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All-purpose saddle = no-purpose?

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  • All-purpose saddle = no-purpose?

    I know ideally I would have a jumping saddle and a dressage saddle. And in fact, I do have a jumping saddle and a dressage saddle and a Western saddle to boot! But my mustang only works in the Western saddle right now because none of the others fit him well.

    His education is starting with dressage work, and that's likely what we'll spend most of our time doing. I'd love to teach him to jump and do some small HT down the road.

    Does anyone do little jumps (like under 2'6") in a dressage saddle?

    Anyone use an all-purpose saddle for dressage and jumping?

    Or should I just get a dressage saddle and deal with a jumping saddle if and when the time comes?
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

  • #2
    For a greenie just learning the ropes, I think an all purpose saddle is fine. I first learned to event and competed through training in an all purpose saddle. I'm not saying it wouldn't have been easier if I'd had a dressage and jumping saddle, but at the lower levels I don't think it's necessary. And if you're going to choose either/or, I'd go with the jumping saddle over the dressage. I know many people who show their babies at the BN and N saddle in a jumping saddle in all three phases, it seems to encourage them to go forward (or maybe it just keeps the riders more forward thinking)- either way I've seen some lovely, soft, correct dressage tests from greenies in a jump saddle. JMO
    Balanced Care Equine

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    • #3
      I used an all-purpose for dressage, jumping, pleasure, trail, and anything else I come up with that sounds like a good idea. I know lots of people say all-purpose = no purpose, but you can have mine when you pry it out of my cold dead fingers. I did pony club from D2 thru B prep in an all-purpose and never had any problems. I recently acquired a dressage saddle for when I start getting more serious about dressage or competing in eventing, still not sure I like it as much as my all-purpose. In your case I see no problem hopping over little jumps in a dressage saddle, or even the western saddle, if you are careful and it fits. Lots of trail horse classes have small jumps that are taken in western saddles without a problem. I think fit and comfort for the both of you are the most important thing right now, style can come later.

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      • #4
        That old saying is a really stupid one, IMO.

        I use the saddle that suits me and the horse best for the activity.

        One of my mares did everything in an AP saddle. She did XC to P/I height, showjumped to 4', and corresponding dressage. She hated anything near her shoulder, so a forward flap saddle was out of the question, and she didn't tolerate dressage saddles either. (And I tried to no avail to accommodate her.)

        I don't know that you ever 'need' a dressage saddle for dressage. If you can sit down in a saddle and use your seat and leg effectively, you can do dressage.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JER View Post

          I don't know that you ever 'need' a dressage saddle for dressage. If you can sit down in a saddle and use your seat and leg effectively, you can do dressage.
          I might just have to make that my signature line, JER.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JER View Post
            That old saying is a really stupid one, IMO.

            I use the saddle that suits me and the horse best for the activity.

            One of my mares did everything in an AP saddle. She did XC to P/I height, showjumped to 4', and corresponding dressage. She hated anything near her shoulder, so a forward flap saddle was out of the question, and she didn't tolerate dressage saddles either. (And I tried to no avail to accommodate her.)

            I don't know that you ever 'need' a dressage saddle for dressage. If you can sit down in a saddle and use your seat and leg effectively, you can do dressage.
            What about the different 'versions' of AP saddles now - VSS and VSD?

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            • #7
              It is good you are using the saddle that FITS, except that it is probably uncomfortable to jump in the western saddle!
              You also can hop a jump or two in a dressage saddle occasionally, but I tore a muscle in my knee doing that once, a long time ago, and found that there is reason for the knee rolls and thigh blocks. They are meant to keep you THERE. Ouch.
              I think you can find a good jumping saddle that does not place you too far forward that letting the stirrups down a hole or two wouldn't hurt for the dressage. I would go that direction simply because it's more economical.

              A good quality saddle will last a long time and especially one that fits your horse (Mustangs are HARD to fit, how well I know!) is most important. By the way, in case it helps -- I would look for a used Passier of some kind. I had a lot of luck fitting two or three of the mustangs I rode in Passiers for some reason!
              Best of luck! Ebay is your friend!
              Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
              Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

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              • #8
                All purpose means a lot of different things. Some are just fine for jumping small fences (up to 2'6", others are more suitable for dressage). Lots of foxhunters ride in A/P saddles.

                It all depends on the balance of the saddle and your needs.

                I wrote about it on my blog and show a few different saddles -- two different a/p designs along with a jumping saddle, a dressage saddle and a xc saddle so you can see the difference.

                What does an a/p saddle look like?
                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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                • #9
                  Love my all purpose! It does everything I need it to and fits both me and my horse like a dream. I don't even like switching back and forth between boots, not to mention saddles.
                  Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
                    Mustangs are HARD to fit, how well I know!
                    Yeah, the saddle I'm currently using on him is a Specialized Western trail-type saddle. There is really nothing underneath my leg except the fender, the skirt is very short. I've tried one of my dressage saddles on him, which *technically* should fit him, but he didn't like it. He seems to like the balance farther back and nothing on his shoulders. And he prefers that I sit the trot, not post.

                    Any recommendations for a/p saddles? Does Passier make one or is yours just dressage, retread?
                    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

                    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

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                    • #11
                      Do you have other horses ? What are you doing with the saddles that don't fit ?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My favorite AP saddle is the -- shudder -- Wintec AP. This is my favorite saddle for young/green horses, my favorite saddle for hunting, my favorite saddle for endurance.

                        My mares all started out Western, then switched to English in the Wintec. It was an easy transition.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kdow View Post
                          What about the different 'versions' of AP saddles now - VSS and VSD?
                          On the mare I mentioned, I used a VSD. She didn't want anything near her shoulder.

