5 Best Dressage Saddles Reviews & Buying Guides

best dressage saddle

Regardless of whether you're a professional equestrian aiming for an Olympic gold medal or an amateur horse rider, choosing a high-quality saddle is indispensable. Opting for the best dressage saddle is critical if you want to hone your dressage, hacking, general, or Western riding skills. The dressage saddle for a short-backed horse can be identified by its acutely straight-cut flap that helps the dressage rider firmly lodge his lower leg.

A dressage saddle that tends to be lengthier than a jumping horseback saddle enables the rider to perform by working exclusively on the flat without hop-over fences. Dressage saddles allow riders to park themselves comfortably and ride or perform tricks and feats effectively, thanks to the intense seat. Additionally, the minimal wadding of the flaps contributes to a better understanding and rapport with the horse. 

Irrespective of whether you're a pro or a novice, you'll invariably need a heavy-duty dressage saddle for optimal support and poise. On the other hand, selecting the top dressage saddle goes a long way in keeping the horse comfortable and relaxed.

Why Opt for a Dressage Saddle?

All veteran horse riders, jockeys, and equestrians know that the right dressage saddle serves as the most vital link between horse and rider. So, it makes sense to want a saddle that fits perfectly, making both you and your steed comfortable. Do not be fooled into buying a one-size-fits-all horseback saddle that, more often than not, could cause irreversible damage to the horse's cartilage and backbone.

When you're mounted on an ill-fitting saddle, the horse feels uneasy and uncomfortable, eventually adversely affecting your riding experience. Continuing with an incompatible saddle can ultimately cause contracture of the horse's muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Riding a horse with a mismatched saddle is like walking or jogging in incorrectly sized sneakers — optimal performance is compromised, you don't feel right, and it can lead to injuries. 

Always opt for a sturdy dressage saddle that enables you to have a pleasant riding experience and makes your mount feel safe and comfortable.

5 Dressage Saddles Reviews for 2021

You have numerous options to choose from when it comes to dressage saddles. Reading the following reviews should help you to understand your options.

Henri de Rivel HDR Ventura Dressage Saddle

Henri de Rivel HDR Ventura Dressage Saddle has been ergonomically designed, keeping in mind the equestrian's needs and comfort level.

This dressage saddle from Henri de Rivel has everything going for it, making it the top choice amongst all dressage saddles out there. This saddle has been shaped out of genuine leather for a start, thereby ensuring long-lasting performance and service. The flocked panels filled with synthetic wool enhance steadiness, check slipping, and boost rider comfort.

The reasonably deep seat enables the rider to accommodate their lower leg with more stability, thereby facilitating more comfortable riding. The Y Billets, together with the elegantly pronounced stitching, keeps the girth points in perfect alignment. The seat is layered with delicate, soft black leather and the masked knee blocks furnish steady support.

Features

  • High-quality leather covering
  • Extended billet strips reinforced with nylon
  • Broadened tree
  • Masked knee block
  • Soft black leather
  • Excellent knee rolls
  • Designed to fit

Pros

  • Comfortable and smooth
  • Layered with a tough yet soft leather covering with attractive stitched accents
  • The saddle has a moderate deepness rendering the seat ideal for dressage performance
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty, thus offering complete peace of mind

Cons

  • The soft and smooth leather undergoes rapid wear and tear

Breyer Traditional Stoneleigh II Dressage Saddle

The Traditional Stoneleigh II Dressage Saddle from Breyer is extremely popular with dressage riders and equestrians thanks to its elegance and intense seat.

Professional horse riders appreciate this Breyer dressage saddle owing to its robustly stitched woolly padding. What's more, this dressage saddle's USP is crafted from high-quality leather that is 100% natural. This saddle pairs perfectly with mares and stallions, having a throat size of 7 inches, which provides stable bridle maneuverability.

