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All purpose saddle for dressage?

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  • All purpose saddle for dressage?

    I have been having a horrible time finding a used dressage saddle since the end of last year. Apparently I am pretty long from my hip to my knee and when I have the correct 45 degree angle in my thigh, my knee sits on the knee block or is completely off the flap (have tried several models and brands and kept going up in size--to no avail!).
    I found a super deal on a passier PSL all purpose, it's black with a slightly forward flap--so that I have tons of room with my legs in the propoer position and the pencil knee roll is in front of my knee...actually doing it's job instead of restricting my movement.
    Anyway, my questions is if it is frowned upon to show dressage in an all purpose saddle? I have a young horse and we aren't really even showing rated shows yet, but I don't want to invest in a saddle that will get me "funny" looks in the dressage world.
    Thanks for your help!

  • #2
    There is nothing wrong with you starting out in an AP. Eventually you will want to find a nice dressage saddle that fits you and your horse so you can make sure you have a better seat and leg position but for starting out an all purpose saddle will work just fine. Just make sure it fits you and your horse for whatever you decide to go with. If you are not in a rush you may want to look at the free classified ads at www.dressageextensions.com under free photo ads for a nice used dressage saddle. Hope this helps.


    • #3
      I used a County Eventer for years, now i have a short foreward flap Connection
      I wasn't always a Smurf
      Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
      "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
      The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


      • #4
        You cannot learn the correct balance for the sitting trot in an AP saddle. It is fine as long as you are in intro or training level where you can post the trot.


        • #5
          weensy suggestion. Have you sat in a passier dressage saddle?

          I own a Passier Antares http://www.thevisioncompany.de/engli...pg&bez=Antares Dressage Saddle they are very minimalist in the knee padding department. Mine only has a thigh nub, that's it. perfectly balanced, to die for, horse loffs it...

          I have a 36" inseam and a long femur as well. This was my last ditch effort before going custom. And a passier antares 17.5" just the way it comes is perfect.

          dont buy an all purpose anything.
          chaque pas est fait ensemble


          • #6
            Originally posted by angel
            You cannot learn the correct balance for the sitting trot in an AP saddle. It is fine as long as you are in intro or training level where you can post the trot.
            Even when riding with a slightly longer leg??
            Why would that be?

            I'm just curious, coz I have a Euroriding VSD as well as a KN dressage.
            And I hardly ever ride in my KN, because the Euroriding is way more comfortable and I can sit my horses better in my Euroriding VSD then my KN.

            I can understand one shouldn't be doing the higher levels in a VSD, but the lower levels even at a sitting trot, I don't understand why it would affect the correct balance? Would that be in reference to stirrup length then?
            Anyone else has opinions on this too?


            • #7
              Originally posted by jmbnsyd View Post
              when I have the correct 45 degree angle in my thigh
              Who told you your thigh has to be at exactly 45 degrees?
              As you know, your shoulder, hip, and ankle should all line up vertically. You can do this with a 45 degree angle between thigh and hip, but if you look at photos of the really good classical dressage riders (Thomas Ritter, Karl Mikolka, Arthus Kottas, etc.) you will probably see a more open angle. It sounds as though you might (might?) be riding with your stirrups too short. Couldn't say without pictures but it's something to think about.

              The point is, in an all-purpose saddle the stirrup bar is set fairly far forward of your seat bones (the ischii), so the stirrup leather is going to have to be angled back in order for your heel to be beneath your hip. You will continually be straining for the correct position and balance. Why struggle that way? With a dressage saddle the stirrup leathers will naturally fall almost straight down.

              I have the same conformation you do--I"m 5'10" with long femurs. My pelvis doesn't feel comfortable in a Passier dressage saddle for some reason (though I love the Passier all-purpose saddles for jumping). Have you thought of the Stubben Tristan dressage saddles? This is an old style but I have a new one. It works very well for me in terms of maintaining correct position, and my horse adores it, rounding up the minute it goes on. She is not the first horse it has had this effect on. They almost start purring.


              • #8
                It all depends on the saddle, and how deep and long in the leg you want to be. Not to be rude--but it is your crotch, that you will be dealing with once you really drop your leg, and need the correct angles for reasonable lateral work. And sadly without lateral work ,you can't progress.
                Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                • #9

                  VSD (Variable Style Dressage - Vielseitigkeit Schwerpunkt Dressur) :
                  The VSD is an all purpose saddle but with a different emphasis. The VSD flap is much straighter and does not extend far forward. It is designed for the rider who mostly rides long in the stirrups. The VSD offers great applications for trail riding, flat work, and dressage, while suiting the jumpers who prefer to ride with long stirrups.


