Brown v Black (Dressage saddle question) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 02-19-2011, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Brown v Black (Dressage saddle question)

Hello all! I'm relatively new to the forum, so I hope I placed this in the correct section. My question is this: I'm on the hunt for a dressage saddle and was wondering what the consensus (if there is one) is on brown saddles vs black. I have been told that both are equally acceptable in the show ring and you can't be marked off for having a brown saddle, but I have only seen black. Do you have an opinion and if so why? Or is it completely irrelevant within the discipline?
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post #2 of 32 Old 02-20-2011, 12:08 AM
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As long as your bridle and saddle are the same color, all are fine.
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post #3 of 32 Old 02-20-2011, 12:33 AM
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I think black is the more modern color. But I personally like the look of brown dressage saddles - it's very ' old English ' looking, which I've always been a fan of. As far as matching, based on the tack stores around my place, it's easier to find a black 'dressage' bridle ( padded, crank nose band, etc.) than a brown one.
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post #4 of 32 Old 02-20-2011, 12:44 AM
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You don't get marked on your colour of tack in dressage - remember its not showing, dressage judges look at your horses training not how 'pretty' it is.
In saying that, it's always good to be turned out nicely, - first impressions do mean a lot!
If you get brown tack, make sure it's on a colour horse that suits it, brown looks terrible on some horses!
Personally I'm a fan of black for dressage, it looks classier and is a more traditional colour
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post #5 of 32 Old 02-20-2011, 01:22 AM
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Black is the "in" color, but I love me a brown dressage saddle/bridle combo. Love.

The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography
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post #6 of 32 Old 02-20-2011, 06:52 AM
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"as long as the bridle and saddle are the same color"

Nope. Absolutely nope.

"black is the more modern color"

Absolutely not.

Brown, actually, is quite fashionable and has been for a good many years - as long as I've been into dressage - over 40 years in fact. People tend to like colors that go with their horse. And for example brown can look lovely on a horse with brown tones in its coat.

No rule says ANYTHING about tack color specifically, and judges, in book after book, article after article, seminar after seminar, clinic afer clinic, have stressed again and again to the point of practically pulling out their hair and screaming, that dressage is not a tack or beauty contest - they do not care if your bridle and saddle are same color, if brown, if black - NOTHING.

Buy the saddle color you like. That's all there is to it. Have a brown saddle, black bridle, brown jacket, WHATEV...these guys simply DO NOT CARE - in fact, they have gone to great lengths to say that you will place based on your riding and training.

In fact the judges are very, very adamant that they NEVER want dressage to be a beauty or tack contest, not in the least little tiny way.

People often say, 'well well, you know, it makes an impression, and even the judges themselves don't realize it affects their judging'. Baloney. Exactly the opposite. The judges go out of their way to not have it affect their judging.

The rules for dressage tack and bitting and even rider clothing are very, very vague and general.

I would not go out there and try to break the rules that are there in some completely outrageous way, but the rules are few and very, very simple.

And I'd also suggest you follow the general trends out there that aren't included in the actual rules, just so you do not feel out of place when you go to compete.

I would suggest you very, very much go out of your way NOT to arrive in the ring with a filthy horse and dirty tack, and that you clean your boots off and don't appear in the ring as if you have no respect for the judge, the sport, yourself or your horse.

But even the general trends, that are not in the rules, are very, vey simple - and people compete in brown saddles, and in brown bridles with black saddles, and black bridles with brown saddles - ALL THE TIME.

Your personal taste may be that you like or don't like certain colors or combinations, but that has nothing to do with how you will be judged.

The take home point is that dressage judging simply is not about fashion issues!!!

Last edited by slc; 02-20-2011 at 07:00 AM.
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post #7 of 32 Old 02-20-2011, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by JustDressageIt View Post
Black is the "in" color, but I love me a brown dressage saddle/bridle combo. Love.
I agree, black is the normal color you see in the dressage world. I barely ever see brown, as a matter of fact, to be honest, I've never seen brown.

I don't even see brown tack sold in the dressage sections of online tack stores *Dover, SmartPak, Bit Of Britain, etc, etc* or in Catalogues.


The take home point is that dressage judging simply is not about fashion issues!!!
Couldn't you of just said that in the first place?

SLC - I would love to see pictures or video's of you riding.

Last edited by MIEventer; 02-20-2011 at 10:08 AM.
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post #8 of 32 Old 02-20-2011, 10:14 AM
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I most often see black (agreeing that it is the trend) but if you really like brown, or you find a brown saddle that fits your horse and you, and is within your budget range? Go for it. You'll be sitting on it anyways, so the judge and others won't get to see much of it at all. Good luck!

MIEventer- What does SLC's riding have to do with anything?
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post #9 of 32 Old 02-20-2011, 10:26 AM
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Actually, I've seen all variations of brown in the upper levels - from Havana to caramel - I love the look of caramel colored tack. Caramel? Oakbark? I can never keep the darn names straight. Light brown, tan. Whatever flavor you want to call that.
MIE, I don't understand what SLC'a riding has to do with her post ...
I'll try and find some images when I get on my computer.
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post #10 of 32 Old 02-20-2011, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by horseluver2435 View Post

MIEventer- What does SLC's riding have to do with anything?
I would love to see what her tack color choices are but knowing from previous history there are no pictures of her ever on a horse.
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dressage saddle color

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