Conversely, this saddle's flap measures approximately 15 inches, which implies that the rider has more leeway in perching more steadily and comfortably. Breyer has firmly established and entrenched its goodwill in the market for equestrian supplies as it has been manufacturing for over 70 years. Breyer is also renowned worldwide for making top-notch model horses, and the Traditional Series of dressage saddles reflects the firm's impeccable craftsmanship. 

Features

  • Good knee rolls facilitate comfortable positioning of legs
  • Very flexible
  • Extremely versatile
  • Highly resistant to wear and tear

Pros

  • Custom-built for seamlessly fitting on Breyer traditional horses (on a 1:9 scale)
  • Genuine black leather dressage saddle has a classic appeal
  • The very deep perch of this saddle keeps the rider firmly on the saddle
  • The quilted padding of the saddle enhances both the rider's and horse's comfort

Cons

  • Design isn't for everyone
  • The vinyl might come apart sooner than later

EquiRoyal Newport Dressage Saddle

Corded and jointed bridle, quilted padding, good girth web, and stirrup pads are some unbeatable features that make the EquiRoyal Newport Dressage Saddle a good buy.

This Newport dressage saddle from EquiRoyal is very pocket-friendly, offering you another practical reason to choose this product. EquiRoyal has a reputation for manufacturing saddles that are quite affordable and performance-oriented at the same time. The saddle's classic appeal will surely attract your attention, and its deep seat ensures that you never lose your equilibrium or control.

The built-in flexible girth points on the tree facilitate the free and unhindered movement of your steed's shoulders. This Newport dressage saddle comes with U-shaped long billets which guarantee a customized fit. The saddle's innovative and ergonomic design will surely enable the equestrian to hone their dressage skills, regardless of their experience level.

Features

  • Saddle with a very recessed seat
  • Flexible girth points
  • U-shaped billets
  • Quilted cotton padding
  • Girth-web
  • Close-contact saddle

Pros

  • Sturdily designed and created
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Incredibly versatile: ideal for using while trotting, hacking, jumping fences and even suitable for dressage contests
  • Durable leather cover
  • Foam padded seat
  • Suitable for both seasoned riders and greenhorns

Cons

  • Stiffer than some
  • Flimsy knee rolls

Silver Fox Dressage Saddle Set

Shaped out of premium-grade black leather, the Silver Fox Dressage Saddle sports a deep seat, cutback head, and extended flaps with moderate padding for enhanced support control.

This dressage saddle set by Silver Fox comes with a quilted cotton pad, stirrup pads, leathers and irons, laced snaffle reins, and dressage girth. So, you do not need to buy any accessory separately to make fair use of this saddle. If you're still learning the ropes (of dressage), you don't need to look any further.

This Silver Fox Dressage Saddle package also includes padded flap, knee rolls, medium tree, D-rings on the pommel, two nylon billets, billet guards, and safety stirrup bars. You can bet that this saddle will sit nicely on your horse owing to its standardized seat and 16-inch flaps. The glossy black leather adds to its overall aesthetics and imparts a luxurious look.

Features

  • Intuitive knee rolls
  • Cushioned flaps
  • Sinuous leather saddle
  • Safety stirrup bars
  • D rings on the pommel
  • Medium tree

Pros

  • Saddle package with all accessories including stirrup leather, irons, and pads
  • D=rings on saddle projection for tethering equipment
  • Deep black leather seat for support and balance
  • Ergonomically designed for maximizing performance

Cons

  • Takes a while to break in
  • Style may not be for everyone

Wintec Isabell Dressage Saddle CAIR

With more than four decades of expertise in promoting premium saddles, Wintec is one of the most recognized saddle manufacturers in the US.

The Isabell dressage saddle features an ultra-soft flocked panel and has been meticulously designed to match your horse's backbone profile. The deep-seated saddle, together with the soft and flexible panel, offers excellent leeway in movement. This CAIR dressage saddle from Wintec has been designed conscientiously to cater to beginners' needs willing to specialize in dressage.