                  • #10
                    Have you also tried the Passier Grand Gilbert, they are wonderful for long legged riders, without a huge thigh block. Very classic design.


                    • Original Poster


                      The Passier PSL all purpase that I have on trial is a VS model (jump flap). I am 5'4 and have tried a Passier GG, antares, and the optimum, but all the flaps ended at my ankle--isn't that bad since there is less direct contact with the horse? Plus, I still had a hard time with the blocks interfereing with my knee.

                      I would like to try the Passier PSL D with a short flap, but haven't had any luck finding any used.

                      Perhaps I should try the Passier PSL all purpose VD--with a dressage concentration--from the pictures this looks to have a slightly more forward flap then the regular PSL, but straighter then the VS. Hope I haven't confused everyone!

                      The Passier tree fits my TB like a glove, I like the feel of the seats, and the quality seems very good---so I would like to find a model that works, if possible.

                      My trainer is coming over this evening to take a look at the PSL VS saddle, perhaps I can get her to take a picture that I can post here.


                      • #12
                        The Stubben VSD saddles are so nice. I have the same problem as you with the knee thing. I think people who say you can't ride well without a certain saddle are not all that good of riders. And to be blunt most people who spend big big bucks on saddles are more concerned with having the latest thing than anything else. Now the AP saddles that are really set up for jumping may not be the best, but I can sit the trot in anything if my feet are under me. You'll ride better in something that fits you, forget what "they" say is correct.
                        “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
                        ? Rumi


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks gayla...I will do some searches for the stubben VSD saddles. During my ride last night...I tried a sitting trot and it felt much better in the all purpose saddle compared to some of the deep seated dressage saddles I tried. Who knows...


                          • #14
                            I hate to tell you this...but, if your sitting trot felt better in your AP saddle, it sounds as if you are hollowing your back, and not sitting properly.


                            • #15
                              You cannot learn the correct balance for the sitting trot in an AP saddle. It is fine as long as you are in intro or training level where you can post the trot.
                              I hate to tell you this...but, if your sitting trot felt better in your AP saddle, it sounds as if you are hollowing your back, and not sitting properly
                              Disagree completely. Saddles are as personal as... I can't even think of anything more personal in all the ways it has to fit you. Even shoes do not have to be right for such intimate places and balance...

                              I am working in 3rd level in a Passier VD. For the very same reasons. When seated correctly, ear/shoulder/hip/heel alignment, my knee comes off the flap of many saddles. The VD has properly setback stirrup bars (Further back than many dressage saddles!) an extremely well balanced seat, and the right flap for me.

                              Passier *in particular* are extremely versatile saddles. I guess Reiner Klimke never learned to sit the trot properly in the Passier VS... as he IS in many photos in my older version of the young horse training book. And Podjadsky must really have been a laughingstock showing in the "AP" saddle he is riding in more than once in My Horses, My Teachers (one of which is either an Olympic photo, or is on one of his Olympic level mounts) And of course Nuno musn't have been able to sit the trot at all...

                              If the saddle is balanced, the stirrup bars are set properly for YOU, and it FITS... you can do anything you want in it, and go as far as you want in it.

                              The rest is just... wishful thinking. I'm the first to say a saddle can help or hurt--but it does NOT have to be a specific saddle. On some very wide horses you need a bit more of a closed angle in the hip to let the shock absorbers *work*. A VSD/VD can be the cat's meow there.

                              Yes, there are strict dressage saddles with more forward flaps. Some of them aren't all that balanced and end up eliciting a chair seat. Some are fabulou$.

                              If the Passier fits you and your horse, if you are balanced and can drop your stirrups and your legs hang in the same way (correctly) as they do with the stirrups... Go for it.

                              I for one will probably be doing PSG in a few years in my *~gasp~* VD. No one can even tell. Except my horse, who is picky as hell and deliriously happy in it.
                              InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                              Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                              • Original Poster


                                I purchased an "almost new" Passier PSL VD...and just love it. Fit's my horse like a glove and I love how it doesn't force me into any position! Very comfy and good quality. Glad the whole saddle search drama is finally over. Geez, now I might actually have to "work" at work instead of searching for used saddles....

                                Thanks again for everyone's help/opinions!