View Full Version : I can't ride in a jumping saddle anymore!
Jun. 29, 2012, 03:51 PM
Just what the title says! I ride multiple horses a day, jumping and dressage, but I feel as though I'm only a good rider in a dressage saddle! My seat is better, my upper body is better, my leg is 20 times more direct and effective! The jumping saddle that I am using (it isn't mine but it's the only one I have available at the moment) makes me lean forward and brace my leg, even at the walk and trot. It's the most annoying feeling in the world.
It's gotten to the point where I am considering jumping in a dressage saddle. Has anyone ever experienced this?? How do you fix it?? besides getting a new saddle which BELIEVE ME I WOULD IF I COULD
Jun. 29, 2012, 04:21 PM
A couple of thoughts...
Obviously, if the saddle isn't a good fit it may affect your position.
Remember that you will not have the same position in a jump saddle as you do in a dressage saddle, especially if the jump saddle is quite forward to and xci-sh. You may be struggling because you are trying too hard to ride like a dressage rider in a saddle that isn't meant to be ridden in like a dressage rider. Try not fighting the saddle so much and see how you feel. I know if I try to really sit in a dressage seat in my very forward xc saddle, it is very unnatural feeling.
Play with your stirrup length and see if going up or down makes it feel a little more natural.
You'll get over this! I think we all go through some verison of this story at some point!
Jun. 29, 2012, 05:45 PM
I agree with yellowbritches. I used to get INCREDIBLY frustrated with my position in my jump saddle because I felt I wasn't riding as effectively. Once I started trying to ride it like a jump saddle instead of dressage, it really helped. I'd kill to have a dressage saddle but that just isn't in the cards right now...Also this reminds me of badeventers latest blog!
Jun. 29, 2012, 05:52 PM
First, the saddle can make all the difference (BTDT). So can the speed you are going, and the type of horse you're riding. I have been starting a 3 y.o. in an AP saddle, and always felt like I was going to fall over her shoulders - such a different balance than a broke horse with an actual neck in front of me! I switched her to a dressage saddle and it is much better! OTOH, I would hate to jump the broke horse in the dressage and have a more forward jump saddle for him. I prefer to hack in my dressage saddle because I do find the jump saddle uncomfortable if I am spending most of my time in walk/trot.
Yes, try playing with stirrup length (a lot). As in, try steeplechase length, then dressage length, then do some in-between, to see where you're really comfortable.
I find that putting my stirrups up a hole or two, then trotting around the ring and standing in my stirrups (straight up and down), while NOT bracing on the neck/mane/hands, is incredibly good for me. Forces me to put my weight into my legs, and use them for balance.
Then shift the stirrups back down a hole - I feel much more secure.
Jun. 30, 2012, 07:22 PM
It rather sounds like the saddle may not fit the horse and is sitting pommel high, which is tipping you backwards, which makes your lower leg go forward, and then you lean forward and brace because you feel like you're falling backwards out of the saddle (even if it's not concious). You can check by tacking up and looking at where the lowest point of the seat is. It can be relieved by a riser pad (though really a saddle sitting with the front too high doesn't properly fit that horse).
If the saddle is level try jacking up your stirrups. I just got a jumping saddle recently after several years without and my first trial ride sucked. I felt loose and unstable in leg and body. Then I shortened the stirrups one hole from where I'd started (which was already shorter than dressage length) and felt like my knees were knocking over his withers, but all of a sudden the saddle worked for me too and I felt nice and stable and solid. Though I felt jockey like the stirrups actually do hit just at my ankle bones so they really aren't super short - it's just not riding short for so long that's making them feel that way.
I did do some jumping in my dressage saddle at times, small stuff though (2'6" max). Definitely not ideal.