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catsandhorses 11-25-2011 04:35 AM

Eventers - how many saddles? what about bridles?
Hi there, I'm in the process of researching what'll I'll need beyond the horse to get in to eventing. Saddles are obviously a major expense. I suppose I'll need at least 2: one for jumping and one for dressage? Would you have a third for XC? Or do you have show saddles and then your schooling saddles? Would you just use one general purpose saddle for all 3 disciplines until you reached a certain level that required a proper dressage and jumping saddle?

I don't think I'd be interested in one of the less expensive synthetic saddles. For one I'll be living in the desert and I think that leather would hold up better than synthetic in the heat (though I could be wrong about this). For another: personal preference.

As for bridles, would I need different bridles and types of bits? Are the noseband and martingale requirements different for each discipline?

If there is an online resourse that answeres all these questions feel free to direct me there rather than taking the time to answer all my q's! I'd just feel better showing up to an eventing barn with some knowledge under my belt rather than having to rely on my instructor to teach me all the "little" things!


maura 11-25-2011 05:28 AM

Hi, cats!

Starting out at low level events it is perfectly fine to use a general purpose saddle for all three phases. You will probably want a separate bridle for dressage even very early on; most folks will want a different bit for dressage than they do for xc or sj and having separate bridles makes this easier.

Next step would be to find a dressage saddle. Finding the correct one is hard, but once you do, it is a joy.

I evented up to Training level in VERY flat no knee roll at all close contact saddle for both the xc and sj (my old show hunter habits died hard;) after that I found a deeper seated saddle with knee and thigh blocks for xc and kept the close contact for stadium.

It's really a matter of personal preference and budget. I certainly wouldn't go out and buy a lot of new tack before your first event or even necessarily before your first season. Go slow and figure out exactly what you need/want.

I'm a bit confused as to your location - your profile says Ireland but you mention riding in the desert? Will you be competing in the US?

If so, here's a link to the USEA's rule book that will answer most of the rest of your questions:

RedTree 11-25-2011 06:05 AM

I compete low levels and use my all purpose for all 3 stages :)
Also use the same bridle and bit combination.
Although I have recently brought a PVC bridle which I'm pretty sure I can use in XC, will be better then usually my leather so it doesn't get wet

I think it might depend on your horse on what works better with the bits, maybe there really strong cross country so you need a stronger bit.
I just ride my horse in a normal snaffle, the rules really confuse me sometimes
so I don't really get into them that much.

It might help if you look up your local equestrain assocication whether it be the Pony Club or another equerstrian association and look up the rules

Allison Finch 11-25-2011 08:13 AM

One all purpose saddle will be OK for the lower levels, but it is really helpful to have a dressage saddle and jumping saddle. I have three saddles when I event. A dressage saddle, and very forward flap and padded knee/thigh XC saddle and a close contact, as in NO knee padding, stadium saddle.

eventerdrew 11-25-2011 11:09 AM

I have a dressage saddle and jumping saddle but only have one bridle. I have a two toned saddle which allows me to compete in whatever color I want as far as bridles go so I just use the same one. My mare uses the same bit.

equiniphile 11-25-2011 11:28 AM

I don't compete in eventing, but I do a lot of schooling for it. I use the same jumping saddle for both cross country and show jumping. As for bridles, I have a beautiful Wylde Jumper Bridle (no one carries them anymore, but they are of exceptional quality!) that I use for XC nd SJ, and a plain black bridle for dressage. I interchange the bits as my jumper goes fine on a plain snaffle.

VanillaBean 11-25-2011 01:31 PM

I use a Wintec Close Contact for all 3 phases. I use 1 bridle and 3 bits. My bridle is easy to change, so there is no need for more than one bridle, IMO.

I would like a dressage saddle, but that's a money issue, so I don't worry about it.

Good luck in your eventing!

MudPaint 11-25-2011 04:55 PM

I currently use just one saddle .. Stubben VSG... an old school one at that. Darn thing is older (and prettier) than I am. It is my go to saddle over fences. As long as it continues to fit my beast I'll never part with it.

I'm moving up to Novice and am finding the need for a dressage saddle more and more. My current saddle doesn't work as well with a long leg and I have issues not reverting back to my old Hunter habits with my seat.

As far as bridles... if you need more than one bit, it will be so much easier if you have separate bridles. If you can't afford separate bridles, go for one that has a buckle rather than a screw or the hook thingy so it's easy to change out. Nothing like trying to change a bit out with sweaty hands.

Frankiee 11-26-2011 09:47 AM

I just started out so i have my all porpase saddle for all 3!! love it :) and one bridle for all 3 also.

catsandhorses 11-26-2011 12:29 PM

OK, thanks everyone! This is great news. I have a GP saddle now which I use for XC and my jumping lessons and is sounds like it should pull me through the beginning level until I figure out what I want/need. That is assuming it fits my next horse! Sorry for the confusion over the "desert climate in Ireland" bit...I'm moving from Ireland back to the U.S. in a couple months.

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