Anyone else's horse do dressage better in your jumping saddle?
My young horse has been a saddle fit challenge! I found a close contact jump saddle last spring that is works "ok" for me but it fits her back perfectly (M. Toulouse Anice). It took me a while to get used to a CC style saddle for jumping since my other jump saddle is a deep seated type that locks your leg into place (which I need!)
Anyway--her dressage saddle fits her pretty well, but she clearly goes better in the jumping saddle. She is much looser in her back and is much more consistent in the contact. In fact, I went ahead and rode my dressage tests in that saddle at several events this summer. My scores were better than when I used my dressage saddle.
Odd thing is that this saddle is quite comfortable to sit the trot in. So I've basically resigned myself to just riding in this saddle (even for my dressage lessons). I had a clinician tell me once that you shouldn't sit the trot for very long in a jumping saddle. Does anyone know why? I can't really think of a reason it would be a problem unless the saddle is really fitting the horse poorly. Does anyone else here ride full time in the jump saddle?
I do!!! I had a ten year hiatus from eventing when I lived in South Florida and did the jumpers. Now that I'm back eventing, a dressage saddle feels so weird to me! My dressage saddle fits my horse beautifully but I think because I'm not as comfortable in it, my horse feels that and is Mr Major Crabby Pants! Lol! So I did all my dressage tests (horse trials and even pure dressage shows) in my jumping saddle (Antares). Never had anyone say anything to me about the saddle but got lots of comments of "what a love mover your horse is"!
I have never heard that you shouldn't sit the trot for longer periods of time because you're in a jumping saddle. As long as you have a good seat, it shouldn't be a problem. I ride w dressage length stirrups when I'm in my jumping saddle. I would think that if I were doing upper level movements then maybe a dressage saddle would better my position for that, but for now it's not an issue!
As for not sitting ina jump saddle, I CAN'T sit well in mine, but it is a very forward xc saddle, so the balance is off for a good dressage seat (though, I didn't manage to sit quite well for a few minutes yesterday in it, which is doubly amazing considering how out of shape and rusty I am! With jump length stirrups, no less!). Good jumper riders to some serious dressage...in their jumping saddles, including sitting trot.
As for horses going better in ina jumping saddle, I think there can be several reasons.
- A young or out of shape horse may find even a well fitting dressage saddle too, um, intense for their level of strength. A dressage saddle allows the rider to really sit "in" to a horse, but a level of strength is needed from the horse to be able to support it. This is why, as tempted as I was the other day to pull out my long neglected dressage saddle, I didn't. A two month lay up set Toby back in the strength department, so it wasn't worth it. (I am aware that their are people who don't agree with this, but I find it to be very true).
- For some riders, their position is so weak in a dressage saddle that it cranks a horse up. I liken it to the people who sit the trot (poorly) at all costs, despite their horses hollowing their backs, grinding their teeth, and shortening their strides. If you don't ride well in a dressage saddle, the horse won't go well.
- Some smart horses REALLY know the difference, even if it fits well. Vernon, who HATED dressage, would be cranky in the barn when I put the dressage saddle on. This summer, shortly before I sold him, after months of halfway decent flatwork, on a whim I tacked him up in his well fitting dressage saddle (which he hadn't had on since our 3 day in October. I had one of the worst rides in MONTHS that day.
- Obviously, saddle fit.
You won't be alone if you choose to ride in a jump saddle. I do it all the time on babies, and even when my older horses are going strong, I often will only ride in it twice a week. Don't worry about it. There's no rule saying you MUST ride in a dressage saddle with a matching black bridle no matter what.