All purpose or CC? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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All purpose or CC?

I have always ridden bareback or western but the other day I rode my daughters horse in a borrowed english saddle and had lots of fun so I think I might look for a used one. I am completely new to english riding and plan on taking some lessons however I really won't be doing too much riding, maybe once or twice a week. The riding I will be doing will be in the arena (no jumping) and eventually some trail riding.

What are the differences between an all purpose and close contact saddle? What might be best for me?
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 11:40 AM
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CCs are nice, but if you're not going to be doing any jumping or intense riding, an AP will work too.

With an AP you can do a little of everything, which is why they're made.

It really depends on what you find most comfortable. I'd say sit in several different makes, models and types, and whichever one you prefer and fits the horse, is the one you'll be most happy with.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 11:47 AM
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My theory is that an AP saddle is not good for anything. It is an attempt to make a saddle that works for everything and because of that it does not work well for anything.
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 11:53 AM
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Yeah, I've heard that silly saying: "all purpose means no purpose".

My Wintec 2000 is an AP. I love it, and so does my trainer.
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 11:55 AM
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OP, I think this is a perfect example of you need to find what works for you. What others like is not always what you will like.

I too had a Wintec AP. I bought it so friends who did not have a saddle could ride my second horse.

I hated it. And so did everyone who came to ride. I finally sold it. No reason to keep a useless saddle around.

I do own another Wintec (endurance) and love that one.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 01:48 PM
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I've ridden lots in dressage, all purpose and (to a lesser extant) close contact saddles, and have coached several beginners. I agree that there is a "right saddle for the right job", and I wouldn't dream of jumping a 4 ft course in a dressage saddle, and I wouldn't look forward to trying to ride advanced dressage in a close contact saddle (you could, but it woudn't be very comfortable). That being said, I think that there actually is a place for an all purpose saddle. I have found them to be very useful for introducing some horses to both dressage and small jumps, and for taking out on trail rides. I have also found them useful for beginners, both for basic dressage and going over small jumps.

I have ridden in many higher-end saddles (I have two Passiers, and I love them!), but dollar for dollar, I really like the Wintec saddles. Of course the most important thing is that the saddle needs to fit both you (note that English and Wetsern seat sizing is different) and your horse. That being said, for starting English riding, and going out on trails, I would highly recommend the Wintec 500 or the Wintec 2000, both all purpose saddles. You can also customize the saddle a bit by changing the knee blocks (they come with a set)/ thigh blocks (you have to order those), and by changing the gullet size to suit the horse. They don't necessarily work for everyone, but I have had really great experiences with them. They are also relatively inexpensive, and often much nicer saddles for the price than you'd be able to get in a leather saddle. If you later specialize, then you can get a saddle specific to one discipline. You could also try the Wintec Pro Dressage or the Wintec 500 Dressage. I know that it is a Dressage saddle, but the seat is very similar to the all purpose, and it allows you to rise with a slightly longer leg than the all purpose, but also accommodates a shorter leg. Don't be afraid of the fact that it is a dressage saddle. A friend of mine that I coach has a Wintec Pro dressage, and basically just trail rides with it (sometimes up a mountain), does some flat work, and occasionally goes over the odd small jump/cavalletti (less than 2ft, any bigger and she'd need a different saddle), and absolutely loves the saddle. That being said, I'd try an all purpose first.

I completely agree with Speed Racer, that the best thing you can do is ride in several different saddles and see what works best for you and your horse. Alwaydbehind has a great point that what works for one person may not work for another. I would add, that when you have found one that you like, if possible before you buy it, you might want to have a lesson in it to get a second opinion. You want to make sure that the saddle will help you ride better and isn't encouraging you do to anything that isn't helping you do that.
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xhaltsalute View Post
I would add, that when you have found one that you like, if possible before you buy it, you might want to have a lesson in it to get a second opinion. You want to make sure that the saddle will help you ride better and isn't encouraging you do to anything that isn't helping you do that.
Very good point!

Some saddles just put you in the totally wrong position. They may feel comfortable at first but in the long run they lead to you fighting to get yourself situated correctly.
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Alwaysbehind View Post
My theory is that an AP saddle is not good for anything. It is an attempt to make a saddle that works for everything and because of that it does not work well for anything.
Agreed. I hate all purpose saddles. BUT, I also hate the new Isabelle dressage saddles, and tons of people just love them, haha. I have a close contact, and I find I can do flatwork as well as jumping in it easily. I would try to sit in as many as possible. Go to the local tack or tack consignment shop and sit in a few. When you find one you like, you can then begin looking for one similar in your price range. It will also help you figure out what size seat you need if you aren't already sure. =]

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Please bear with me as I've never purchased a saddle before...

How do I ride in different saddles - I'm assuming that I can't borrow or return used ones. Will I get a good representation if I just sit in the saddle in someone's garage? Other than comfort what should I look for?

Here's a little more background information on me and my riding level:
I would classify myself as a someone who rode a lot in her younger years and is now getting back into it but at a very limited level with my 9-year old daughters horse. In other words she'll be doing most of the riding (in her own saddle) and I'm looking at probably once a week or so.
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 02:17 PM
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Do you board your horse? Do you have take lessons?

Both great places to try different saddles.
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