Can someone please explain the difference between types of saddles - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-21-2008, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
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Question Can someone please explain the difference between types of saddles

I mean hunter verses jumper verses eventing...deep seat, close contact...I want to buy one since I am leasing a horse and the saddle I'm using now belongs to the barn. There will be times when I go to ride and the saddle is being used. I just don't know what kind to even look at. There are too many choices! Help please! I am jumping a little, and of course working on the flat mostly. I think I will show hunter, but I like a long leg...
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-21-2008, 10:30 AM
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Each English saddle is made to hold your body in the position that is ideal for a specific discipline.

A Dressage saddle is made to hold you in with a deep seat and a longer leg.

A Close Contact saddle is made for jumping, so the seat isn't as deep so you can lift out as you go over the fence. The flap is shorter and more round since you will have a shorter leg then a dressage rider. These days they almost all have knee rolls, which was not the case several years ago.

An All Purpose is a combo of the two, used mainly by eventers. Personally, I don't like them as they are supposed to be a combo, but don't do either discipline particularly well. But most people can't afford a good dressage saddle and a good jumping saddle.

Within those categories you can often choose more options. For example, certain CC brands will offer a deeper or a flatter seat. Certain brands will offer different forwardness of flaps (jumpers like a more forward flap because they often ride with a shorter leg then a hunter) Most brands will offer differing lengths of flaps. And also keep in mind that different brands fit different ways. A regular deep seat of a Delgrange is deeper then a Pessoa but not as deep as an Antares.

If you're going to be doing the hunters I would find a good quality (used, if money is an issue) Close contact with an extra long flap, if that's what you need. Let us know what your price range is and we can give you some good brands!
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-21-2008, 04:07 PM
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This was a good question, thank you for asking it. I have never fully understood the difference between AP and CC. On the same subject, what is the difference between a shaped saddle pad that designates itself for an AP and one that designates itself for a CC?
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post #4 of 9 Old 10-21-2008, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by IrishRider View Post
On the same subject, what is the difference between a shaped saddle pad that designates itself for an AP and one that designates itself for a CC?
Quite frankly - the shape. As upnover explained, the flaps on the AP and the CC are different so the pad is cut to match those differences.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

It's not always what you say but what they hear.
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-21-2008, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much upnover! I am still confused about the flap length though. I thought if you were short legged you need a short flap. I am only 5'2". there is a saddle online that i wanted to buy, but it had a longer flap (13.5)so i didn't...
should I put in an offer? It is a new antares new grain buffalo.
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-22-2008, 01:08 AM
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aaaahhh... antares are my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE saddles! they are amazing and i was so sad when i couldn't find a good replacement to my old one! Antares are a VERY custom saddle so they're a little unique in their sizing. You basically 'build' the saddle to your specifications when you buy them new. All of the 'sizing' is stamped in a series of letters and numbers underneath the flap so you will know how it fits. The seat size is the length from the button on the side of the pommel to the middle of the cantle but the flap length is adjusted accordingly. A size 15 saddle will have a shorter flap then a size 18. But the antares saddle, you pick what size you want, and then exactly how long of a flap you want. Your size will be determined by a combo of your length of thigh and size of your seat. So you wouldn't want an extra short flap unless you were built with a very large hind end and very short legs, does that make sense? :)

First of all, they fit small. I'm about 5"2 with average legs and normally use a 16.5, but in an antares (and most french made saddles) i'm a 17. The flap on my old saddle was a little shorter then I would have liked (it was a 0, I would have liked a 1, maybe even a 2). Because it's a very custom saddle, their shortest flaps are really quite short. I would say that 13.5 is about the length for a 16.5 saddle. What you also want to make sure is that the forwardness of the flap is what you want. Some jumpers want a super forward flap (and they have them!) and as a hunter you wouldn't wnat that. What I would do is get the numbers on the bottom of the flap, and then call antares (their number is on their website) and find out exactly what the numbers mean. Or post them on here and I can tell you if I can remember them all. (they change them periodically depending on the year) Sorry if that was information overload. My antares dealer is actually a friend of mine now! lol...

PS I LOVE the buffalo leather... so much longer lasting then the calf or grain leather.

Last edited by upnover; 10-22-2008 at 01:10 AM.
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-22-2008, 02:35 AM
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just in case you haven't heard enough from me....

i posted a pictures of the 3 types of english saddles so you can see the differences. not sure if i attached them correctly...

1. The first is an AP. The main difference is the seat. It's much deeper. The cantle generally tends to be more upright like a dressage saddle. It will hold you in a little deeper. I've noticed that often the flaps tend to be a little more forward as well, but not in this picture.

2. The 2nd is a close contact. Back in the day the CC saddles never had knee rolls, I guess so you could have more contact with your horse... I rarely see a CC these days without! Much flatter seat so it's easier to get out of when you're posting or going over a fence.

3. And the dressage saddle. Very deep seat. Very long straight flap. because dressage riders ride with a longer straighter leg and rarely need to get out of the saddle.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg AP.jpg (28.6 KB, 1259 views)
File Type: jpg Butet.jpg (13.8 KB, 1250 views)
File Type: gif dressage.gif (18.7 KB, 986 views)
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-22-2008, 07:37 AM Thread Starter
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you are sooo helpful!
Thanks so much...
here are 2 that i am looking at, but I really didn't want to spend more than $2500, but I want a nice saddle.
here is the Antares...
16.5" BRAND NEW grain buffalo ANTARES SADDLE (USO691) - eBay (item 200265169957 end time Oct-28-08 16:25:51 PDT)

and another one...
16.5" TAD COFFIN A5G SADDLE (USO753) - eBay (item 120318671888 end time Oct-25-08 06:58:41 PDT)

I 5'2" and weigh 112...I was told I need a 16.5 but still stuck on the flap. I want to be comfortable doing flat work, but really love going over the fences...
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-23-2008, 12:07 PM
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No problem!

Ooh, I love the Antares you're considering! I LOVE the buffalo. It takes a bit longer to break it but lasts so much longer then the calfskin and much grippier then the grain leather. The 2 flap might be a little long if you're 5"2. As long as the saddle puts you in a good position, the length of the flap isn't as big of a deal. Some like them short, some like them longer. But the good thing about the CWD people is that they allow for returns. If you like both of these saddles I'd buy both and keep the one you like best. I've never sat in a Tad Coffin but I"ve heard good things about them. The only thing is, there's something about them that I heard that I can't remember the details of.... something like, you have to use these leather pads to make them fit every horse (made by TC and pretty expensive). I don't remember! But I'm thinking that the big tack store around here that consigns saddles doesn't accept TC's because of it. I'd ask CWD about it. Maybe I'm way off? Not to add to your already difficult decision but I'd look into a Devoucoux as well. They fit/ride very similarly to Antares and are oh so comfortable!
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