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All purpose saddle vs jumping saddle

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  • All purpose saddle vs jumping saddle

    Hi, this is my very first time venturing into this forum, because, well, I don't jump; or rather, I did not jump until about umm three days ago, literally, so please forgive me if I appear ignorant, because, well, I am

    Short story about me: I'm a dressage rider who also rides hunt seat on the flat from time to time. I never jumped because I thought it looked a bit, well, scary. About a week ago, it suddenly occured to me that my Africa Safari trip was looming very very close (early December). I thought I had better get my butt over some jumps before I'm forced to jump in open plain on strange horses.

    I contacted my good friend and trainer to put a crash course on me. She put me on a point-and-shoot horse and yesterday was my very second jumping lesson; and wow, what a rush! We finished yesterday's lesson with two verticals of approximately 18 inches. I was bubbling all evening driving my husband nut after my lesson.

    Anyway, I had such a good time that I thought I might just continue doing some jumpings. So now come the question:

    I have one hunt saddle (Barnsby all purpose). I know that they are fine for lower jumps and I will probably need a jump saddle for bigger jumps. But how big is too big before a jump saddle is needed? Obviously I prefer not to invest another saddle if I don't have too.

    Thank you all for your input.

  • #2
    Well, I'm going to take a chance here. I have read enough on COTH to know that most people don't like all-purpose saddles. People will tell you that they put the rider in a chair seat, that they are really "no-purpose" saddles, etc.

    I have ridden in an all-purpose Stubben for years, and I love mine. I have jumped cross-country courses in it as well as 3'6" stadium courses. It's comfortable, and I feel very secure in it. I don't think there is any need for you to go shopping for a jumping saddle at this point...and depending on how far you get, maybe never.

    I am not familiar with the Barnsby, but if it has a fairly forward flap, you will be perfectly fine jumping in it.
    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


    • #3
      There used to be only two types of saddles: jumping aka AP, and dressage saddles. An AP saddle can be used for any height of fence (and I have jumped up to 3'6" in my dressage saddle (no knee rolls type) and up 5'6" in an AP). You do not need a different saddle, learn how to ride in the one you have imho. Chair seats are bad alignment (fixed knees/pushing too much weight in heels) not the fault of a saddle.
      I.D.E.A. yoda


      • #4
        Your AP saddle is fine for jumping, have fun.


        • Original Poster

          Hi Dewey, ideayoda, and BAC

          Thank you for the info. I doubt very very seriously I will ever get to 3'6", let along a 5'+ That is almost as tall as I am lol. I think I will be very thrilled reaching 3'.

          This is my AP saddle http://www.barnsby.com/products/sadd...le/default.asp

          Very interesting you both mention chair seat. I didn't realize it's "bad" for jumpers (it is certainly bad for dressage). Um maybe my idea of chair seat is different from jumpers' chair seat. When you say chair seat, are you talking about your feet ahead of you when you are sitting in the saddle, or when you are on two points/half seat?

          And I thought you need to have your heels down for jumping?


          • #6
            A proper seat (when seated) is ear/shoulder/hip/back of heel in alignment. A chair seat happens when riders are sitting more on their pockets, push so much weight into the heels/etc that the legs are in front of them.

            Yes, the heels are 'feathered' lower (as part of an elastic spring of hip/knee/heel), but they are NOT locked lower. That elastic spring is necessary for jumping (esp landing).
            I.D.E.A. yoda


            • #7
              I think that saddle looks fine for jumping. I think you will find that you may want a different saddle for jumping at some point but who knows. Having ridden In a close contact ( jumping saddle) most of my riding life I would feel very wierd riding in an all purpose but your saddle looks like it would do fine for what you currently want to do.


              • #8
                That is a nice-looking saddle, Gloria. It looks very secure and appropriate for jumping. IMO, you won't need to shop for anything else unless you aspire to do A-level hunters where fashion matters.
                I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


                • Original Poster

                  Yay thank you!!! I love this saddle, and feels very secure in it My husband won't be in a happy camper if I try to sneak in another saddle after just ordering another dressage saddle.


