The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 21
  1. #1
    GumbyRider Guest

    Question Looking for tips :)

    I started riding when I was about nine, started showing in hunter/equitation at 11, and have been jumping ever since. My current horse is older, and has been having issues with tendons and such, and so far we have never been able to complete a show season. This past summer we had about 3 shows left, and he got a pretty bad tear to his deep flexor tendon (to our knowledge he did it in the pasture) and the vet told me we were looking at 9 months of stall rest. The worst part was the news that he would never be able to jump with me again. Well I'm not ready to be done showing with my partner, so I was thinking that Dressage would be a cool challenging experience for both me and my horse. (of course I got approval from my vet before making this decision)
    I took some lessons with a local dressage trainer and her amazing level three horse to make sure that I was for sure wanting to make the change in discipline. I quickly fell in love, and can't till my horse is back to work so we can start on our new journey
    But, here is where I need help, I know I need a new saddle, but seeing as I know little to nothing about dressage I was hoping I could get some brands and makes that are not to expensive ( i would like to spend around $600-700 used??), but would be good for first shows and daily riding.
    I'm also looking for any other tips people are willing to offer to a newbie.
    I'm nervous and excited
    thanks in advance for the help



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 1, 2008
    Posts
    27

    Default

    I love my new contour block wintec. the new pro model. new it was 700$ with leathers and girth. adjustable for any horse.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2002
    Location
    Michigan The Hunt Country
    Posts
    343

    Default As MSU student

    you can attend ongoing dressage clinics with Bettina Drummond--she was there this week and I think returns in June. A bit intimidating but just the place to get the right start--learned more watching auditing her clinic than most lessons I taken.

    The McPhail Center is the place to have rehab horse evaluated for return to work--I assume you know this but just to encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.
    Good luck with your new adventure!!!
    klr



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2009
    Posts
    230

    Default

    Try sitting in some different saddles at a tack shop or even better see if you can borrow some to try.

    Once you know what you're looking for you can check stores for used saddles (there is a recent thread on where to find used saddles online), craigslist, etc. I got a Passier GG in perfect condition for $1000 on craigslist (know that is a bit out of your price range but it was a steal of a deal).



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    5,819

    Default

    Congratulations on what I think is a fun decision, and one that sounds really great for your horse's future continued soundness.

    Do you know many dressage riders? If so, borrowing saddles to try them is the best way to find the right one, in my opinion. You can start everything you need to do in a hunt saddle, though a dressage saddle will help you learn to lose the forward position, get your hips open, etc. After the time off, your horse will just need basic conditioning where the saddle won't be so important. I'm buying a used no-name saddle for my horse because someone I know is selling it as her baby outgrows it (she's getting a custom made right now), but it fits him PERFECTLY. It's not the absolutely most comfortable saddle in the world for me to sit in, but the balance is right for it to help my position, etc., and the perfect fit on my horse is more important to me. We can tell you brands, what we all love (I love Albions, personally), but the fit on your horse is the more important part, and one you just have to try.

    Do you have any saddle shops around there which let you take home used saddles to try? There's one a few hours from us which allows that which I would have tried next if no one I knew had one which was a good fit. Good luck in your new career together!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 1999
    Location
    Libertyville, IL USA
    Posts
    4,105

    Default

    If you have a nice saddle for jumping, and it fits your horse well, you can do just fine with that for a while.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    6,809

    Default

    The first person you should talk to is your trainer. Frankly, it's entirely possible to ride all of Training and First Level in a well-fitted jumping saddle and they are perfectly acceptable for showing (yes, really. Eventers do it all the time. I have seen them WIN dressage classes in jumping tack.) So there may be no hurry or emergency to get a dressage saddle, which would be ideal because it would give you time to find the right saddle match for you and horsie. Your trainer may also have certain preferences when it comes to dressage saddles, especially since she's seen you ride and understands your needs (deep seat or not, thigh blocks or not, etc.). If you really luck out, she will already be familiar with saddle models that would suit you and the horse.

    If your trainer says "buy whatever you like," then you should start with your horse's needs and go from there. I know very few people in dressage who are in ill-fitting saddles because it would quickly incapacitate the horse or rider. And on your budget, you can't afford to make any mistakes. Shipping out just one wrong trial saddle will rob you of $100 of your budget. BUYING the wrong dressage saddle could rob you of much more. For both your budget and your horse's comfort, you need to get it right on the first go-round.

