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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! I'm relatively new to the forum, so I hope I placed this in the correct section. My question is this: I'm on the hunt for a dressage saddle and was wondering what the consensus (if there is one) is on brown saddles vs black. I have been told that both are equally acceptable in the show ring and you can't be marked off for having a brown saddle, but I have only seen black. Do you have an opinion and if so why? Or is it completely irrelevant within the discipline?
 

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I think black is the more modern color. But I personally like the look of brown dressage saddles - it's very ' old English ' looking, which I've always been a fan of. As far as matching, based on the tack stores around my place, it's easier to find a black 'dressage' bridle ( padded, crank nose band, etc.) than a brown one.
 

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You don't get marked on your colour of tack in dressage - remember its not showing, dressage judges look at your horses training not how 'pretty' it is.
In saying that, it's always good to be turned out nicely, - first impressions do mean a lot!
If you get brown tack, make sure it's on a colour horse that suits it, brown looks terrible on some horses!
Personally I'm a fan of black for dressage, it looks classier and is a more traditional colour
 

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"as long as the bridle and saddle are the same color"

Nope. Absolutely nope.

"black is the more modern color"

Absolutely not.

Brown, actually, is quite fashionable and has been for a good many years - as long as I've been into dressage - over 40 years in fact. People tend to like colors that go with their horse. And for example brown can look lovely on a horse with brown tones in its coat.

No rule says ANYTHING about tack color specifically, and judges, in book after book, article after article, seminar after seminar, clinic afer clinic, have stressed again and again to the point of practically pulling out their hair and screaming, that dressage is not a tack or beauty contest - they do not care if your bridle and saddle are same color, if brown, if black - NOTHING.

Buy the saddle color you like. That's all there is to it. Have a brown saddle, black bridle, brown jacket, WHATEV...these guys simply DO NOT CARE - in fact, they have gone to great lengths to say that you will place based on your riding and training.

In fact the judges are very, very adamant that they NEVER want dressage to be a beauty or tack contest, not in the least little tiny way.

People often say, 'well well, you know, it makes an impression, and even the judges themselves don't realize it affects their judging'. Baloney. Exactly the opposite. The judges go out of their way to not have it affect their judging.

The rules for dressage tack and bitting and even rider clothing are very, very vague and general.

I would not go out there and try to break the rules that are there in some completely outrageous way, but the rules are few and very, very simple.

And I'd also suggest you follow the general trends out there that aren't included in the actual rules, just so you do not feel out of place when you go to compete.

I would suggest you very, very much go out of your way NOT to arrive in the ring with a filthy horse and dirty tack, and that you clean your boots off and don't appear in the ring as if you have no respect for the judge, the sport, yourself or your horse.

But even the general trends, that are not in the rules, are very, vey simple - and people compete in brown saddles, and in brown bridles with black saddles, and black bridles with brown saddles - ALL THE TIME.

Your personal taste may be that you like or don't like certain colors or combinations, but that has nothing to do with how you will be judged.

The take home point is that dressage judging simply is not about fashion issues!!!
 

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Black is the "in" color, but I love me a brown dressage saddle/bridle combo. Love.
I agree, black is the normal color you see in the dressage world. I barely ever see brown, as a matter of fact, to be honest, I've never seen brown.

