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Jumping in a dressage saddle: what's your opinion?

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  • Jumping in a dressage saddle: what's your opinion?

    Ok, I'm not sure whether to post this here or on the Hunter/Jumper forum, but I have a question. Riding with H/J trainer currently on her school horses. Her saddle doesn't fit me, so I'm planning to purchase my own. I asked her if I can get a dressage saddle and just shorten my stirrups a bit for jumping (and btw, when I say 'jumping', I'm talking crossrails and those x's with poles across, okay? ) Hey, I've seen videos of Ingrid Klimke doing it! She said, unequivocally, no. Her reasoning is you can't 2-point properly in one. I guess it's a moot point since for now I'm riding with her and that is her opinion. But I'm just curious, what do you guys think about this? Is jumping really really low stuff okay in a dressage saddle?
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo

  • #2
    Eh - I rather see someone doing dressage in a jumping saddle than vice versa.

    It is near impossible to adjust your stirrups to a proper jumping length in most dressage saddles. Which results in stirrups that are too long - which results in a weak base of support - which results in not being able to free the horse's back / stay with the motion.

    I, like your trainer would veto it, I can't stand jumping with stirrups that are too long, and a dressage saddle will be constantly battling you if you are trying to learn proper jumping position. You just can't have your knee in the correct place for jumping in one.
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    • #3
      It's awkward as all get out- your trainer is right that a correct two point is near impossible in a dressage saddle, and even over small jumps you want to be able to get off your horse's back. Part of the problem is that if you shorten your stirrups enough to be able to get in two point, your knee will be over the front of the saddle flap. I have on the odd occasion hopped over a log or something similar while out riding in my dressage saddle, but if you're actually trying to learn how to jump correctly, I wouldn't recommend it.


      • #4
        I agree that a dressage saddle would work against you. I think you would probably be behind the motion a lot and pulling on your horse's mouth and/or slamming onto his back.
        I think a close contact saddle is less detrimental to dressage than a dressage saddle to jumping.
        Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


        • #5
          Don't! Or you'll look like this!

          Click image for larger version

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          And we did manage to get around this course almost clear, but it was strictly a one time thing. If I do any combined training next year, I am definitely borrowing an all purpose or forward seat from someone *and* practicing with it before the show.


          • #6
            It's super awkward. I'd consider it one step above jumping in a Western saddle - and I've done both.


            • #7
              yeah it can be harder on the horses back if you are not able to really get up and balance over them while jumping. Dressage saddles tend to run quite a bit deeper seated than most jumping saddles--making a proper two point difficult. That being said--I do it all the time but mainly stick to not much more than cross rails. I just borrow a jumping saddle if I want to really jump or really gallop over terrain.
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              • #8
                I have jumped the odd fence or two in my dressage saddle and it ain't easy and it ain't fun. A dressage saddle does not put you in a balanced position for jumping.

                I can't imagine taking a lesson in a dressage saddle and trying to jump as you would be fighting your tack the whole time.

                As others have said, better to get a cc saddle and do dressage in it. There are also some very nice A/P saddles (although some people would disagree with me on that) where you are balanced enough to jump small fences and yet you are still in a good position for flatting/dressage.

                I have a very nice A/P saddle that I use for hacking that still lets me jump up to about 2'3" comfortably. Anything bigger than that and I'd prefer to be in my jumping saddle. My A/P is a lot like a Roosli but is an obscure Austrian brand or I'd recommend it to you.
                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
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                • #9
                  There is different saddles for different purposes.

                  Of course you can jump in a dressage saddle but what would be the point? If it is just for fun, ok. If it's to take lessons and train a horse, not so much.
                  ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                  Originally posted by LauraKY
                  I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
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                  • #10
                    There are whole dressage tests called Prix Caprilli classes that incorporate small fences such as you describe into the test.

                    Such as for example:

                    Note that nobody died.
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                    • #11
                      Yeah, not a good idea. I have always joked that I have not taught my horse (now 8) to jump, because he's quite good at getting himself into the air WITHOUT the help of any obstacles to leap over!! The other day, another boarder set up trotting poles and we had fun trotting over them. Then she set up a little "x." Hmmm....well, my dressage saddle is a Smith-Worthington Maxx, and it IS cut with a little more forward flap than most dressage saddles, so I figured, "what the heck!" and took him over the "x." Well, he jumped hesitantly - almost trotted over it. So I brought him back around and the second time he jumped enthusiastically...and took off bucking. I managed to stay on and get him under control, but it was precarious for a moment, in a way that it would not have been had I been in my Steubben AP saddle. I suppose if one has a totally reliable horse and can therefore be a little loose, jumping small, not have to worry about things much, it might be okay, but in general, I intend to use my jumping saddle if and when I ever jump Mr. Mark again!!


                      • #12
                        Really really small fences, very occasionally? Sure. Think 18" cross rails or logs on the ground.

                        But like others, I would vote for a jump saddle. You can do perfectly decent Training Level dressage in one.

                        If you really really cannot wrap your brain around a jump saddle, there's also a precious few all purpose models out there that suit nicely for jumping and flatting--but of course, that too would be at your trainer's discretion. An eventing trainer wouldn't bat an eyelash, but some hunter trainers might.
                        Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                          There are whole dressage tests called Prix Caprilli classes that incorporate small fences such as you describe into the test.

                          Such as for example:

                          Note that nobody died.
                          I've ridden Prix Caprillis, and always did so my my AP or jumping saddle. They're mostly roughly TL or maybe 1st level, at least that I've seen, so it was the dressage saddle that wasn't necessary for those tests in my experience.


                          • #14
                            I did a prix capprilli (sp) in one. It was weird and harder than my jumping saddle but they were 2 ft fences no biggie. If your new to jumping and want to do it more I'd buy a cheap jumping saddle, you can find a no name for couple hundred bucks and get a good dressage saddle if your focus is more dressage.
                            Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                            • #15
                              I'll pile on the bandwagon - get a jumping saddle if you'll routinely be doing fences (even low ones).

                              I've also done Prix Caprilli, and used my jumping saddle. I have popped over small fences (up to 2' or so) and logs on the trail in my dressage saddle. It's certainly doable, but not particularly comfortable or well balanced.

                              It's much easier and way more comfortable to do basic dressage in a jumping saddle than low jumps in a dressage saddle.

                              Have fun saddle shopping!


                              • #16
                                LOL, I used to do it regularly, successfully eventing training level. My saddle was a very minimal Passier and if you got forward on my old eventing pony you were dead meat. George Morris would have a heart attack though. I'll see if I can find some old pictures to scan.

                                I don't think i would like to try it on my County Connection much less some of the saddles with really big blocks
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                                • #17
                                  Signs I've been riding dressage for too long: I read this thread and my first thought was, "2' jumps are small???"


                                  • #18
                                    Yeah I'd go with a jump saddle. You can always lengthen your stirrups and be fine for dressagey stuff, whereas trying to jump in a dressage saddle is just plain awkward.
                                    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      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 saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo


                                      • #20
                                        A CC saddle is a close contact saddle; it's a jumping saddle.

                                        Is 18 - 18'5 your dressage saddle size? Usually people get smaller size for their jumping saddle.
                                        ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                                        Originally posted by LauraKY
                                        I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
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