I jumped a LOT in my old Passier back in Minnesota. Yes, minimal blocks, so shortening stirrups was no big deal. Would I do it in a Prestige 2000D? No, that's TOO restrictive. So ask yourself how high are the fences and how restrictive is the saddle?
I even won a (very low) three-phase event using my Passier for all three phases. I schooled over fences between two feet and three feet (no higher than that, thanks!) and no one ever said anything to me about my choice of saddle. It can be done, depending on the saddle.
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Jumping on the bandwagon as well. A dressage saddle simply doesn't let your knee go forward enough to put you into a proper, balanced jumping position. Get a jumping saddle!
I ride in a 17.5" dressage saddle but have ridden in and jumped happily in a 16.5" -17" jumping saddle. You can get decent jumping saddles for under $1200. CC saddles have less of a knee roll, closer contact in the seat and legs and allow for a slightly longer stirrup - thus the flap is often wider than the typical jumper saddle. True jumper saddles are pretty forward in the flap and often have a good knee roll. Depending on the height you want to jump, you can likely go either way. I think if you jump 3' 6"-ish or less, you can happily ride in a cc saddle or a large flap jumping saddle if you like the close contact. If you jump over 3'6", you'll probably want the build and security of a true jumping saddle.
There's really no substitute for jumping in a jump saddle, like there's no substitute for riding dressage in a dressage saddle. You can get good deals on ebay once you know the make, model and size you're looking for! Good luck!
Yes, I sat in a 18.5" dressage saddle the other day and it fit perfect. My trainer's 17.5" jumping saddle is too small. So should I go with 18"?
It depends on how deep the seat is and how forward the flap is cut. If you like a deeper seat you might choose an 18"; in a flatter seat you might be fine with a 17.5". If the saddle has very forward flaps you might also be able to ride in a smaller size. If the flap is straighter and your leg is long, you will need a larger seat size to accommodate your leg.
What kind of saddle does your trainer have? That's a good starting point. Take a good look at it and then see if you can ride in some other saddles that are cut differently. Then you'll start to discover what style saddle you prefer.
Same deal with the dressage saddle. Just because you liked an 18.5" in one style doesn't always mean that you will like that size in other brands/styles. If it were only that easy!
I prefer a flat seat that doesn't hold me "in place" in the saddle. Other people like the security they get from a seat that puts them where they should be but which makes it harder to move.
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Would a CC saddle be preferable to a jumping saddle then?
Eta: if anyone has a recommendation, please let me know. Preferably a brand that goes up to 18.5" (I could probably fit a 18" but 18.5" would be even better.) And I'd like to spend no more than $1500 because I'll be getting a dressage saddle later on.
How about a used County Eventer?
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I would look for an all purpose saddle with a "dressage tendency." There are all-purpose saddles that are designed more for stadium jumping that have a very forward flap, and then there are those that are designed more for dressage with a rather straight flap. Ainsley used to make them. Passier and Courbette, too. You should be able to find one used in the size that you are looking for.
I loved my County Dres Prix I had for years! I used it mostly for dressage, but it was nice to adjust it up and pop over fences (I had a real jump saddle, too, but the Dres Prix was a nice "extra" saddle for a group jump lesson or hack). They aren't all that hard to find (saw one the other day, actually).
Anyway, I don't think there's any harm in jumping small fences in a dressage saddle, but I do think that if you are serious about learning to jump, you would be better off in a jump saddle, or at least something that tries to be a jump saddle (like the Dres Prix).
A couple of years ago, we hosted a great gymnastic jumping clinic series. It brought in mostly eventers, foxhunters, and some h/j people, but we did have one lady show up one time on her cute little Lippy, I think, in her dressage saddle. I had spoken with her prior to the clinic, so we knew she was coming and that she was a little nervous about being a DRESSAGE rider in a jumping clinic. But they did GREAT! She wanted something different to do with her horse, especially since it was towards the end of a crappy winter. We kept the gymnastic small for them, but they really did well, learned a lot, and improved from beginning to end tremendously.
So, yeah, you can totally jump in a dressage saddle. Not ideal, but doable.
There's a difference between an experienced rider with an established seat popping over the occasional cavaletti or log on the trail, and someone who is *learning* to jump. You cannot learn to jump in a dressage saddle. If you are taking lessons that involve jumping, you are learning stuff about riding over fences, which you cannot learn correctly in the wrong kind of saddle. Or, at least, you will be fighting the saddle so much as to be counter-productive.
Take a look at a Bates AP saddle. The seats are a generous size, they don't trap you, but give plenty of support for flatwork.
I think even a minimialist dressage saddle would be difficult for learning or refining your jumping effectiveness and stability.
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I'd say if you already have established a good jumping postion, then sure pop over a few jumps in the dressage saddle: you'll probably know enough to tweak the position. Learning to jump in a (too small) dressage saddle will make your life more difficult and perhaps the horse's, too.
I'd get a used Steuben Siegfrid AP or one of the other Steubens, preferably one of the really old German ones, which can be had for around $500. They'll put you in a lot better balance for jumping than your dressage saddle if you're learning to jump. I know because I learned in my plastic Wintec dressage saddle. Jumping even in an AP saddle was so much easier.
