Basics Of Dressage Saddle
Riding a horse is a thrilling activity, isn’t it? Well, buying the best-in-class breed is not your only big investment. It is absolutely important to ensure that you have your hands on the right equipment and gears.
Missing out on a saddle is a big ‘NO’ when you are riding. Do you have the right saddle? Is it tailor-made? Does it fit just right? Little did you realize, but there’s a lot to think about.
Please Note: Saddles don’t come cheap.
Now that you know that you have to write off a few fat cheeks, let’s make sure that you are investing in the right saddles.
Dressage Saddle - What Is It?
To begin with, dressage saddles are one of the favorites among riders. These saddles are tailor-made to fit both, a rider and the horse perfectly.
The skills of a rider never go unnoticed. Similarly, showing the least concern about your horse’s comfort is far worse. If the dressage saddle is not comfortable for the horse, the equestrian will not perform well or might even stop performing at all.
Think about it - if a saddle keeps slipping and rolling on the sides or keeps poking the horse’s back, what good is it? Do you know what’s even worse? Your horse will suffer from severe soreness and injuries.
Let’s get back to the primary question - what is a dressage saddle all about.
Dressage saddles are exquisitely designed with longer than usual stirrups. Even the flaps on the saddle are long and straight. The idea is to promote a comfortable posture for the rider.
Speaking of posture, it is ideal for riders who are not a huge fan of inclining their body in a forward angle while riding. A dressage saddle allows the rider to sit straight, perfectly perpendicular to the ground.
Some notable features, exclusive for a dressage saddle are:
- Sturdy deep seat
- Long flaps
- Cantle that is positioned higher than the regular saddles
- The saddles come with an exposed pelvis
- Perfectly positioned stirrup bars
- Long girth straps, coupled with a short girth
- Stuffing in the panels are not too fluffy
If you have been riding for the most part of your life, you are definitely aware of terms like girth, flaps, stirrups, and others. You also know how important it is to keep an eye on all these features. If you are a greenhorn though, some of these terms can throw you in a pickle.
Let’s address a few questions before learning more about dressage saddles.
The flaps in a dressage saddle are pretty much straight. How is it beneficial?
Straight flaps in a dressage saddle expose the shoulders of a horse. It also gives the equestrian enough room to move freely.
Why should the seat in a saddle be deep?
The seats are exclusively designed to ensure optimum comfort to the riders. Deep seats help riders achieve a good balance, maintain an ideal posture, and finally, ride better.
How are long girth straps useful?
Girth in a dressage saddle is short. Although, the straps are long. It helps the rider experience close contact with their legs. The longer straps also ensure that the girths are buckled underneath the saddles, and not below the rider’s legs.
Why are stirrup bars positioned backward in a dressage saddle?
Dressage saddles offer the best comfort to the rider and the equestrian. With the uniquely positioned stirrup bars, a rider can maintain a good posture. It encourages the riders to sit straight and stretch out their legs comfortably.
Why are the panels in a dressage saddle not overly stuffed?
Unfortunately, there are myths doing rounds that stuffed, and cushioned panels are extremely comfortable. What about the horse you are riding? Is the animal comfortable or succumbing to painful bruises?
When the stuffing around the panels is cut down, it allows the rider to be in close contact with the horse.
Fitting a dressage saddle is not too difficult. In fact, it is easier than fitting a jumping saddle, or the all-purpose saddles. Since the panels are barely cushioned and the flaps are fitted straight, right behind the shoulder, it rarely interferes with the movement.