Most of us have seen affordable eventing saddles for sale. But are they a good value? When tacking up for dressage, cross-country and show jumping, how can one saddle fit all? These are common questions, especially for those new to eventing or competing in the novice, training and preliminary levels of the sport.
Three-day eventers need saddles that compliment three different and challenging equestrian disciplines: dressage, cross country and show jumping. Each form of riding calls for different balance points, different techniques.
First, you need a saddle that enables the right frame and position for dressage. Next, your saddle must help you ride cross-country. You’ll jump uphill, jump level, and jump downhill, taking obstacles that might differ drastically in elevation. The cross country rider spends a good amount of time standing up in the saddle to cover ground at the gallop and to aid the horse in negotiating the variances in terrain and fence heights.
On the final day, you’ll need the forward seat of a jump saddle to complete a precision show jumping course without faults. It’s an exciting, demanding sport! The saddle(s) you choose play an important part.
Affordable, Quality Eventing Saddles for Sale
Let’s take a look at good quality, affordable eventing saddles that span different price ranges. These still are not the high end saddles that go beyond many riders’ budgets.
What’s the best saddle for eventing?
Saddle preferences are extremely personal. It’s the right fit for horse and rider, plus good workmanship that make a great saddle. Not famous logos, not bells and whistles.
Lower priced and very affordable saddles offer good solutions for beginner, novice and training level competitors. Kindly note, these “levels” are misleading. Beginner, novice and training level eventers are NOT inexperienced riders.
Until you know you really want to commit to eventing, you may not want to spend thousands. And with a less expensive yet well-fitting saddle that you and your horse are happy with, the money saved can be significant. As with all riding disciplines, your choice of eventing saddle should evolve as your level of riding in this sport develops and advances.
Do You Need One Saddle, Two Saddles, or Three?
Using one saddle for various disciplines always means you must compromise a little something. This reality becomes more meaningful the higher you reach in eventing.
Experienced eventers must negotiate more challenging cross-country and show jumping courses, plus upper level dressage tests. Which is why many top level eventers prefer to have a specialty saddle for each eventing discipline, or at least two: one Cross Country saddle for (for XC and Show Jumping) and a Dressage saddle.
Specialty 3-Day Eventing Saddles for Sale
Dressage – The first day of three-day eventing is the dressage phase. Dressage tests within the eventer’s level are required. Communication between horse and rider is paramount and the saddle plays a vital part. See our reviews of Dressage saddles here.
Cross Country – A big benefit from cross country saddles is they enhance a good, solid position at the gallop, and the ability to reposition yourself in the seat (nearer the cantle) before an upcoming obstacle and then taking the jump. Sloping terrain, drops and uphill jumps are a far cry from stadium jumping, and cross country saddles used in eventing may help you negotiate them all.
Show Jumping – The show jumping course in three-day eventing consists of 12 to 15 brightly decorated fences and obstacles of various difficulty, heights and widths. Show jumping is both rigorous and precise. It is the last discipline in the eventing triathlon. Horse and rider must once again negotiate diverse jumps, this time on level ground, with bursts of speed, continued stamina and utmost control and obedience.
More about Eventing Saddles
The eventing saddle has a medium depth seat that aids the rider in providing a secure seat when needed. Additionally, the eventing saddle might come equipped with thigh blocks, and a long “twist” that accommodates a rider standing up in the saddle for extended periods.
The twist in a saddle is the narrow part of the seat. It’s the area of transition in between the sharp, tall front of the saddle that must fit over the withers, and the back part of the saddle that is relatively flat. In most eventing saddles, the bars of the saddle tree have an extended twist as compared to most saddles, located in the transition zone behind the pommel of the saddle.
Shorter stirrup lengths are usually preferred by the eventer for the extended gallops in between fences for cross country. Saddle flaps are ample for the rider to keep their legs on the saddle while jumping downhill. The flaps may, or may not, have padding for taking fences. The flaps usually have a generous forward cant to accommodate varying stirrup lengths. Billets are typically a medium length.
Beginner and Novice eventers generally prefer and do quite well with eventing saddles also known as an “all purpose” English saddle, or a jumping saddle with a deep seat. Most of these riders already have some form of all-purpose or jumping saddle, or dressage saddle.
At this level, jumps stay within the lower 3-foot height range and shorter widths, and the deep seat centers the weight appropriately and also assists in correct positioning for dressage tests. If the need for a new saddle exists, beginning and novice eventers may elect to try saddles developed for eventing, and save the expense of buying multiple saddles.