Saddle Help

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Saddle Help

This is a discussion on Saddle Help within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    02-17-2010, 05:47 PM
Saddle Help

Hi Dressage folks

I have been taking some dressage lessons on Maddy and have been using all my hunter tack. I want to invest in a dressage saddle but have like an under $300 budget. I have no idea what are and aren't good brands or anything actually about dressage saddles...

So any advice or ideas would be helpful!

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    02-17-2010, 07:15 PM
Have you looked at used saddles yet? Outside of my city, there's a really awesome place called the Tack Collector, and you can sometimes find lightly used saddles for half-off! There might be a place like this where you are living, and I'm pretty sure your local tack stores may even have used saddles.
Sometimes they also offer package deals; I got my Mondego (relatively expensive brand!) saddle along with a set of stirrups and leathers, a bridle with reins, and a D-Ring snaffle all for only $1800. It fits well on just about any average horse I put it on, with the right padding.

If your budget is only $300, you might have to go the synthetic route. I've never seen even a used leather dressage saddle (unless it's absolutely craptacular) under $500. But some Wintecs are relatively comfortable, and I've even seen brand new ones for $200. I still don't think I'd ever buy one myself; leather lasts a decade if cleaned and cared for properly. Synthetic... not so much.

I don't generally shop by brand, so I can't help you there! Generally, the more expensives saddles are the more quality and comfy saddles, but you can still find a cheaper saddle that is functional. Find something that fits your liking; there's lot's of different styles and shapes of leg flaps, and decide if you need leg blocks (prices can get higher, though). Seat size and fit is important.
When you sit in a dressage saddle, it should fit something like this (notice the position of the knees, and the dimensions of the seat compared to the rider). Have a friend take pictures, and listen to what you body is saying to you!
And, of course, it must fit your horse! You're shopping for two here! You best bet is to have your trainer or a professional check the fit and see if it's putting any pressure on his back. Generally, you can manipulate it with half pads, etcetera, if there isn't enough wither clearance or if it puts pressure on places.

Make sure you are able to return the saddle if it doesn't work out.

Oh, and I'd also recommend looking for one that has a straight/backward curving flap, rather than a forward-set flap. It can change your leg position dramatically, and makes you work harder to get a good should-hip-heel line.
    02-17-2010, 07:19 PM
Thank you!

Yes we do have a good used tack store that I will be visiting, I just wanted to ask what I should be looking for.

    02-17-2010, 09:43 PM
A good dressage saddle is in the eye of the beholder. One person may love a saddle, while the next may hate it. I can tell you to go out and buy a County or Crosby, and you may hate them. The saddle must fit you, and must fit your horse. Who cares what brand it is.
    02-17-2010, 10:44 PM
Thanks ... I plan to go sit in a bunch but wanted some pointers.
    02-17-2010, 11:07 PM
We can just give you general pointers really ;)
Try to get a chance to ride in the saddle on your horse. If you feel 'locked' into it, it's not the saddle for you. You want to be in control of your own position, without being forced into it. A saddle that forces you into a position may be ok if you're willing to just be a passenger on the horse, but to be able to really ride you need to be able to move around of your own accord, with the saddle there simply to support you.

You should feel comfortable in it, without being forced basically :)
    02-18-2010, 12:26 AM
Rightio ... So I guess I should have been confident on my own knowledge
    02-18-2010, 04:06 AM
For sure :)
Saddle's are such a personal decision. You can't really take advice. Unless you are seeking advice on how a saddle wears, or fit on a horse (as there are some saddle that just will not fit certain builds of horse) then it is all about how you feel in the saddle and how your horse travels in it.
    02-18-2010, 12:11 PM
Sounds good- thanks! :)

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