Using dressage saddle on young horse? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 9 Old 05-14-2013, 02:47 AM Thread Starter
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Using dressage saddle on young horse?

I have been riding my 4 yr old OTTB in my close contact jumping saddle. He has been off the track about 7-8 months now and I started looking for a dressage saddle, mainly because I think the shape/seat will assist in the issues I sometimes have with my legs (misaligned disc in lower back sometimes causing my leg(s) to go slightly numb). We are also mainly doing flat work right now (has been started over fences, but he goes over fences very rarely). I tried one saddle out but did not like it, so I found one on Ebay for cheap that I know I will like better, so hopefully it fits my boy (if not I will resell it). Today, somebody told me that using a dressage saddle on a young horse wasn't good because of their backs (needing enough muscle for a "full seat").

Does anybody agree/disagree with this statement? I was told before that it wasn't wise to ride greenies in a dressage saddle because if they act up you can't get up out of the saddle to handle the situation, but never because of their back. He is sane enough to ride in a dressage saddle, but I obviously don't want to hurt him in the process.

I, personally, don't think the saddle I bought has a terribly deep seat (Crosby Freestyle), but wanted to get other's opinions as to the statement I was told today.
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-14-2013, 03:46 AM
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Nope never heard of it.

I can't see how a dressage saddle is any worse for thier backs than a GP or jumping saddle.

Infact I'm not sure why you would want to get up out of a saddle to deal with a misbehaving horse? I find that when a horse is playing up sitting deep and pushing forwards normaly sorts it out.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-14-2013, 04:03 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by faye View Post
Nope never heard of it.

I can't see how a dressage saddle is any worse for thier backs than a GP or jumping saddle.

Infact I'm not sure why you would want to get up out of a saddle to deal with a misbehaving horse? I find that when a horse is playing up sitting deep and pushing forwards normaly sorts it out.
I completely agree. When a horse does misbehave or gets silly, I sit deep, not "perch" myself for the ride (what has been previously implied to do by other's making that statement). My boy hasn't bucked, reared, crow-hopped, etc. He does sometimes still have a "racing" mindset, but he is otherwise very sane under saddle.

In terms of the saddle, I would more so think it is the rider who could do any damage, not the saddle.

Thanks for your input!
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-14-2013, 04:15 AM
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My boy has done everything bar turn himself inside out over the course of his long rehab/breaking.
Sitting deep, pushing forwards and riding it out normaly sorts him. If you perch on him it panics him more and you are more vulnerable to being unseated.

RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT

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post #5 of 9 Old 05-14-2013, 04:34 AM
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Agree with Faye.. NEVER heard of this.

I think it depends on the horse and what the rider is more comfortable in.
In some instances you may want to help the horse out in say a green canter by taking some more weight in to your stirrups so they have their backs and can stretch... but all in all I love having my dressage saddle on my youngster. He has never put a foot wrong, but if he did I would be able to sit tight and firm!
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-14-2013, 04:55 AM
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I ride my breaker in a dressage saddle. Occasionally I'll put my jumping saddle on her if I want to let her open out her canter, but more often, I'm in the dressage.

First couple of rides I was actually in my jumping saddle on her because my dressage saddle is almost impossible to fall out of and I wanted to be able to be thrown rather than end up sandwiched between my horse and the ground. Just in case. But very soon I ended up in my dressage saddle because she showed me she wasn't going to throw THAT big of a hissy fit.

Sigh. In the horse world, everybody has an opinion.

EDIT; I'll add that my breaker is a 2 1/2 year old TB filly... hot and sensitive, yet I ride her on the roads alone quite happily, never an issue. I've even done it bareback and she is incredibly slippery!

A CLEAN SLATE FOR THE FUTURE

Last edited by blue eyed pony; 05-14-2013 at 04:57 AM.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-14-2013, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the input everybody!

I was riding one 3 yr old OTTB in a dressage saddle until I lost access to the saddle (I was borrowing it and the owner wanted it back), and had no issues. From then until he was sold, I worked him in his owner's jumping saddle. I more recently rode another young OTTB in my close contact, and as I mentioned, have been riding my boy in the close contact.

There is nothing wrong with my close contact (love the ability to feel his sides--one reason I returned the dressage saddle I was trying out!), but I do feel that a tad deeper seat, the ability to have a longer leg, and be able to better keep my leg under me will help out a lot with my leg issue, in addition to his training/my riding.

I was a little put off and baffled when I was told this about "no dressage saddles for young horses", especially since the person who told me has a 5 yr old OTTB and does dressage, so always uses a dressage saddle. Granted, her horse has been off the track and in "real" work longer than my boy, but still...

I could see this viewpoint if it were a beginner rider who slams down in the saddle (deeper seat making the issue worse), but I am not a newbie and do not bounce around like a sack of potatoes.

The saddle I tried out had a deeper seat and had knee rolls too big for my liking. Here is the saddle I just bought. It should be here on Friday!


Last edited by LostDragonflyWings; 05-14-2013 at 05:24 AM.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-14-2013, 06:51 AM
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Todays dressage saddles however tend to have extended points and heavily padded knee roles, which make them difficult to fit the constantly changeing (behind the shoulders) and developign area.

I have only ridden youngsters in my dressage saddle (but it has no extended points,and four billet straps), so it conforms to all horses w/o pinching and allows for their developing of muscles behind the shoulder which is so great in the first three months.

JUst because one is riding in a dressage saddle does not mean they cannot be in a 'light seat' (seated but ifv). If someone is saying that, they are likely newbies.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-23-2013, 12:20 AM
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I ride my greenie in a dressage and it has really helped us.

The longer flap allows me to wrap my legs around her better and use my calves more (she is VERY narrow so it's hard to have leg contact).

Like someone else said, while I prefer deep-seated riding, I can easily go into half seat or two point when needed.

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