All Purpose, Jumping, Dressage
Similar...but Different !
Several different styles of English saddles, each designed for a specific type of equestrian activity. Both the English and the Western saddle are made for comfort, security and purpose.
Like the Western saddle, there are several different types of English saddles. The English saddle offers more contact with the horse and places the rider closer to the horse than the Western Saddle.
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Today's English saddles are either Leather or Synthetic. The synthetic saddle can either be a leather-look alike material or a fabric covering. Synthetic saddles are lighter weight, cheaper and easier to clean.
Instead of oiling the leather saddle, the synthetic can be wiped down with a sponge and water or hosed off. Many riders like to use the synthetic saddle for daily work outs saving their good leather saddles for special occasions and shows.
Most saddles are built upon a solid framework called a tree. This tree can be made of laminated wood, fiberglass or plastic materials.
The first saddle pictured below is a Synthetic English Saddle. The two photos below it are Leather English Saddles.
ALL PURPOSE SADDLE
The basic model for the English saddle is referred to as the All Purpose (AP) or General Purpose (GP) saddle. It's features make it suitable for all types of riding at a non-professional level. The All Purpose English saddle can be used for pleasure riding, hunting, jumping and basic dressage. This saddle has a deeper seat than close contact jumping saddles, but not as deep as a dressage saddle. The flaps are between those of the dressage saddle or jumping saddle. This makes it the ideal choice for the beginning and non-competitive rider.
CLOSE CONTACT JUMPING SADDLE
The Close Contact Jumping saddle has a shallow seat and flaps are more forward than on the All Purpose Saddle. This design lets the rider to get into their jumping position and gives them security over fences.
The Dressage saddle has a deep seat and longer, straighter flaps. This saddle places the rider in an upright position and places the rider's legs close to the horse's sides so subtle aides can be given to the horse.
The Saddlebred saddle is designed for showing gaited horses. It has a cut-back pommel and wide saddle flaps. This saddle places the rider much further back than normal.
The Polo saddle has a flat seat, extended sweat flaps and no knee or thigh rolls, all of which all the rider freedom of movement.
Other Types of English Saddles Include
The Show Saddle, Event Saddle and Working Hunter Saddles are among several other English saddle designs.
The saddle is one of the most important and one of the most expensive pieces of equipment that you will buy for your horse. Today's saddle has evolved over the years to the demands of the modern rider. The saddle's design and fit effects both the horse's performance and the rider's position.
MEASURING THE ENGLISH SADDLE
The English saddle seat size is measured differently from the Western Saddle. Place the tape measure on the metal button just below the pommel on the side of the English saddle and go diagonally across the seat to the center edge of the cantle.
Most of the small English saddles that you see for the Miniature Horse or the small pony are All purpose or Jumping saddle styles. They are usually 10" or 12" in seat size. This is equivalent to the 8" and 10" Western saddle seat size.
You will find more Western saddles than English saddles made for the Miniature Horse. I believe when most small children begin to ride, they feel more secure in the Western saddle than they do riding English.