                          I just go with what fits the horse and I can sit in. For example, I cannot sit in a Berney Dublin Jumper. (There's a Berney kiddie version that I'm ok with but the adult size is painful.) If I have to ride in that saddle, I just work in a half-seat, which is not optimal for dressage. But I did use that saddle for jumping on a horse who went best in it and we could do the necessary flatwork for jumping in it.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by KateWooten View Post
                            Do you have other horses ? What are you doing with the saddles that don't fit ?
                            I have other horses but one has been retired and his dressage saddle doesn't fit (Reactor Panel). One saddle (Thorowgood cob dressage - the one that should fit) was for a horse I no longer have. My jumping saddle (that I do currently use on another horse) doesn't fit. My other dressage saddle (that is in use on another horse) also doesn't fit. Mr. PoPo has a Duett jumping saddle for a horse we no longer have and I may try that on Mac again when the weather gets better.

                            So I've got a couple dressage saddles to sell!

                            I may have a look at the Duetts - wide enough for his big mustang shoulders and reasonably priced for my budget!
                            My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

                            "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JER View Post
                              On the mare I mentioned, I used a VSD. She didn't want anything near her shoulder.

                              I just go with what fits the horse and I can sit in. For example, I cannot sit in a Berney Dublin Jumper. (There's a Berney kiddie version that I'm ok with but the adult size is painful.) If I have to ride in that saddle, I just work in a half-seat, which is not optimal for dressage. But I did use that saddle for jumping on a horse who went best in it and we could do the necessary flatwork for jumping in it.
                              Do you feel that, in general, a VSD type saddle would be functional enough for jumping that it wouldn't aid in developing bad habits for someone learning to jump?

                              (I'm a dressage-background re-rider who wants to try eventing, which requires learning to jump. I also am trying to budget to get my own horse sooner rather than later, and I'm trying to figure out if I'm likely to be able to get away with some model of AP saddle without making life harder for myself learning to jump - which I anticipate I will be working on for some time, since it's entirely new - or if I should just try to allow for two saddles or a jump saddle and then put up with less-than-ideal flatwork position until I can afford a more dressage-oriented saddle also.)

                              (I do not actually HAVE said horse yet, and I realize that some of this is going to come down to the horse and what fits me, and what fits me on the horse, but what I'm trying to do right now is budget things out and save money so that before I get a horse, I'll have money put aside for first-time expenses like tack and other gear, and some money put aside for emergency vet issues, without worrying about meeting the monthly boarding/training costs. And two saddles instead of one can be a pretty big chunk of change depending on what you and the horse need, and what can be found used.)

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                While I have jumped a few fences in my dressage saddles, I personally don't find them very comfortable for jumping. The center of balance is just off and I have very long legs (so I can't shorten my stirrups enough).

                                It depends on how YOU are built.

                                In general, if you want to jump, I'd go for an A/P with a more forward flap.
                                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Before you go and buy something try my County Stabilizer on him and see how he likes it. It is really wide and flocked for G, and has the SR panels on it. You can borrow it. Horses seem to love it.

                                  A good A/P saddle is the County Eventer, more of a jumping saddle really but well balanced for flatwork. You can find them very reasonably priced and they have the wonderful County tree that fits wide horses so well.

                                  Here is a picture of one of the newer ones FYI, the older ones were a bit scary.
                                  http://www.mmtackshop.com/coevallpusa.html

                                  mm tack is also wonderful to work with on trials!
                                  On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                                    While I have jumped a few fences in my dressage saddles, I personally don't find them very comfortable for jumping. The center of balance is just off and I have very long legs (so I can't shorten my stirrups enough).

                                    It depends on how YOU are built.

                                    In general, if you want to jump, I'd go for an A/P with a more forward flap.
                                    This. I was going to ask how tall the people were who liked riding in AP saddles. I'm not extremely tall, but I have very long legs and I have real issues with many AP saddles. I do have an older Stubben AP that works ok for me for low fences and flat work, but it is one of few AP saddles that has ever worked for me.
                                    Rhode Islands are red;
                                    North Hollands are blue.
                                    Sorry my thoroughbreds
                                    Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :

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                                    • #19
                                      Tell that to my friend who did Rolex when it was a *** in her Siegfried! Ok, ok, she also had a D saddle. I went through P in mine, so obviously I don't agree either.

                                      I'd rather do D in a jump saddle than jump in a D - the balance of the D saddle is wrong for jumping. I only ride (and compete) my BN horse in a jump saddle. I have a D but he doesn't like it, so I don't use it at all.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        One of my favorite saddles was a Crosby Mark VII all purpose saddle. Seat not too deep or too shallow, plain flap, no knee or thigh blocks. You could put your stirrups at any length and be balanced. It was awesome, and I wish I never sold it.

                                        My suggestions of what to look for in a good all-purpose saddle (in addition to fitting you and the horse):

                                        -Minimal knee/thigh blocks, or if they are larger, they should be velcro/movable. (Large blocks positioned for dressage will not be good for jumping and vice versa, so you need be able to move or remove them, or not have them at all).

                                        -Seat not too deep nor too flat.

                                        -Stirrup bars positioned close to the deepest part of the seat (not too far forward or you will struggle to balance over them...that only works for jumping, and IMHO is still not all that great for jumping).

                                        When you are trying one, ride in it without your stirrups and see where your leg hangs most comforably. If your legs hang fairly straight from your hips, you should be ok. Even a little forward will be OK. If you sit in the saddle and find that you are needing to keep a lot of bend in your knee, you probably wont' be comfortable riding in that saddle with a longer stirrup.

                                        I like AP saddles. I think most jumping saddles have too-forward flaps, designed for big jumps when probably 85% of riders are jumping 2'6" or less. I'd say they're just not overly specialized.

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