Wednesday , June 19th 2019
    Equestrian Goodies

English Saddle Talk

Choosing a Jumping Saddle vs. English Saddle: So you have decided to take up Jumping as your equestrian sport, congratulations! The discipline offers a lot of fun and challenges your riding skills. The jumping saddle is also referred to as an English Saddle is sport designed for flat classes, cross country, stadium jumping and even trail riding.

The English Saddle falls into the category of “close contact” saddles, which includes All Purpose, Eventing English Saddle, Dressage, and Jumping Saddles. Choosing a particular brand and features in your English Saddle is a matter of personal preference.

Close Contact English Saddles come with several options such as knee rolls, knee pads, thigh blocks or a flat leg flap. All the saddle options are dependent on your riding skills and how to secure your leg and seat position is. You will want to consider several different English Saddles before you purchase; most Saddlery Stores or Websites will allow you to check out a saddle on “trial” and can be returned in “new” condition without charge, although you are responsible for shipping fees.

The Collegiate Saddle vs. Other Saddles

Collegiate Saddle

Collegiate Saddle

When deciding on purchasing a new Collegiate Saddle, you need to choose the saddle’s construction, how it fits your horse, style and your price range. I find it easier to make a bullet point list of each saddle I am considering.

Features of the Collegiate Saddle:

  • Laminated wood tree is reinforced with spring steel allows for the movement of the horse.
  • The “easy-change” gullet system allows for a custom fit by increasing or decreasing the width of the gullet to correctly fit your horse’s withers
  • Collegiate uses high quality, pre-treated supple, soft leather
  • The leather is full-grain, naturally tanned and dyed leather
  • Preferred by many riders and feels instantly broken-in
  • Collegiate Saddles come in many different styles and price range to fit most riders budgets

It’s wise to compare several different Saddle Brands before you purchase the Collegiate Saddle. The Exselle Olympus Event Saddle is an excellent runner up with the softest seat in town! It has a very comfortable medium deep seat. It’s a true All Purpose saddle with padded flaps which are long enough for riders wanting to practice more than one discipline.

Try out several different saddles and compare to the Collegiate Saddle and then make a list of the pros and cons. A saddle is a big investment, so make your list and check it twice!

How to Tack Up Your Horse with an English Saddle

Groom your horse with a soft brush, make sure there is no dirt that could chafe or rub under the saddle pad.

Run up the stirrup irons on the stirrup leathers, so they do not get in the way.

Set the girth aside, or fold it over the top of the saddle, I don’t advise leaving the girth attached on the “off side” as it sometimes falls to the side of the horse and spooks the horse.

Make sure the pad lines up properly on the horses back and saddle area. For a contoured pad, there should be about an inch of pad all the way around. For a square pad, be sure to leave at least one inch around the front edge of the saddle.

Stand on the left-hand (near) side of the horse, place the saddle pad on the horse first and then place the saddle on the horse’s back with the pommel of the saddle just in front of the horse’s withers.

Slide the saddle and pad back (in the direction of the hair growth) until it settles into place. The arch of the pommel should be directly over the highest point of the horse’s withers. The saddle will nestle in behind the horse’s shoulder-blades.

Attach the girth to the girth straps on the off side (the horse’s right) then bring it up to the near side (the horse’s left). As a guideline, the girth should come under the horse just behind its front legs. If you can see a gap between the elbow and the girth, the saddle is too far back.

Fasten the girth slow but securely – you should be able to get your hand between horse and girth, but it should be a snug fit that the saddle will not slide sideways if the horse moves quickly.

Drop your stirrups before you mount and hand walk your horse on a left circle and a right circle and then recheck the girth, you should be able to adjust the girth one hole up.

Mount and recheck your girth to see if it needs to go up another hole.

Competitive riders should consider an Albion saddle when looking or shopping for an English saddle. There are many reasons to look at saddles with Albion. The company has distinct attention to detail and only the highest quality in saddles.  Albion has been handcrafting saddles for over 25 years. They use unique designs and high-quality materials like Italian calfskin. Albion also uses technology from advanced computers to help engineer their various designs. The result from all of this innovative work are saddles that give a horse freedom of movement and a rider maximum closeness.

Why You Need a Dressage Saddle

Dressage Saddle

Dressage Saddle

The Dressage Saddle has a specific design that allows horse and rider the freedom of movement needed to ride dressage movements. A Dressage Saddle has a deeper seat with flatter and wider panels encourage the rider to sit deep and stay balanced while evenly distributing their weight. This assists the horse to carry himself correctly and remain balanced. Straight cut saddle flaps and stirrup bars that are placed slightly further back enable the horse plenty of freedom through the shoulder and allows the rider to keep his weight over the horses center of gravity.

It is worth pointing out that a standard general all-purpose saddle is more than adequate for lower level or novice dressage riding and, generally speaking, a dressage saddle is only necessary for those riders where dressage is their main discipline and is riding at more advanced levels.

Bridle and Reins are a personal choice of the rider. There are Dressage Bridles available, but an English Bridle is suitable for riding dressage in the lower and medium levels.

PDS Aldea Dressage Saddle

As a dressage rider myself, I have ridden in many different dressage saddles with different styles and design to accommodate rider and horse.

The Pessoa PDS Aldea Showtime dressage saddle is truly designed with the horse and rider in mind. This saddle offers the rider extra support in the saddle due to the sticky leather seat which provides extra grippiness allowing the rider to easily maintain a correct dressage posture.

The knee roles have been designed and placed on top of the saddle flap allowing the rider to maintain a secure and balanced position, especially when riding the larger moving horses with bigger gates. The cutaway panel allows freedom of movement in the shoulder of the horse with a three-point V girth strap.

If you’re looking for an amazing dressage saddle, this saddle has a lot to offer and is suitable for the everyday dressage rider or the serious competition rider – Take your Dressage riding to the next level….this saddle will not disappoint you!