There are many types of saddles, and they are typically split between two main categories - western or english. But what types of english saddles are there? Let's look at the most common types of english saddles.
Dressage saddles come with long, straight flaps and a deep seat. They have the deepest seat of all english saddles, so they can be great for someone who wants plenty of security in the saddle. They are also ridden with your stirrups adjusted long, for a more straight leg similar to western saddles. Dressage saddles are overwhelmingly black in color, however brown saddles are occasionally seen.
Also known as a jumping saddle, or a forward seat saddle, close contact saddles are designed for jumping. They have short, forward flaps and a shallow seat. This is to accomodate a short stirrup length, so you can rise easily from the saddle as your horse clears a jump. They are great saddles for those who prefer the shallowest of seats, and a short stirrup with plenty of bend/angle in the leg. Close contact saddles are typically various shades of brown, and a square cantle is common.
All purpose saddles, also known as general purpose or eventing saddles, are the best of both worlds. They have a deeper seat like a Dressage saddle, and the flap curves somewhat forward (but not to the extreme of a close contact). This allows you to work on flatwork as well as some low level jumping. The all purpose saddle is popular amongst beginner riders as well as trail riders. They come in both black and brown, and can have a square or round cantle.
These 3 types of english saddles above are the most common english saddles. Ask your trainer, saddle fitter, or tack store associate what might work best for you, your horse, and your style of riding. Of course, the fit of the saddle to you and your horse is also extremely important.
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