For those studying the art of dressage, a quality dressage saddle is a necessary piece of equipment that will enhance their performance and the comfort of their horse. Dressage saddles are designed to free the horse’s shoulder for greater lateral flexibility. The deep seat increases rider security, while the straight leg panel enables increased productivity of the leg aids. A quality dressage saddle makes a durable, attractive addition to a rider’s equipment locker.
Considerations for Buying a Dressage Saddle
Perhaps the most important consideration when purchasing a dressage saddle is the fit. A quality saddle will fit the horse comfortably without chafing or pinching him, and will leave ample space for the rider’s seat. The horse should be measured while he is standing squarely on level ground. The nail of the saddle, when resting on the horse’s back, should be exactly three fingers distance from the edge of the horse’s shoulder. The width of the rider’s pelvic, or seat bones, will determine the seat size of the saddle, and the length of the flap should neither catch the top of his boot nor hang lower than mid-calf when the rider’s foot is placed in the irons. Saddle makers usually classify flap length as “short,” “standard,” or “long.” Standard flaps measure 16 to 18 inches from the bottom of the saddle’s safety bar to the bottom of the flap.
Dressage saddles should be durable and made of quality materials. Though some riders prefer to purchase traditional leather saddles for their traditional show ring appeal and bright luster, synthetic-made saddles can be just as attractive, less expensive and easier to care for. Many riders will choose to purchase a used saddle in order to save money, and they should be wary of certain factors if that is their choice. Girth straps should appear stitched and whole, not worn, and no fraying should be present. If stirrup leathers are included, these should be in good condition, not stretched. The safety bar where the stirrup leathers hang should move freely.
Types of Dressage Saddles
Although all dressage saddles share a straight flap, deep seat and knee block, they can be made from different materials and may vary slightly in colour or design.
Wintec: Featuring lightweight synthetic saddles and a variety of options, Wintec dressage saddles are comfortable for horse and rider. Long-lasting and easily maintained, these models are often less expensive than their leather counterparts. Many also feature the Easy-Change Fit Solution, an interchangeable gullet that allows the saddle to properly fit several different horses.
Stubben: A fine tradition of German saddle-making continues to the present-day, providing equestrians with quality saddles at reasonable prices. The Stubben is a favourite of professionals and amateurs alike and pleases buyers with beautiful craftsmanship and quality.
Bates: These high-performance saddles also offer the Easy-Change Fit Solution for riders with several horses. Crafted of fine European leather, the saddles are created to increase the horse’s longevity under saddle. A variety of models are available in brown or black.
Kieffer: Quality dressage saddles from Amsterdam are hand-crafted from the ground up. The synthetic light-weight fibreglass saddle tree offers elasticity and flexibility for an excellent fit. The saddles are traditional black or brown.
How to Purchase a Dressage Saddle on eBay
Prospective buyers must first know their measurements and those of their horse to ensure a perfect fit. Once these numbers are obtained, a buyer can log on to the eBay website and browse the variety of dressage saddles listed for sale. To access saddles, the buyer can go to the “all categories” bar at the top right of the main page. The buyer can then scroll down to “sporting goods.” The buyer can then select “horse riding” from the menu at the left of the page. To access dressage saddles, the buyer should then select the “equipment” button, once again located on the left side of the page. A menu featuring “saddles” is located on the next page. Clicking this link will take the buyer to the saddle selection available on eBay.
Once the buyer has found the right style, colour, and size of dressage saddle, they can choose to place a bid on the saddle or simply press the “Buy It Now” button. Buyers are encouraged to ask any questions of the seller ahead of purchase, and be familiar with the seller’s return policy, if any exists. Reputable sellers care about maintaining their high rating on eBay, and will appreciate positive feedback once the buyer has received their saddle.
Knowing the proper way to measure riders and horses alike is an important part of choosing the proper dressage saddle. In addition, material, style, and colour are factors in determining which saddle is the right fit. eBay offers hundreds of saddles to choose from, both new and used, allowing shoppers the most selection at the best prices.