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do you use your dressage saddle out on trail, or?

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  • do you use your dressage saddle out on trail, or?

    Having to find saddles for both my mounts... I have heard of people using their dressage saddles out on the trail, sometimes with a seat saver. Do you guys use the same saddle that you use in the arena out on the trail or do you use something else, and if so what do you like and why? I have been mostly an arena 'hostage' but plan to do some trail riding this summer for sure.

  • #2
    I do most of my trail riding in my dressage saddle- I've never used a seat saver. My saddle is quite comfy, so it's never been an issue for me.
    Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever


    • #3
      Dressage saddles tend to have a nice, deep seat that is plenty secure for trail riding. I used to have a western/english hybrid type trail saddle, but often ended up using my dressage saddle anyway. No seat saver, although I do like the sheepskin ones - comfy!

      You know what's nice though, having a little saddle pack to bring along drinks, snacks, your cell phone for emergencies, etc. I like the EasyCare ones that attach securely and don't bounce like regular saddle bags, and they have insulated drink holders which are a big +++ here in Arizona! I have the pommel and cantle ones, and I tend to prefer the cantle one.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks so far, guys, that is helpful. An additional question is about jumping little obstacles out on the trail in your dressage saddle. Believe it or not I have not really done any jumping yet, I have had a heck of a time being a green rider who made the classic blunder of buying a green (2 year old!) horse, so it has been a long arduous process for us to just master our 3 gaits in our beginning dressage lessons. We are starting to really progress though. I am just wondering how a dressage saddle is for taking little jumps on a trail, such as a log or whatever? Sorry if that is a dumb question, it just seems such a different design from the one favored in jumping and all purpose saddles. Can you guys jump in your dressage saddles?
        Last edited by 2greyhorses; Mar. 4, 2010, 03:27 PM.


        • #5
          Certainly you can jump in your dressage saddle. You may want to shorten your irons a hole or two though.
          Interesting to note that there are a number of mounted police units that ride in dressage saddles. They may add extra D's for their gear but it works as well as a purpose built saddle and can end up cheaper.


          • #6
            My trainer encourages me to take my mare out on the trail, and reminds me to shorten the stirrups on my dressage saddle a hole or two.


            • #7
              Originally posted by 2greyhorses View Post
              …Believe it or not I have not really done any jumping yet, I have had a heck of a time being a green rider who made the classic blunder of buying a green (2 year old!) horse, so it has been a long arduous process for us to just master our 3 gaits in our beginning dressage lessons. We are starting to really progress though. I am just wondering how a dressage saddle is for taking little jumps on a trail, such as a log or whatever…
              You can do it no problem, just shorten your stirrups a hole or two. HOWEVER, I would really recommend taking your first jumps with your green horse/rider combination with an instructor to help you get the feel for it, and also in an arena with jumps with cups/poles so it won't be a huge deal if you guys don't get it right away. Oh yes, and wear a helmet


              • #8
                I mostly trail ride in my dressage saddle unless I know there are going to be jumps over 12" in which case I use my jumping saddle. The tree shape and position of a dressage saddle is not great for a horse's back when jumping and won't put you in a very good position for it either. But a little 12" log, you'll be fine, just stay off his back and keep your reins loopy.
                Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
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                • #9
                  With my last horse I always rode in my dressage saddle on trail- even went to a real Trail Trial with a friend one time- needless to say we were the only ones in breeches, tall boots, and english saddles. Had a blast though!

                  My current horse I prefer to ride western because she is an all-around horse, but I will take a spin out on trail in my dressage or close contact saddle if that's what I'm in the mood for.


                  • #10
                    I love my dressage saddle and by far is the comfy saddle I have but I don't trail ride in it. It just cost way to much for me to scratch it up on the trail. I have a C/C jumping saddle that I trail ride in that was not as expensive and I have a western saddle but it doesn't fit the horse I'm riding now.
                    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                    • #11
                      It's totally do-able, but I find that I prefer my all-purpose saddle when I'm going out for a hack. When the footing's bad, or the terrain's steep, or there are obstacles to hop over, I just find it easier to get up off my horse's back and out of the way.
                      "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                      -Edward Hoagland


                      • #12
                        Yep. I did a hunter pace in my Wintec dressage saddle. Opted out of the jumps, except for a little log here and there, and it was fine.

