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jingojewel 06-09-2012 12:24 PM

Buying my first English saddle- help??
Hi, Ive ridden western all my life and I've decided to take a leap and learn English! I'm taking my horse out on Sunday and trying out a couple saddles to make sure I find one that fits me and her, but I've never ridden English before (well,once). I just had a couple questions, hoping someone here can help out!

How long do I let the stirrups out to? What is the proper posture for English, to help me keep my seat? And what's a good way to transition my horse into English? I'm looking for more communication between us, as right now she has been off for two years due to a pregnancy, and then she got an abcess and was lame. She's a pretty hot horse though, and quite often wants to just run, and that's it.. Thanks!
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Golden Horse 06-09-2012 12:32 PM

For general schooling in English, set up your stirrups so that when you are sat in the saddle with your legs just hanging, the bottom of the stirrup irons hit you just below the ankle bone, that is your start point, then you can adjust by a hole or two for comfort.

If you are riding dressage the aim is to ride a little longer, bit if you are jumping you will be taking them up a couple og holes from your normal schooling position.

For the transition, seeing as it is new to both of you, please invest in a couple of lessons with a trainer, that time and money will set you up better than 100 pages of responses on a board like this.

Good luck, hope to see pics of your progress

jingojewel 06-09-2012 12:38 PM

Thanks for the advice! I am planning on taking some lessons, I just have to find out if my local barn does them, or if I have to drive an hour. I think it would good to have someone there to actually tell me when I'm doing it wrong!
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tinyliny 06-09-2012 01:47 PM

If your horse is rusty, and you havn't ridden her much, personally, I would stay in whatever saddle is familiar to YOU, so that you are secure in your position. Why? Becuase you have less to think about as you hone your communication through the rein and leg aids. You can get your mare super responsive in a western saddle, and let her run for some if she likes. You won't be insecure about your seat, and will be better able to guide her in whatever you plan to do.

Once she is tuned up, then put the English saddle on. I am not saying don't buy one. I adore rding English. But, for retuning her, stick with the tried and true.

jingojewel 06-09-2012 02:05 PM

I've been riding her this spring already, she's doing very good for her time off. She was rather stiff on her left side when I ask her to bend, but she just had her teeth done yesterday and the vet thinks that was a big part of the problem. I don't think she's ever had her teeth done, as we pulled two huge wolf teeth out. She's 11. Also, a little off topic question, when asking for a turn, would you cue with your inside or outside leg? I was always taught to tap with the inside, but I've heard alot of people saying it's the other way around.
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freia 06-10-2012 06:34 PM

Another first estimate for the stirrup length is to stand on the ground with your arm straight out stretched in front of you. Put your fingertips at the stirrup-bar. Pull the stirrup tight along your arm, and have it adjusted so the end of the iron sits in your armpit. From there, you're going up or down a hole or two depending on the discipline and saddle.

The leg-cue for a left turn is to place some left leg-pressure near the girth for the horse to bend itself around. You don't tap in English. Just pressure and release. If/when the hind end begins to flip to the outside of the turn (the horse isn't bending its body properly), then apply some pressure behind the girth with your right leg to push the hind end back in and make a nice bend. Leg cues need to be accompanied by pressure-changes in your hip and pubic bones and joints as well that naturally occur as you look to where you want to go and subtly shift your weight as you apply some pressure on the ball of your left foot (for a left-turn). No leaning. Just shifting your weight and position slightly. The horse can feel that through a good saddle.
Even a few lessons just to get the jist of it will save you a lot of time and frustration. You'll have a few a-ha moments that will make the transition much easier for you.
And enjoy!

jingojewel 06-10-2012 07:44 PM

Thanks! I bought the saddle today, it's a stubben Cavalleria I. Another silly question, is this a jumping saddle or all purpose? I'm very happy with it either way, it's older but in great shape, and I got it, the leather and irons, and girth all for 300! It seems to fit my horse well, it's a wide tree (she's a stocky paint mare) and I can fit my hand between the pommel and her withers.
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Golden Horse 06-10-2012 08:00 PM

I think it's an all purpose model, congratulations on your purchase, I love Stubben saddles, look after it well and it will look after you:D

freia 06-10-2012 08:04 PM

Post a picture!
Good for you, just starting English and getting a good saddle to start with and not testing the waters with a piece of junk.
If it fits you and the horse, you shouldn't go too wrong with a Stubben. I think there are a couple different models of the Cavalleria. If it's the one I think it is, it should be a fairly forward A/P, but post a picture so we can all chime in for sure.
And post a picture so we can all drool a little. Ooooo, Ahhhhhhh.

jingojewel 06-10-2012 08:22 PM

I will post a picture a little later when I get a chance for sure! I wanted to get a good saddle, no point in buying a piece of junk. I was a little overwhelmed when I got there though, she's a saddle collector selling over 60 saddles, and I had no idea where to start! I knew stubben was a good brand though, and that was my starting point ;)
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