You might check out the older Klimke saddles, they were made by Miller at the time and from what I've been told those are nicer than the Ovation ones. I had one that I absolutely loved but it didn't fit my new horse. I sold it for $500 I think? They seemed to be going for around $500 - $800. I think for Saddles consignment shops are your best bet - I probably wouldn't pick up a saddle online just because fit is so important. However, clothes can be tailored so eBay and CL are both great bets for those. I picked up a beautiful $1000 custom shadbelly on eBay for $250 this winter and you can find very nice hunt coats for much less than that even.
As someone else said, the one thing I'd spend some money on is a saddle fitter--especially as it should be relatively easy to find one in your area.
I promise you, it will save you time and money in the long run, and everyone, including the horse, will be much happier and more productive!
The rest of it is just window dressing that can happen over time.
Another thing about saddles - what you may like when you first start out could be very different than what you like once you get going and that may change fairly quickly. Some people, especially from hunter-jumps, prefer the open feel of minimalist dressage saddles and then in six months or a year or two they want more leg support and deeper seats. For some it is the opposite - they want all the help they can get at first and then start to feel constricted and want nothing more to ride on a piece of cardboard (that would be a Schultheis :)) Some are lucky and only have to deal with saddle shopping once or when they get a new horse, but in my experience a lot of riders find they have different needs at first level than they do at third and sometimes the change can happen quickly.
Budget for a saddle fitter - they can be a bit expensive, but they are absolutely worth it. Try as many saddles as you can get your hands on. There are enough saddles out there under $1000 (or whatever you budget is) that you should not feel like you have to make big compromises. And you can always try to negotiate both trial periods and price, especially from private sellers.
Linda from Classic Saddlery is also very good to work with through photos and wither tracings. They carry Toulouse saddles, which when they have the Genesis tree are adjustable. I also recommend that a saddle be a little lower on the list, since the riding style is so different. Can your daughter borrow a saddle, even for a few weeks and identify what she likes and doesn't like about different dressage saddles? When I first rode in a dressage saddle, everything felt uncomfortable. There was no "right" saddle. I'm glad I waited until I felt more comfortable sitting deeper with a longer stirrup, then the saddles started feeling better.
Most have already answered the clothing issue. The horse's musculature will change with good dressage training and as your daughter gains comfort in the discipline switch she will become more discerning in what she will want in a saddle. However, it will be easier to get the feel and understanding in a dressage saddle. I would recommend a good fitting used saddle or one such as a Kent & Masters or A Thorowgood dressage saddle. The prices are good, even new and they offer versatility for a changing horse. They have an adjustable gullet system, are wool flocked,have re-positional blocks and billets. They come in different panel types for differently shaped horses. The most important thing is that your daughter have the ability to try a saddle from somewhere such as Trumbull Mtn that has a generous trial policy. That way she can get a feel and if possible have her trainer weigh in.
Well here is my take. I showed Dressage in my close contact saddle, I had sold my Dressage saddle because it was a bad fit on my horse, I was eventing so a good jumping saddle was my first priority.
I used a dark hunt coat, not a dressage coat, and my black field boots and buff breeches. Never was an issue.
I think I would use what she has till she is more into it. As long as she is neat and clean her hunter clothes and saddle will be fine to start. No need to spend a bunch of money to start out. Just take your time and add the Dressage stuff and saddle as you can afford it.
Schooling shows in my area most people do the whole nine yards: white breeches, white gloves, black coat. But it's relaxed enough that often a hunter will show Intro or Training in a non-dressage saddle, field boots, beige breeches and a long sleeve white shirt or a polo shirt (tucked in with belt). And it's ok.
None of the judges I've scribed for have said anything about turn out except twice.
One judge commented that the horse had poop stains (he was white and he did-looked terrible).
Another judge commented about a rider's boots. He rode a 3rd level test. They were black boots, but they had some sort of laces all the way up the side (like the Glacier) and she said that at that level he needs to wear "proper" dress boots. I have to add that this judge made quite a few petty comments.
So as long as she and the horse and tack are clean and neat - all is good. Just make sure there are no wraps or boots on the horse, no martingale and the bit is a legal one.
BTW - when I showed at the schooling shows I wore light blue breeches, black coat and black gloves.
Where are you located? I'm in Massachusetts and have an old dressage saddle that I love but that does not fit my horse. I also have a black jacket that has not been used. (My shape has changed.) I would let both of them go for a very reasonable price. (I hope this is not considered advertising. If it is, I apologize.)