                  • #10
                    Barnsby is a very well respected saddle maker too, if you're happy keep it.


                    • #11
                      I learned to ride and jump small stuff in a Stubben AP so another vote for you're fine. If you decide that you want jumping to be your main discipline, you might decide you want something a little different but until then, don't worry about it!

                      And yay on the good lessons! Nothing makes me smile harder than a really awesome jumping lesson.


                      • #12
                        Can we ever have too many saddles? LOL. I totally understand your point, though. Darn budgets. Anyhow, you will find that many - dare I say most - h/j people do not ride in AP saddles. I did for a very short time, and hated it. Of course, it was a cheap poorly balanced one. It did put me in a chair seat (with my legs too far in front of my hips) and really caused me to fight position. If your AP saddle is welll balanced, you will probably be fine for quite a while. if it works, use it!
                        A proud friend of bar.ka.


                        • #13
                          I think at this point, your AP is completely fine. If you decide to get serious about jumping (showing, doing it more often), then I would probably get a close contact. I rode in an AP for a long time and after sitting in a CC, I never wanted to go back! haha Good luck!
                          "Many are riders; many are craftsmen; but few are artists on horseback."
                          ~George Morris


                          • Original Poster

                            hahaha. It is such an addition to collect more and more saddles. Actually I just sold two dressage saddles (one albion and the other county). The sad thing is the collected fund from the two saddles won't pay for the new saddle I just ordered. oh well...

                            I was just sitting on my desk reading posts instead of working like I'm supposed to, and popped open a fortune cookie (went to a small chinese restaurant). Imagine my guilty conscience while I threw the cookie in my mouth, and read the little note:

                            "You shouldn't overspend at the moment. Frugality is important."

                            I guess someone (or something) is speaking and I had better listen.


                            • Original Poster

                              Is Close Contact = Jumping saddle?


                              • #16
                                I think you're fine. I am contemplating an all-purpose saddle too - because I'm having abdominal surgery, and after I recover I think I want something deeper. I don't jump anything over like 2'6" at best, so I figure for what I want to do (dressage,trail riding, itty bitty) it might be a good choice.

                                From my understanding, Barnsbys are fantastic saddles. If I could find one in my price range in good condition I'd snatch it up.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Gloria View Post
                                  Is Close Contact = Jumping saddle?
                                  Well, sort of. In my day, the term "close contact" saddle meant a flat saddle such as the Crosby Prix des Nations, which today is referred to as a "pancake" saddle. It was characterized by a fairly flat, hard seat and flat flaps with no knee rolls or padding. It was "the" saddle for jumping and showing, and was very popular even with Grand Prix jumper riders.

                                  Nowadays, the typical "close contact" saddle has a softer seat than the old pancake saddles and usually a padded flap at the knee with a pencil knee roll or small knee block. It still has a flatter seat and offers a closer feel than a typical A/P, though, and is the saddle of choice for most show hunter and equitation riders and some jumper riders.

                                  The term "jumping saddle" includes the close contacts, but also includes a range of other saddles such as the monoflap favored by a lot of eventers and various cross-country and jumping models with a typically deeper seat.
                                  I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


                                  • #18
                                    Based on your description, I don't think you need to buy another saddle. But I am far from an expert.

                                    I rode in an A/P -- Stubben Scandica VSD -- for the first 18 months or so when I first started riding again after a long (and by long I mean 18 year) break. I love that saddle, and I'll never sell it. It's comfortbale, fits a good range of horses with its 31 cm tree, and it works for lots of things (flat work, my level of jumps and hacking around).

                                    That being said, I ordered a customized County Conquest (close contact) shortly after buying my horse, and I **really love** it. It has done wonders for both my horse's movement and my position. Among the many benefits, I am better balanced, in general and in two point.

                                    But if I had not bought a horse, I would have been completely fine staying with the Stubben. I don't jump 2'6" yet (that's the goal), but I think the Stubben would be OK at that height.
                                    Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.... ~ Emerson