A guide to eventing saddles

ArticleHow to - General Equine AdviceWednesday 03 August 2011
by W Honeywood

Eventing saddles were first developed to let riders use just the one saddle whether were jumping or riding on the flat. Designed with a deeper seat and slightly forward padded flaps, they give the rider more support when they are jumping. This design is a compromise between a flatter ‘close contact’ jumping saddle which has a forward flaps and a deeper seated dressage saddle which has a long, straight flaps. Today there are many eventing saddles on the market, from the lesser priced ‘general’ or ‘all purpose’ ones to the more expensive and very lightweight professional eventing saddles.

The manufacturers of eventing saddles do insist that there is a difference between the ‘all purpose’ saddle and the pricier eventing one, and this is generally true as the eventing one does normally have a better balance and is made of much higher quality materials. The workmanship is also of a higher standard, but other than this there really is not much of a difference when you first look at them. Most manufacturers these days make two models of eventing saddles which are both designed with specific jumping positions in mind.

One design they make being for lower jumps, and the second for riders who are going to face somewhat higher and more challenging fences, but which still allows the rider a deep seat for any flatwork they have to do. Some eventing saddles even have a flap that can be adjusted to be straighter or more forward, so that riders can adjust them according to their preference. When looking to buy an eventing saddle, you have to consider the quality and the balance of it.

 Cheaper designs often have flaps which are too far forward and which are not well aligned with the seat. This does not allow the rider to get into the correct position when riding on the flat and can also give the feeling of constantly sliding backwards. Another downside to investing in a cheaper model eventing saddle is that when a rider adjusts their stirrups to the correct length for jumping, their knees tend to be badly placed in relation to the flaps.

If the cantle is too high, this is another problem that can cause a lot of discomfort to the rider, it can also push the seat too far forward when jumping any obstacle that is slightly more demanding. However, is you are willing to invest in a really professional saddle there are some superb eventing saddles on the market today.

The Xtreem Event Saddle offers riders a radical new concept in design. It is probably one of the lightest ones in the world today. It is manufactured by Barnsby and has caused quite a stir in the eventing world as it offers a very good design which is perfect for riders who want to take their eventing seriously.

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