I’m looking at buying a jumping saddle for my horse, can you offer advice on what to look for?
The Society of Master Saddlers replies:
Both show jumping and cross-country requires the rider to be athletic and in balance with their horse at all times.
Making sure you have the right saddle that fits the horse and is comfortable for the rider is key to success whether competing at a local or international level.
The modern jumping saddle has been designed to provide a close contact fit to help the rider sit close to the horse and with their weight balanced.
As ever, designs vary in style and colour and there are some saddles that are made using a single or mono flap system that allows the rider to have a closer feel around the horse.
It is important for a rider to feel their horse working underneath the saddle in order to get the best out of them. This level of communication is greatly enhanced by a single flap jumping saddle.
Jumping saddles are designed with knee and thigh blocks to help support the rider’s leg position, and the forward cut flap helps assist balance in the saddle.
When deciding on which saddle to buy make sure it is one that is designed to allow maximum performance from the rider as well as the horse.
As with all saddles we recommend that you use a registered qualified saddle fitter, so that you are guaranteed that they are fully qualified, professional and have over three years’ experience to get the best possible fit. Don’t forget to try out the saddle over a few fences as that is what you will be wanting it for!
Always pay great attention to the saddle’s flocking, it needs to provide cushioning to help reduce trauma to the back when jumping. A saddle that is over-stuffed will be too hard causing soreness on the horse’s back.
The forces involved with a big horse taking off, stretching over a fence and landing on the other side are tremendous, so the saddle must sit well and minimise the effect of jarring to the horse’s back.
If comfort, style and longevity are what you are looking for a saddle made from top quality leather is just what you need. Remember cheaper leather can have a tendency to be slippery and not provide a secure seat with good grip.
Choosing to buy a bespoke saddle will help ensure it is fitted by trained experts who understand your horse’s needs.
Compromise should not be an option when deciding on your new show jumping saddle. Ideally the saddle should maximise your partnership with the horse and balance comfort with style and performance.
To find out more information on The Society of Master Saddlers and to find your nearest Registered Qualified Saddle Fitter visit www.mastersaddlers.co.uk or contact on 01449 711642.