I agree. She'll be just fine for a while, even at a rated show, in the conservative eq clothing she likely already owns (dark/solid jacket, beige breeches, black field boots) and a close contact saddle. Especially if she's still growing! If she keeps her commitment to dressage, you can start buying stuff as she gets more serious.
Originally Posted by Sannois
Originally Posted by atr
THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^ When I made the switch, I admit to being over-eager, and ended up buying a saddle that was not the best fit for me. Try as many as you can. Better to take a month longer than to make a mistake.
One very good website for dressage saddles: www.dressagestar.com
Here I am "dabbling" in Dressage with one of my youngsters a few years back. I like all of my horses to do a bit of everything and nobody ever minded my flat tack or attire!
Definitely work with a good fitter. If you don't have one in your area, Panther Run Saddlery and Equestrian Imports are two more places that specialize in long-distance fitting through the use of templates and photos.
A changeable gullet saddle may be a good place to start, as the horse's back will change as training progresses. However, keep in mind that these saddles only address changes in width - if the horse suddenly gains enough muscle to flatten the back (or becomes leaner so that the wither is more prominent), changing the gullet plate/width won't help improve the fit, since in these cases the horse may need a different tree shape and / or panel configuration.
Are you sure?
Originally Posted by ideayoda
I thought John did away w/ used saddle section years ago
Has your trainer suggested a saddle purchase, is your daughter taking her lessons in a borrowed saddle.
If she's currently using her cc and both she & trainer are happy.
I'd wait on saddle purchase.
It helps to go to any/all tack stores and just sit in all of their saddles.
Take pen/paper- she will immediately feel like one is nice or just Ok-after keeping track then try to find one off the "good" saddle list.
I bought a saddle from Fine Used Saddles and she was super helpful. That said depending on your budget eBay might have some better deals- you usually can't get trials through eBay though. I would say determine what you are looking for and then google "xyz saddle used sale" or something along those lines. That is how I went about my search until one was posted on FUS that was exactly what I needed.
As for a coat I recently purchased the Horseware Competition jacket and think that you can't beat it for the price. (see here on SmartPak) and here is a picture of mine from a show last weekend. At $90.95 it is a good deal. I typically wear a 4-6 in most things and the Small fit me very well.
In terms of breeches tan should be acceptable for a while I would think? (I am also a newbie) But after that eBay is your best friend. You can find awesome deals there. Another thing to try is Farm House Tack. You have to call but they have a super sale warehouse type area and they will always go check back there for you if you ask. I have gotten TS and other breeches between $15 and $100.
Good luck in your shopping!
There is a Prestige Optimax on ebay 17" for $600. If I was looking on the cheap, that would be a great start. VTO saddlery can adjust the tree.
My first dressage saddle coming over from hunter/jumper land was a Neiddersus Symphony. If it fits the girl and it fits the horse they are great first dressage saddles as they aren't too deep and they aren't one of the really expensive saddles new but you can find many used for $800 or less in good condition As long as you know what tree size you need and seat size because they aren't a really deep seat the seat size will not need to measure as big. I have a 17/12 inch Trilogy now and the Neiddersus is a 16 3/4. I swam in the 17 3/4 Neiddersus.
The 'coverup' I use is a mid-calf khaki microfiber skirt that came from TravelSmith on clearance. Not only does it look fab, but you can put it on and take it off while you're wearing your boots, which is especially nice for in between ride times.
As for the rest of her clothes, buy new(used) items when she needs a new one, but don't fret too much. She *can* wear her hunter clothes and no one will mind.
A stock tie will pretty much cover up any shirt she is wearing, so don't worry if her shirts are colored. (Light colored shirts are fine as is as well.)
I finally bought the stiff dressage boots... and I hate 'em. ;) So there's no need to hurry, especially for a child who is growing.
A couple of things to add to the excellent suggestions already posted.
I showed through 4th level and earned a bronze medal in my Vogel field boots, a black hunt jacket (now, it was a Pytchley which dates the whole endeavor just a bit), and riding a TB.
You can buy these dickie-type stock ties which mean that you can wear anything (or nothing) in the way of a shirt as long as it doesn't have non-white long sleeves that emerge from the end of the jacket. And no one is going to care if you have that oh-so-perfectly-sized bit of cuff of your shirt showing from under your jacket.
If you're planning on showing when/where it's hot, make sure that you are aware of the requirements for showing jacket-less in dressage as it's a bit different than hunters.
You can probably wait on the saddle. But, if the right one (and you'll have a good idea of that if you've followed the advice of pulling out all the saddles in the barn and trying them on the horse) comes along there's no harm in buying one. And if it's used, you'll probably be able to sell it for what you paid.