opinions...

I have been pondering purchasing a dressage saddle for some time and I cannot make up my mind. I need some input...

Situation: I ride hunter but due to the age of my filly she will not be able to do any o/f work for a couple of years. So I have decided to train and compete dressage though, I find it difficult to sit deep in my Bates C/C saddle as it puts you in more of a forward position.

What do you ride in for dressage?

Will a dressage saddle really help?

Old Fashioned
Jun. 16, 2011, 11:13 AM
Technically speaking you should be able to do most lower level work in the saddle you have now. But it doesn't always work out that way. A dressage saddle will help. The problem is finding WHAT dressage saddle will help you (and that can be a very long journey).

I don't like the extreme deep seats and rolls that many saddles have now. I prefer a medium deep seat with a small knee roll. My favorite saddle is the Passier PSL D. It's what I ride in and I love it.:winkgrin:

pryme_thyme
Jun. 16, 2011, 11:21 AM
OF- Do you know anything about the Ainsley brand dressage saddles? There is an inexpensive gently used saddle for $399 in my area.

Old Fashioned
Jun. 16, 2011, 11:40 AM
I haven't had any experience with them but they have a good reputation. It never hurts to try. If you are looking try Rick's (http://www.saddlesource.com/used-saddles.html). They have a great selection.

joiedevie99
Jun. 16, 2011, 11:41 AM
Yes- a dressage saddle will help you get your leg down around her and keep your upper body back over your hips.

However, if your filly isn't old enough to jump, she probably isn't doing any serious dressage work yet either, nor is she likely mature and developed enough for sitting trot work. There is nothing at intr, training, or first that you can't do in a close contact saddle- but thats not to say you won't prefer the feel of a well fitting dressage saddle. Take a trip to the tack shop and sit in everything they have. If you're extremely lucky, you'll find something you like that can be made to fit your horse. If you're like me- you'll suffer for months trying to get something that works for you and your horse.

alto
Jun. 16, 2011, 11:58 AM
With a $200-$400 budget, there are a lot of older saddles out there

County (http://www.saddlesource.com/county-competitor-150.html)

Collegiate (http://www.saddlesource.com/collegiate-lisbon-156.html)

M Hopfner (http://www.saddlesource.com/m--hopfner-aldreich-263.html)

Passier (http://www.saddlesource.com/passier-353.html)

I assume she's young & still growing so choose a budget & stay with it; if you can find wool flocked (eg the County), start there as it can be adjusted as she grows - have a saddle fitter out to check the fit (especially if you don't have much experience with proper fit for a dressage saddle).


You can do lower level dressage in any saddle, just as you can jump 3 feet in any saddle, but riding in a saddle that supports the desired position makes it all so much simpler :)

Of course, if your horse is a difficult fit, saddle shopping enters a new dimension :lol:

Ainsley saddles are out of vogue but decent saddles so give it a go :yes:

pryme_thyme
Jun. 16, 2011, 11:59 AM
Thank you Joie and OF, I will check out this website.

That was what I was concerned about, checked on the rules for our Silver and gold shows here.... no rules against CC saddles until much higher.
My other concern was... will the judge dock marks if your position is slightly hunt seat? (for training levels).

pryme_thyme
Jun. 16, 2011, 12:06 PM
With a $200-$400 budget, there are a lot of older saddles out there

County (http://www.saddlesource.com/county-competitor-150.html)

Collegiate (http://www.saddlesource.com/collegiate-lisbon-156.html)

M Hopfner (http://www.saddlesource.com/m--hopfner-aldreich-263.html)

Passier (http://www.saddlesource.com/passier-353.html)

I assume she's young & still growing so choose a budget & stay with it; if you can find wool flocked (eg the County), start there as it can be adjusted as she grows - have a saddle fitter out to check the fit (especially if you don't have much experience with proper fit for a dressage saddle).





Awesome Alto! i don't have a clue about dressage saddle brands. I will give it a shot.
Filly fits Med to Med narrow tree in my saddle (changable gullets), will this be similiar for dressage?