                        Recently I went out on a pretty gnarly trail ride on a borrowed gaited mare (what fun!) and it occurred to be that the Western saddle I was sitting in was pretty similar, seat wise, to a dressage saddle. Except that you have a horn to grab, but a mane works just as well!

                        And finally, in regards to jumping in a dressage saddle - ever see a Prix Caprilli? That's a dressage test with low jumps. Looks like a ton of fun.


                        • #13
                          Yes - in fact, I find it easier to use the same saddle for ring work and trail riding. I used to have separate Tucker Equitation Endurance saddle for trail riding. It fit me completely different that my "everyday" saddle used for ring work. I used to get SOOOO sore after trail rides since my body didn't have the muscle memory for the Tucker. My body is much happier sticking to one saddle all the time regardless of where I'm riding.


                          • Original Poster

                            Hmmm, I asked my instructor about dressage saddle for trail and light jumping, she said OK for trail but not so OK for jumping, she is going to show me why tomorrow, but she said an occasional log or obstacle on the trail would be OK.

                            In one way I could see the wisdom of having a seperate trail saddle just so you don't scrape up your expensive Passier or whatever on the trail...


                            • #15
                              I've used my well-worn Wintec 500 dressage saddle for trail, foxhunting and a little low jumping. It is very comfy but, particularly with the slickness of the plastic, not ideal, particularly for foxhunting. And when I tried out some small jumps in a Steubben Siegfried, I realized just how much easier jumping was in an AP.


                              • #16
                                Riding here in my stubben dressage saddle for a prix caprilli with 2' verticals. Not a problem and they do it for dressage test. I wouldn't rec. jumping 4' in one but to pop over something is nothing.



                                Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                                • #17
                                  oh goodness yes, I wish i'd known about dressage saddles 10 years ago when I was riding western or bareback. They're lovely on the trail.

                                  And in my minimal or no block flatter saddles, I'll certainly pop over logs, ditches, etc. its no different than jumping in a western saddle (except you don't get your sternum impaled or bra hooked over the horn! now I could tell you a very embarrassing story there...).

                                  only thing that is lacking in a dressage saddle is lack of handiness, ie d's for rigging up pouches, etc. There are fleece lined english pommel bags that work quite well for a water and some carrots, etc. (don't put your cell phone in your bag!! no fun watching your phone go galloping off into the distance! lol). The make english pads that have saddle bags built in, but I don't think thats wise, its easy to unbalance and flap relentlessly when trucking along.

                                  but yes, I love hacking around in a dressage saddle.
                                  Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                                  • #18
                                    I always used to jump a few fences with my Trakehner to get him moving forward, even in my dressage saddle.

                                    That said, I usually hack in an A/P because it gives me more flexibility. In my dressage saddle, it's uncomfortable to ride short enough to jump.

                                    As others have mentioned, if you are just starting to jump, probably best to do it with a trainer and to use a saddle that helps, rather than hurts your position.
                                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                                    • #19
                                      Do I ride in my dressage saddle on the trail? Not if I don't have to!

                                      The deep seated, big thigh block saddles would be hard to do any serious trail riding in no matter how comfortable in the ring. A flatter one would be better. I fox hunt in my jump saddle even if I'm just hilltopping because we go like mad dogs. You don't know what forward means until you've tried to keep up with the hounds!


                                      • #20
                                        Absolutely, all the time. In fact, that's how I broke my new saddle in, doing short trail rides.

                                        I went from a Country Drespri (really an all purpose type saddle) to Wintec 500, to a Duett Fidelio. Twist on the Wintec and the Duett were definitely different from each other and totally different from the County I'd used for 15 years. Trail riding is what helped me adjust the best and quickest. The occasional small log, creek etc is no problem. The Duett is a deep seated saddle however, so I wouldn't want to be jumping a lot or anything big with it, but it's OK for normal trail stuf.

                                        Plus, I like to work on different things on trail too...if I have a nice area where I can canter, I'll work a little collected to medium, or do some trot half pass, shoulder in etc in different places. I find that trail riding in my dressage saddle helps me with my position too.
                                        A poorly fitted saddle hampers both horse and rider.