That's what I've done. I have a fairly expensive dressage saddle (I spend most of my time on dressage) and an el-cheapo old Steuben Imperator (mine cost the princely sum of $150) for crossrails, trail riding and the like.
I'd look for a used Steubben SS or DS, probably a Siegfried. There are a ton of them out there, and they're well made and last forever, and used ones are generally moderately priced. I'd rather buy a quality used saddle than a cheap new one.
I have an Imperator (same tree as a Siefried) that's easily 25+ years old and looks great. And they definitely come in the larger sizes, if that's what you truly need. A friend had a 18.5 Imperator (He was 6'4"). I don't even know if they're still around (and would probably be considered "antiques" by now), but IIRC, Pariani jumping saddles were (are?) cut with an extremely forward flap, so if it's hip to knee that you need the larger size for, that would be a possibility.
Like others have said, it really depends on the saddle and your own conformation. I learned both jumping and dressage in an old-school Collegiate Senior Eventer back in the late 90's. The problem was that it placed my legs too far behind me for jumping anything bigger than 2'6".
Dressage leg is definitely different than jumping leg. Dressage balance is different than jumping balance.
But, rather than rehash what you've heard several times, I'll share some amusing anecdotes on the topic.
Story the first- my father hooked me up with lessons at a fancy-schmancy eventing barn. He really had to schmooze and talk me up to get in, and they were not entirely thrilled to have me there. I show up, and fail all of the tacking up tests- they used boots I'd never used before, and I'd never ridden in a "real" dressage saddle before, and then they broke out the martingales... I was totally blown away. At home, I rode down and dirty with snaffles, splint boots, and the aforementioned Collegiate saddle.
We get out there, and I ride well enough- I'm getting helpful pointers and not completely shagged. Then they set up the jumps. So here I am, trying to get my leg to understand the dressage saddle in the first place, and now I'm trying to pop over a 2' grid in it as well. I'll just dial forward to the part where I fell off, spectacularly, in the middle of the grid. They declined next few scheduled lessons.
The second story has a positive ending- I was riding my friend's WP/HUS horse in my dressage saddle. She wondered if she could possibly due Hunter Hack classes with him, so I pointed him at a low crossrail I had set up earlier in the day. He jumped it like a 4' oxer. I stayed on like a champ... but only because I had dropped my stirrups before heading that direction. My dressage saddle puts my leg waaaay too far back for me to have done anything but damage to my uh... sensitive area.
Actually, depending on the dressage saddle, you very well COULD.
A good friend was taking a crossrail lesson in her dressage saddle, her horse popped the fence and jumped her out of the saddle, she landed in front of the big thigh blocks. Her horse freaked out, she could not get back into the seat, and she was violently thrown and ended up in the ER with a severe consussion, with her helmet on. It could have been really ugly had the horse reacted move violently than he did.
Unless the saddle is one without large knee/thigh blocks and a very deep seat, just don't do it.
What are you trying to accomplish while riding with this h/j trainer, and going over little Xs as per your OP?
If your goal is to learn good jumping position and end up doing Hunters or Jumpers, then do yourself a favor and get a CC saddle.
If your goal is to further your flatwork and occasionally pop over some little Xs, then there's no reason you can't do that in a good Dressage saddle.
The picture someone posted of "don't jump in a Dressage saddle or you'll look like this" doesn't have a horizontal leg because it was a Dressage saddle
You can absolutely do small stuff in a Dressage saddle IF you aren't making the mistake of having your stirrups so long you can't 2-pt. You SHOULD be able to 2-pt enough for something so small with a proper Dressage length stirrup. If you can't, it's too long
There are Dressage saddle styles that are more, and less, conducive to getting out of the seat, as mentioned. Likewise, there are styles of CC saddles that absolutely trap some people and make it difficult for them to get out of the seat. Your conformation will dictate some of that, but the saddle it self will dictate some as well.
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I've done small jumps, popped over logs etc. with no problems in my Frank Baines Capriole -- but this saddle almost rides like an all-purpose, and doesn't have a deep seat. I put my stirrups up two holes. If I was pursuing jumping more seriously, I'd have another saddle.
---- "You have to have experiences to gain experience."
Would a CC saddle be preferable to a jumping saddle then?
Eta: if anyone has a recommendation, please let me know. Preferably a brand that goes up to 18.5" (I could probably fit a 18" but 18.5" would be even better.) And I'd like to spend no more than $1500 because I'll be getting a dressage
saddle later on.
I have a courbette because they are reasonably priced and i don't jump a lot. My main focus is dressage so I got a county dressage saddle fitted and bought the courbette with the spring tree and it has worked well for the small stuff. I was jumping maybe once a week and it worked well. It cost like 700 bucks so not to bad.
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I'm a lousy rider and have jumped cross rails in my Dressage saddle –– which has an open seat and short forward flaps. It wasn't a catastrophe, but I did a lot better in my AP.
I've owned two AP saddles that were great for lower level Dressage as well as jumping. My horse evented in them: Kieffer München and County Eventer. Find a used one that fits your horse and save yourself time and money!