    If you are anywhere near SW Michigan, I strongly suggest you call Lynda at Classic Saddlery. She is a good fitter and willing to work with someone on a small budget. http://www.classicsaddlery.com/ If you are not in SW Michigan, I suggest you either tell us whereabouts you are so we can suggest someone closer, or work from a distance with an outfit like Rick's Heritage Saddlery (who can suggest saddles based on pictures of your horse's back and a good wither tracing) http://www.saddlesource.com/

    FWIW, you will have many choices in that price range, so you are lucky in that regard. Wintec, Stubben, Kieffer, Passier, Rembrandt/Classic, and Thorowgood are just some of the quality brands you'll find (used) at $600-$700. But they all fit differently and they're all designed for slightly different kinds of horses. So without knowing more about your horse--and I mean a lot more, like pictures of his back from several important angles plus wither tracings--it would be very hard to recommend a specific brand or model.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2006
    Posts
    8,581

    Default

    I disagree that the first person a person should talk to is their trainer. They can "buy whatever they like" whether the trainer gives them permission or not, unless the trainer includes purchasing saddles for customers in her board package.

    The first person to talk to is a qualified, professional saddle fitter who represents a variety of different brands.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2008
    Posts
    4,579

    Default

    I'd get him going in the new program with your jump saddle for a bit before you buy anything. Coming back from time off and into a new discipline, it's likely his shape is going to change a little to a lot. You don't want to end up with something that doesn't fit him once he's muscling up.

    In the mean time, see if you can borrow a few to see which brands and styles YOU feel comfortable and correct in.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2005
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Posts
    6,264

    Default

    What Long Spot said.

    When the time comes, it really does help to get the advice of a good saddle fitter. If one is not available, you can get a flexible French Curve and make your own tracing of your horse's withers. That's a start.

    Place the curve across his withers right where the mane hair ends. Shape the curve down & around the horse. Carefully lift the curve off the horse's back, lay it on a sheet of cardboard and trace what you've got. Be careful not to deform the curve as you do so!

    This tells you a couple of things. Gives an idea how wide the horse is. Shows you if he's built like a hoop, which would require a hoop-shaped tree, or more like an inverted V.

    The horse's shape is important. A V-shaped tree will not fit a hoop shaped back, (and vice-versa) no matter how much you spread and adjust it.

    Wintec and Bates tend to be V-shaped. Most British saddles tend to be hoops. Consult your saddle fitter or a knowledgeable seller.

    Best of luck with your new discipline!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    6,809

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    I disagree that the first person a person should talk to is their trainer. They can "buy whatever they like" whether the trainer gives them permission or not, unless the trainer includes purchasing saddles for customers in her board package.
    It is not an issue of permission. It's an issue of consulting the professional on your team who knows far more about your riding than a saddle fitter ever could--and, in many cases, has spent hours watching the horse under saddle. Most fitters have observed these things for 30 minutes or less.

    Maybe you have worked with trainers who will prescribe a saddle and refuse to let you buy anything else, but I have only worked with trainers who are willing to make suggestions about my riding, and about brands they're familiar with, that I can then take to a saddle fitter. If your trainer is not a jackass, that information should be enormously helpful to the SF.

    Trainers aren't God. Nor are saddle fitters. I think in a perfect world, it should be the rider's final decision after hearing feedback from their whole team of specialists.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 1, 2009
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,146

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Beasmom View Post
    What Long Spot said.
    x3

    My mare was off for 9 months with a check ligament injury a few years ago. Trust me, it's going to take awhile to get your horse back into shape after that much time off.

    Your jumping tack will be fine in the meantime.



  13. #13
    GumbyRider Guest

    Default MSU student

    Quote Originally Posted by klr View Post
    you can attend ongoing dressage clinics with Bettina Drummond--she was there this week and I think returns in June. A bit intimidating but just the place to get the right start--learned more watching auditing her clinic than most lessons I taken.