I don't even see brown tack sold in the dressage sections of online tack stores *Dover, SmartPak, Bit Of Britain, etc, etc* or in Catalogues.

~~~~

The take home point is that dressage judging simply is not about fashion issues!!!
Couldn't you of just said that in the first place?


SLC - I would love to see pictures or video's of you riding.
 

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I most often see black (agreeing that it is the trend) but if you really like brown, or you find a brown saddle that fits your horse and you, and is within your budget range? Go for it. You'll be sitting on it anyways, so the judge and others won't get to see much of it at all. Good luck!

MIEventer- What does SLC's riding have to do with anything?
 

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Actually, I've seen all variations of brown in the upper levels - from Havana to caramel - I love the look of caramel colored tack. Caramel? Oakbark? I can never keep the darn names straight. Light brown, tan. Whatever flavor you want to call that.
MIE, I don't understand what SLC'a riding has to do with her post ...
I'll try and find some images when I get on my computer.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

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MIEventer- What does SLC's riding have to do with anything?
I would love to see what her tack color choices are but knowing from previous history there are no pictures of her ever on a horse.
 

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I really really don't understand why it's a big deal for a person to not post pictures. Some people are picture-aholics, and others would prefer not to post pictures on a public internet forum. Dressage isn't (or rather shouldn't ever be) about fashion, it should be about the horse and rider and their training - and that's SLC's point. I don't know why she has to produce photos of herself to form this opinion.
Just a couple quick photos:
http://www.threedaysthreewaysblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Lauren-Collett-and-Quixotic1.jpg
^Lauren Collett and Quixotic 1
http://www.eurosaddlery.com/images/landing_saddles.jpg
^If anyone can tell me who that is... I want his bridle! Drool! Looks like a brown double and a black saddle?
 

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JDI- That's why I was wondering too. I post pictures very rarely, mostly under my own horse's profile, and occasionally for critique, but that's my own choice. I think it's up to the person whether they'd like to post or not.
 

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I use brown dressage tack on my pony. I don't have any current pictures of it, but I might get one today when I ride if anyone is interested to see. She's a red roan with flaxen mane and tail, and I think that she looks much better in brown tack... but that's a personal choice. Her bridle isn't technically a "dressage" bridle (you can actually see it in my avvie picture to the left), but it doesn't really need to be until we get to the upper levels with a weymouth or something.

I think most horses look great in black dressage tack, and it can be more challenging to find brown dressage tack that all matches. There's different definitions of 'brown'... all sorts of shades and whatnot. Usually when you order something in black, you can be sure that it will be BLACK, not grey. :D

PS
On an unrelated note... can anyone say 'piano hands' on that pic JDI posted of Lauren Collett?? I hope they just caught her in an odd moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks everyone for your replies. I appreciate your opinions, and it confirmed what I was told about color and judging (and that it's irrelivant in the sport)... I guess if I find something perfect in brown, I'll go with that, *bonus if it matches my bridle now and saves me a bridle purchase haha* I do like the look of black though, and think it would look good on my Mickey because some browns aren't the best on him. Thanks for the photos showing brown tack. And of course I'd love to see more :)
 

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I really like the look of the brown tack JDI posted! Very classic-looking.
As for a lighter-color brown (more like tan..?) even though it is not against the rules, I think it would clash with the black coat. Plus, I think lighter colored saddles look cheap and well, tacky ;)

But like the others said, it's not a fashion show. You won't be penelized... it's just a matter of personal preference :)
 

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Almost all older dressage saddles that I have seen for sale (older being 25+ years old) are brown. Black is a fairly new thing. I personally don't care either way. I owned a brown dressage saddle for a while and loved it. Excellent leather, and really put me in a good spot. So, I guess it would be more a matter of are you comfortable in that saddle, is your horse comfortable in that saddle, and will it do what you want.

Here was mine:



It was made by Thoroughbred Saddlery, which is no longer in business (and if you find one for sale, snatch it up!).
 

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That's right, and never will be.

No one is required to post pictures to 'prove' that people should agree with them, lol. It's an opinion and a discussion and people are free to like, dislike, agree, disagree or anything in between. Aside from that, a person can create any sort of internet persona they want - it doesn't actually reflect anything.

The website of the registered se* offender with all sorts of quotes from the master's and pictures that supposedly had something to do with him...a good many people on another website thought were very 'eclectic', 'knowledgeable' and 'intriguing'...til the cops hauled him off to jail....a good many others have great looking internet personas.

I go to shows now and again, and am aware enough of the fashions to comment, but haven't competed in a long time and took very few pics even then. In any case, the more you badger and insult someone, the less likely they are to take orders from you...LOL.
 

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Calecto V, one of the most successful dressage horses in the US right now is shown in a black bridle and brown saddle.
Usually brown tack is preferred for chestnuts, but it looks very striking on him.
Brown saddles witnessed a resurgence a few years ago and now are quite mainstream.

Calecto V:
 
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