TickleFight
Jun. 16, 2011, 12:56 PM
I ride in a Stubben Tristan Special and love it. These saddles have no blocks, padding etc. and allow the rider to find the position that works best for him/her. Also, because this saddle design stays out of the way of the rider, it is easy to use for hacking around and even jumping low fences.

alto
Jun. 16, 2011, 01:43 PM
My other concern was... will the judge dock marks if your position is slightly hunt seat? (for training levels).

If your position is forward this will have a tendency to push your filly onto the forehand - which she will be anyway if she's 4ish ;)

County's are usually generous in their trees (eg, a #3 tree is med wide, even though the "translation" on that tree is "med")

Collegiate (IME) tends to be on the narrower end of med but I have no experience with this particular saddle - acc. google search it was designed for Iberian horse (short, wide back) so this may be wider fitting than most Collegiates: ask Rick's for an age estimate on the saddle, it may be old enough to be a Ruiz Diaz rather than the newer, whereever made ...
The Lisbon has plain flaps with concealed knee rolls (I wish it didn't have them, but they aren't too big), a medium-deep seat, wool flocking, seems in the back to help the saddler (gussets?), and a V-billet system.

The Hopfner is listed as a Wide tree so give that a miss.

Passier's tend to do well if you have a high wither etc due to the cut back head - they tend to be a less "cushy" saddle but when you're looking at these older saddles, they'll mostly be firmer than their modern counterparts.

In general, if a saddle fits the horse properly, it will feel much better than a more rider friendly saddle that is a poor horse fit.

Check out Trumbull Mountain for saddle fitting advice & wither traces, they have an excellent reputation & may have some used saddles for you to try as well.

joiedevie99
Jun. 16, 2011, 01:45 PM
Awesome Alto! i don't have a clue about dressage saddle brands. I will give it a shot.
Filly fits Med to Med narrow tree in my saddle (changable gullets), will this be similiar for dressage?

Yes- the tree size will be similar. Some people go slightly larger on a very young horse and use a half pad. There are a lot of other things to pay attention to though. From front to back, some saddles are very curvy and some are very flat. The same is true from side to side (i.e. from the spine out towards the sides-easiest viewed from the back). Some are flat, some angle down a little, and some angle down a lot. The tree size is only telling you the angle of the front. If you know those three things, you'll be off to a good start at the tack shop.

alto
Jun. 16, 2011, 01:46 PM
I ride in a Stubben Tristan Special and love it. These saddles have no blocks, padding etc. and allow the rider to find the position that works best for him/her. Also, because this saddle design stays out of the way of the rider, it is easy to use for hacking around and even jumping low fences.

Is this the new Tristan Special that Catherine Haddad raves about? it looks lovely! I'm hoping the local Stubben dealer will bring some in :yes:

TickleFight
Jun. 16, 2011, 01:55 PM
Is this the new Tristan Special that Catherine Haddad raves about? it looks lovely! I'm hoping the local Stubben dealer will bring some in :yes:

Haddad's new model is called Genesis. I've not ridden in one yet, but I'm sure they're very nice. They look like an updated version of the Tristan (pricier too).

Catherine was my first instructor for several years before she went to Germany. :)

pryme_thyme
Jun. 16, 2011, 02:13 PM
Good point about forward seated saddles and pushing her on the forehand.... might be a benefit to get the dressage saddle just for this reason!

Petstorejunkie
Jun. 16, 2011, 07:15 PM
My other concern was... will the judge dock marks if your position is slightly hunt seat? (for training levels).
Depends on the judge I think. There are two places where you'd get dinged. Rider Position and Correct Use of the Aides.
Honestly you'll be MUCH less frustrated in a good, old, used dressage saddle.

pryme_thyme
Jun. 17, 2011, 10:18 AM
Thank you to everyone!

You all made such great points I went and bought myself a floor model Kieffer.

Now to tell the hubby.....lol.