    The McPhail Center is the place to have rehab horse evaluated for return to work--I assume you know this but just to encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.
    Good luck with your new adventure!!!
    klr
    My boy is all set with rehab, are vet is wonderful, but yes I do know of the McPhail center.
    I went at watched a demo the MSU dressage team did last weekend, and have sat in on some lessons and such.
    Do you know of a site that lists clinics that are happening soon? ill be in East Lansing for about 4 more weeks, then I go back to the Detroit area, but a hour or so drive would not bother me at all



  14. #14
    GumbyRider Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by netg View Post
    Congratulations on what I think is a fun decision, and one that sounds really great for your horse's future continued soundness.

    Do you know many dressage riders? If so, borrowing saddles to try them is the best way to find the right one, in my opinion. You can start everything you need to do in a hunt saddle, though a dressage saddle will help you learn to lose the forward position, get your hips open, etc. After the time off, your horse will just need basic conditioning where the saddle won't be so important. I'm buying a used no-name saddle for my horse because someone I know is selling it as her baby outgrows it (she's getting a custom made right now), but it fits him PERFECTLY. It's not the absolutely most comfortable saddle in the world for me to sit in, but the balance is right for it to help my position, etc., and the perfect fit on my horse is more important to me. We can tell you brands, what we all love (I love Albions, personally), but the fit on your horse is the more important part, and one you just have to try.

    Do you have any saddle shops around there which let you take home used saddles to try? There's one a few hours from us which allows that which I would have tried next if no one I knew had one which was a good fit. Good luck in your new career together!
    My barn is all hunter jumpers, there is one other women who rides Dressage at my barn but her saddle is custom to her and her horse, It looks like i'm going to need to go on a hunt for a local tack shop that stocks dressage saddles. My horse has two months of rehab ahead of him and i plan on ridding in my hunt seat saddle and looking for a dressage saddle during this time.



  15. #15
    GumbyRider Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jn4jenny View Post
    The first person you should talk to is your trainer. Frankly, it's entirely possible to ride all of Training and First Level in a well-fitted jumping saddle and they are perfectly acceptable for showing (yes, really. Eventers do it all the time. I have seen them WIN dressage classes in jumping tack.) So there may be no hurry or emergency to get a dressage saddle, which would be ideal because it would give you time to find the right saddle match for you and horsie. Your trainer may also have certain preferences when it comes to dressage saddles, especially since she's seen you ride and understands your needs (deep seat or not, thigh blocks or not, etc.). If you really luck out, she will already be familiar with saddle models that would suit you and the horse.

    If your trainer says "buy whatever you like," then you should start with your horse's needs and go from there. I know very few people in dressage who are in ill-fitting saddles because it would quickly incapacitate the horse or rider. And on your budget, you can't afford to make any mistakes. Shipping out just one wrong trial saddle will rob you of $100 of your budget. BUYING the wrong dressage saddle could rob you of much more. For both your budget and your horse's comfort, you need to get it right on the first go-round.

    If you are anywhere near SW Michigan, I strongly suggest you call Lynda at Classic Saddlery. She is a good fitter and willing to work with someone on a small budget. http://www.classicsaddlery.com/ If you are not in SW Michigan, I suggest you either tell us whereabouts you are so we can suggest someone closer, or work from a distance with an outfit like Rick's Heritage Saddlery (who can suggest saddles based on pictures of your horse's back and a good wither tracing) http://www.saddlesource.com/

    FWIW, you will have many choices in that price range, so you are lucky in that regard. Wintec, Stubben, Kieffer, Passier, Rembrandt/Classic, and Thorowgood are just some of the quality brands you'll find (used) at $600-$700. But they all fit differently and they're all designed for slightly different kinds of horses. So without knowing more about your horse--and I mean a lot more, like pictures of his back from several important angles plus wither tracings--it would be very hard to recommend a specific brand or model.
    I'm currently in east Lansing, my horse is in holly, and home home is in the Detroit area. Do you know any good tack stores around there? I wouldn't mind driving to SW if that is where I'm going to get the most help and the best deal.

    My trainer is great with saddle fitting, but not as much knowledge about about dressage saddles,

    which leads me to ask another question: one of the other riders at the barn and I were thinking about brining in a dressage trainer to train us, do you have an suggestions on trainers that would would be willing to do this. Our barn is in Holly.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 3, 2003
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    2,159

    Default

    If you are in East Lansing (I am close by--in DeWitt) than on your way to SE Michigan, go to Sporthorse Saddlery in New Hudson, MI. It is right off of 1-96. www.sporthorsesaddlery.com On their website, they have a spreadsheet of all the used saddles they have in stock right now. They have a LOT of used dressage saddles you can take home and try.