Features

  • Shaped out of quality synthetic materials; incredibly hardy
  • The ergonomic design of the flaps and stirrup bar enables smooth movement
  • Wide seat and girth points offer sufficient horse leeway during galloping and gaiting
  • Medium tree

Pros

  • Best dressage saddle for Andalusian
  • Deep-seated leather seat makes equestrians feel secure
  • An extremely resilient saddle which is also easy to maintain
  • The super flexible and soft flocked panel effortlessly gels with the horse's profile without impeding movement

Cons

  • The stitching can come loose
  • Some may not prefer synthetic materials

Things to Consider Before Buying Dressage Saddles

There's no downplaying the importance of choosing a good quality dressage saddle that fits correctly on your horse's back. A saddle that settles perfectly on horseback allows you to perch stably without compromising comfort, thus offering you better control. Similarly, the right-size dressage saddle will keep the horse's cartilage, ligaments, and tendons around the backbone in perfect shape.

Take the following aspects into consideration to make sure that you've chosen the correct size of dressage saddle:

Tree width

The tree width refers to the broadness of the saddle's front, flanked by the seat's panels. The tree should be positioned adequately wide on both sides of the wither but not so much so that it hangs down.

Tree angle

The tree angle is the gradient or the inclination closest to the scapula or the shoulder blade. When you place your hand on the paneling, the tree angle should feel smooth.

Channel width

The tunnel underneath the saddle's fork should be sufficiently wide to not get in the way of the horse's backbone. However, there is no standardized metric for a perfect or ideal gullet size. Nevertheless, one rule of thumb is to maintain a width of 2-4 fingers between the gullet and the withers.

Wither clearance

Maintain a spacing of about 2-3 fingers all around the saddle's wither.

Panel length

The panel's farthest end should align with the horse's last rib — a telltale sign that the seat is correctly positioned.

Panel contact

The saddle's panels should maintain uniform contact throughout the horse's back. The flaps on either side of the saddle must exert even pressure all across the back.

Alignment of girth points

You'll know that your dressage saddle has been fitted appropriately when its girth points are positioned vertically with the ground. The saddle could keep sliding backward or forwards if it is not placed correctly. 

Saddle steadiness

Finally, see to it that the saddle has adequate wadding or filling on the lighter side to thwart slippage and imbalance. Nevertheless, keep in mind that excessive padding could come in the way of your rapport with your horse. 

Following are some of the attributes to bear in mind when selecting the right dressage saddle:

A perfectly integrated knee roll

Check out whether the knee lock offers you enough space to comfortably position your leg without sacrificing support.

The middle of the saddle should be its lowest point

If it is not so, you'll keep falling forward or backward, preventing you from determining the sweet spot of your riding position.

The span and twist of the saddle

The saddle's twist is where the seat tapers the most, and the extent of your hips will determine where the saddle's twist will lie.

FAQs

What exactly is a dressage saddle?

As the expression indicates, a dressage saddle is a specialized seat that jockeys and equestrians use for excelling in dressage feats. The versatility of a dressage saddle lies in that it has erect flaps, a deep seat, knee rolls, a pommel (for attachments), and so on.

How to choose the right side of the dressage saddle?

The saddle size that'll work for you depends on your horse's profile and the purposes for which you'll use the seat. By and large, you should maintain a gap of at least four inches between your waist and the swells. Additionally, see that your lower back does not brush against the saddle's cantle (the elevated curved section at the end of the seat).

Should you opt for a dressage saddle crafted out of leather or synthetic materials?

Both leather and synthetics have their benefits and drawbacks. Your personal needs and preferences will determine your choice.

Final Words

So there you are — the five best dressage saddle brands that you can choose from. While brands like Henri de Rivel, Breyer, and Wintec have cemented their goodwill in the market for equestrian or jockeying accessories, Silver Fox and EquiRoyal are also gaining popularity. Choosing the dressage saddle doesn't have to be challenging. In fact, it can be easy if you know what you need and what you're looking for. 

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