    But as others have said, you might want to wait until your horse is back into fitness to buy a saddle for him. And in the meantime, ask to sit in as many dressage saddles as you can to get an idea of what you like.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 19, 2009
    Location
    Out West
    Posts
    577

    Default

    When my H/J TB was rehabbing from a suspensory injury, I had him at a dressage barn where we did only dressage until he was cleared for jumping (about 12 months after the injury). I ended up buying a dressage saddle (didn't want to borrow one indefinitely!) and was fortunate enough to be able to buy one new. Many of the riders at the barn had custom saddles, which was entirely out of my budget, and also beyond my own dressage needs. I ended up with an Albion and couldn't have been happier.

    What I particularly like about the Albion is that the seat and knee blocks are not so extreme. I can very comfortably go back and forth from my close contact saddle to the dressage saddle without the discomfort that I found with some of the custom saddles. For example, my dressage trainer's saddle put my leg in what I'm sure was a terrific position if I was only going to do dressage (and do it a level beyond Training Level!) but it was difficult to ride in that one day and then go ride in my CC saddle the next. With the Albion, it's ideal for the one or two days a week when I school my horse dressage.

    The Albion rep I worked with was great about making sure the saddle fit both me and my first horse, and then making some minor adjustments so that it was fine for my second horse (I was really lucky that the saddle worked for both horses).

    Mind you, this is all from the perspective of a H/J rider who only dabbles in dressage (doing Training Level, aspiring to Level I -- someday!).



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by klr View Post
    you can attend ongoing dressage clinics with Bettina Drummond--she was there this week and I think returns in June. A bit intimidating but just the place to get the right start--learned more watching auditing her clinic than most lessons I taken.

    The McPhail Center is the place to have rehab horse evaluated for return to work--I assume you know this but just to encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.
    Good luck with your new adventure!!!
    klr
    If you have the opportunity to work w/Bettina Drummond I would take advantage of it for sure!
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  19. #19
    GumbyRider Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lintesia View Post
    When my H/J TB was rehabbing from a suspensory injury, I had him at a dressage barn where we did only dressage until he was cleared for jumping (about 12 months after the injury). I ended up buying a dressage saddle (didn't want to borrow one indefinitely!) and was fortunate enough to be able to buy one new. Many of the riders at the barn had custom saddles, which was entirely out of my budget, and also beyond my own dressage needs. I ended up with an Albion and couldn't have been happier.

    What I particularly like about the Albion is that the seat and knee blocks are not so extreme. I can very comfortably go back and forth from my close contact saddle to the dressage saddle without the discomfort that I found with some of the custom saddles. For example, my dressage trainer's saddle put my leg in what I'm sure was a terrific position if I was only going to do dressage (and do it a level beyond Training Level!) but it was difficult to ride in that one day and then go ride in my CC saddle the next. With the Albion, it's ideal for the one or two days a week when I school my horse dressage.

    The Albion rep I worked with was great about making sure the saddle fit both me and my first horse, and then making some minor adjustments so that it was fine for my second horse (I was really lucky that the saddle worked for both horses).

    Mind you, this is all from the perspective of a H/J rider who only dabbles in dressage (doing Training Level, aspiring to Level I -- someday!).
    Thanks



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep. 16, 2006
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    300

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GumbyRider View Post
    Do you know of a site that lists clinics that are happening soon?
    Gumby,

    The Midwest Dressage Association site usually lists most of the dressage clinics in the Michigan area, including the ones at the McPhail Center.

    http://www.midwestdressage.org/calendar.htm

    Happy hunting!



Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 6
    Last Post: Oct. 10, 2011, 07:38 PM
  2. Tips for trying Hackamore?
    By shjhorses in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Feb. 19, 2011, 05:15 PM
  3. Tips please.
    By Come Shine in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Sep. 14, 2010, 01:00 PM
  4. Need some tips
    By moonlightride in forum Dressage
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: Aug. 19, 2010, 11:25 PM
  5. Tips to help with EQ
    By forestergirl99 in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: May. 13, 2010, 06:34 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •