5 Best Dressage Saddles for Enhanced Comfort and Optimal Riding Performance

View Article Statistics

We hate to say this, but your lovely horse will retire fast if you purchase any saddle you feel “suits” it. Most sellers encourage you to get a one-size-fits-all saddle without revealing that some models damage the horses’ backbone and cartilages. You don’t have to be an expert or hire a certified saddler to get a durable dressage saddle that accomodates your horse’s interest and offers optimal performance. You only need some basic information and look into key features we will discuss later in this guide.

Our team selected the five best dressage saddles in Amazon and based our selection on the shape, size, seat twist and width tree width, saddle balance, knee rolls, and warranty. Horses have different shapes from straight to curved backs, so you need to select a saddle with the right shape. It’s not possible to pick on any size of the saddle for your horse. Your horse will be uncomfortable if a saddle is too small or wide.

Editor’s Choice

A great dressage saddle with a moderate deep black leather seat and nylon reinforced long billet straps

  • 16.5, 17, 17.5, 18 size
  • Regular and wide tree
  • Concealed knee block
Read Our Review
9.9
YardScoreTM
?
YardScore is our patented scoring system which helps us evaluate each of the reviewed products, from 1 to 10. The score is based on the product’s individual features, its sales stats, and buyers’ feedback.
Premium Pick

A synthetic leather dressage saddle with super-soft flocked panels and EASY-CHANGE gullet system

  • 17, 17.5, 18 size
  • Adjustable Y girthing
  • Deep seat
Read Our Review
9.8
YardScoreTM
?
YardScore is our patented scoring system which helps us evaluate each of the reviewed products, from 1 to 10. The score is based on the product’s individual features, its sales stats, and buyers’ feedback.

A premium leather saddle with modified cutback head, perfect for high-withered horses

  • 16 and 17 size
  • Medium tree
  • Safety stirrup bars
Read Our Review
9.6
YardScoreTM
?
YardScore is our patented scoring system which helps us evaluate each of the reviewed products, from 1 to 10. The score is based on the product’s individual features, its sales stats, and buyers’ feedback.
Best Value

A standard tree saddle made from suede and grain leather

  • 14, 15, 17, 18, 19 size
  • Traditional deep seat
  • 16-inch flaps
Read Our Review
9.4
YardScoreTM
?
YardScore is our patented scoring system which helps us evaluate each of the reviewed products, from 1 to 10. The score is based on the product’s individual features, its sales stats, and buyers’ feedback.

A low-end dressage saddle with 14-inch flaps, made from leather and grained cowhide

  • 14, 15, 15S, 16, 16S size
  • Standard and wide tree
  • Semi-deep seat
Read Our Review
9.0
YardScoreTM
?
YardScore is our patented scoring system which helps us evaluate each of the reviewed products, from 1 to 10. The score is based on the product’s individual features, its sales stats, and buyers’ feedback.

Top 5 Dressage Saddles Review 2020

Features
  • Material: molded polymer tree, leather
  • Size: 16.5, 17, 17.5, 18
  • Tree: regular, wide
  • Flap length: n/a
  • Weight: n/a
  • Warranty: lifetime

Other features: regular shape, moderate deep seat, concealed knee block, nylon reinforced long billet straps

Henri de Rivel HDR Ventura Dressage Covered Saddle has been designed with riders and horses’ needs.

Its moderate deep seat is covered in smooth black leather, and the concealed knee block offers great leg support while riding. Some users say that the knee rolls fit well and blend with several horses.

The soft covered leather reduces your break-in time. The only shortcoming is they wear fast and scuff up more quickly than “solid” leather models.

Experts claim that the flocked panels of Henri de Rivel HDR Ventura Dressage Covered Saddle have been stocked with synthetic wool. The bottom of the flap has a reinforced area for enhanced wear. You can mold the flock panel depending on the rate at which the horse adjusts.

Experts say that Henri de Rivel HDR Ventura Dressage Covered Saddle fits well in Quarter horses.You will have to adjust to it if you’re used to close contact saddles.

Overall, Henri de Rivel HDR Ventura Dressage Covered Saddle has been crafted with ultimate performance and comfort in mind. Most customers loved how it positioned well.

Pros
  • Smooth black leather
  • Good knee rolls
  • Comfy
  • Positions well
Cons
  • Soft leather wears fast
Features
  • Material: synthetic leather
  • Size: 17, 17.5, 18
  • Tree: n/a
  • Flap length: n/a
  • Weight: 29 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2-year

Other features: super-soft flocked panels, EASY-CHANGE gullet system, adjustable Y girthing

Wintec is among the best sellers in the US with over 40 years’ experience offering high-quality horse saddles like Wintec 500 Flocked Dressage Saddle with a deeply seated leather seat to give you a sense of security when riding.

Its super-soft flocked panel will blend with the shape of your horse without restricting the movement.

The seller says that Wintec 500 Flocked Dressage Saddle has an easy to change gullet system. The gullets are sold separately and come in small, medium, medium narrow, medium wide, wide and extra-wide sizes.

Wintec recommends using a gullet that blends with the shape and muscle structure of your horse.

Experts note that Wintec 500 Flocked Dressage Saddle has a quick-change girth point system. The easy to change fit solution enables you to set your preferred settings for optimal balance. Some buyers claim that the Equi-Suede knee insert guarantees you security when riding.

We confirmed that Wintec 500 Flocked Dressage Saddle is perfect for beginning riders who would love to master dressage. You can customize and boost your riding experience with a stirrup keeper that is sold separately.

Most users state that the grippy synthetic leather is easy to clean using a cloth or hosing it with water to remove the dirt.

Overall, Wintec 500 Flocked Dressage Saddle is the go-to saddle for horse riders seeking to nurture a strong dressage position and train their horse for competitions.

Pros
  • Deep-seated leather seat
  • Super-soft panel
  • Easy to change gullet system
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Not found
Features
  • Material: premium leather
  • Size: 16, 17
  • Tree: medium
  • Flap length: n/a
  • Weight: 9 lbs.
  • Warranty: n/a

Other features: safety stirrup bars, modified cutback head

EquiRoyal Event Winner Saddle is cost-friendly with dark brown leather and accessories like stirrup pads, web girth, quilted cotton pad, and laced snaffle bride.

EquiRoyal claims that this is the best saddle for high withered horses. Its modified cutbacks blend with several horse withers. Some buyers mention that it works perfectly with long girth.

Experts say EquiRoyal Event Winner Saddle is reliable, comfy, and retains color for long. They noted that it is supple and recommended polishing it to eliminate extra dye.

You can use EquiRoyal Event Winner Saddle for events, jumping, hacking and cross country. Hunters can use it with Arabian and Quarter horses since it’s a close contact saddle.

Several buyers complained that the knee rolls feel like plastic. Others were frustrated that EquiRoyal Event Winner Saddle did not come with a saddle cover and fittings like iron and leather.

Some unsatisfied customers stated that the EquiRoyal Event Winner Saddle is stiff and uncomfortable.

Pros
  • Reliable
  • Retains color for long
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Stiff
Features
  • Material: grain leather, suede leather
  • Size: 14, 15, 17, 18, 19
  • Tree: regular
  • Flap length: 16”
  • Weight: 11 lbs.
  • Warranty: n/a

Other features: traditional deep seat

SilverFox All Purpose Pad Flap Saddle is considered a standard tree saddle for beginners and experienced riders alike. It comes in 14, 15, 17, 18 and 19 sizes.

SilverFox All Purpose Pad Flap Saddle has a 7-inch gullet though some sellers say the pad is flat to call a specific area the gullet. Its deep seat is supple and comfy. The flaps have a suede knee leather roll.

Experts claim that the dye stains don’t come out even when you deep wash it. They loved its shiny silver look.

The manufacturer offers a regular tree that fits several Quarter horses. The seller mentions that SilverFox All Purpose Pad Flap Saddle is not advertised as a close contact saddle though it has too much leather.

It works for mini-horses, but you will have to monitor your horse for discomfort.

SilverFox confirmed that its accessories like the iron and leathers are bought separately. You can utilize the discounts that come with buying the product and the accessories.

Most customers say this saddle is comfortable and well designed. Overall, SilverFox All Purpose Pad Flap Saddle is a great saddle for the price.

One customer was amazed at how well it works well with leather straps. Its undersides are plastic, but the other sections are made of tough leather.

Pros
  • Supple, deep seat
  • Retains color
  • Comfortable
  • Well designed
Cons
  • Plastic undersides
Features
  • Material: grained cowhide, leather
  • Size: 14, 15, 15S, 16, 16S
  • Tree: standard, wide
  • Flap length: 14”
  • Weight: 20 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2-year (tree)

Other features: semi-deep seat, long billets, stuffed panels

Thornhill Shannon Junior Dressage Saddle is a low-end dressage saddle designed by Pakistan saddlers. It is well balanced and comes in multiple sizes for different sizes of horses. The standard tree fits average-sized horses while the wide tree suits wider ones.

This saddle has a semi-deep seat that offers a close contact feeling for jumping. Experts mention that the seat is comfy and supports the leg position.

It comes with smooth leather knee pads and stuffed panels. The billets are long for you to ride comfortably without worry about adjusting your leg’s position.

Experts affirm that Thornhill Shannon Junior Dressage Saddle is the best saddle for children or beginners who would love to experiment with dressage. They can master how to position properly and balance when riding their horses.

Thornhill Shannon Junior Dressage Saddle is well priced and suits several horses and ponies. They love the craftsmanship and the balanced design it offers.

You can get compatible Thornhill accessories like the Thornhill Padded halter and Chafeless break halter, among others. The tree has a two-year warranty.

Pros
  • Economical
  • Well balanced
  • Multiple sizes
  • Comfy seat
  • Smooth leather knee pads
Cons
  • Not found

Buying Guide

Whether you’re planning to engage in dressage, general riding, or jumping, it’s essential to pick a right saddle that factors in your needs and the horse. Dressage saddles come in several shapes, sizes for different types of horses and users.
In this guide, we will cover the meaning of a dressage saddle, the features to consider when making purchases and the frequently asked questions.

What is a Dressage saddle?

A dressage saddle includes a uniquely designed athletic shoe that attaches itself to riders’ feet for enhanced comfort and optimal riding performance. They have longer, straight flaps than jumping saddles, and give riders a perpendicular posture to the ground.

Features to consider when choosing a dressage saddle

5 Best Dressage Saddles for Enhanced Comfort and Optimal Riding Performance

Nothing is heartbreaking, like being excited to purchase a dressage saddle online only to get a whack model upon delivery and send it straight to your bin.

It’s worth saving your shopping excitement and focus on precise features when shopping for saddles to avoid such embarrassments.

In this section, we will cover the main features you should look into, like the shape, size, saddle balance, and knee rolls.

Shape

Horses have different shapes like humans, so it’s not possible to buy a one-size-fits-all saddle for your horse.

First, confirm if your horse has a straight or curved back and if there is an unusual dip on their front or rear body parts.

You will be imbalanced if you buy curved saddles for your horse with a straight back. Saddles with curved panels are meant for horses with curved backs while those with straight panels work best for horses with flat backs.

You can get a saddle with regular shapes like the Henri de Rivel HDR Ventura Dressage Covered Saddle.

Size

Saddle sizes in the market range from 10 to 18 inches. Experts insist on using saddles with a reasonable size allowance for your horse to feel comfortable.

Some riders can’t fit in seats that are too small and risk losing balance if the seat is too big.

Our models like Henri de Rivel HDR Ventura Dressage Covered Saddle come in 16.5, 17, 17.5 or 18 sizes.

You can pick 14, 15, 17, 18 and 19 sizes if you’re buying the SilverFox All Purpose Pad Flap Saddle.

The EquiRoyal Event Winner Saddle comes in 16 and 17 sizes only.

Seat twist and width

The twist is the section of the saddle that touches your upper thigh. Dressage saddles for men and women come with specific twist measurements.

Experts recommend getting a dressage saddle with a narrow twist, especially for women due to their pelvis’ shape. Short riders should get dressage saddles with a short twist and width.

Saddle balance

The saddle position on your horse influences your position on the seat. You will lose balance or struggle to maintain it if your dressage saddle does not fit uniformly.

You can consider Thornhill Shannon Junior Dressage Saddle that is a well-balanced, economic model. You should target saddles with sufficient padding on the less heavy side to avoid slipping since most horses are asymmetrical.

Knee rolls

The knee rolls play a crucial role in your comfort and position while riding. An excellent knee roll allows your legs to move comfortably and offers great support.

Selecting a saddle with an awesome knee roll depends on whether your thighs are short or long.

You will create a huge space if your knee roll is too long for your short thighs. You’re likely to experience flexor pain if you use saddles with a knee roll that is too straight for your long thighs.

Riders say that the knee rolls of the Henri de Rivel HDR Ventura Dressage Covered Saddle fit perfectly. Others complained that the knee rolls of EquiRoyal Event Winner Saddle offer a plastic feel.

Material and color

5 Best Dressage Saddles for Enhanced Comfort and Optimal Riding Performance

Most dressage seat saddles like Henri de Rivel HDR Ventura Dressage Covered Saddle and EquiRoyal Event Winner Saddle are designed from leather.

Leather saddles can last a lifetime if you follow the routine maintenance and cleaning practices like oiling and hosing it with water to keep the leather supple.

We also have models like Wintec 500 Flocked Dressage Saddle manufactured from synthetic leather.

Synthetic saddles are lightweight and available in several styles and colors. They are cheaper and easier to clean than leather models.

Warranty

Most of our top picks have warranties to ensure your saddles are repaired or replaced if they come with structural or internal defects hindering optimal performance.

The Henri de Rivel HDR Ventura Dressage Covered Saddle has a lifetime warranty. Wintec 500 Flocked Dressage Saddle comes with a two-year warranty.

The tree of Thornhill Shannon Junior Dressage Saddle has a two-year warranty.

How to know if the saddle fits

You can consider several things to determine if your saddle fits, but we will focus on the main ones.

First, your seat area should be parallel to the ground. The gullet should be wide enough to safeguard the spine of the horse.

Your saddle should be straight with the tree wide enough for the saddle to fit uniformly when your horse moves.

Tree angle

The tree angle should fit the shoulder of your horse. The shoulder won’t rotate freely if your saddle has a wrong tree angle.

You also risk damaging the cartilage and backbone of your horse. We recommend using a Sprenger gauge to determine if your tree angle matches your horse’s shoulder.

Our Thornhill Shannon Junior Dressage Saddle has a standard and wider tree that suits average-sized and wider horses, respectively.

Tree width

The tree angle and the tree width affect the rotation of your horse’s shoulders. They have to be adjusted together during manufacturing for a saddle to fit on a horse.

Your tree width should not be too narrow or wide to hinder the rotation of the shoulder.

Saddle with wide tree width shifts from side to side while riding. You can check out SilverFox All Purpose Pad Flap Saddle with a standard tree saddle for beginners and expert riders.

Wither clearance

5 Best Dressage Saddles for Enhanced Comfort and Optimal Riding Performance

Saddles that pinch your horse restricts its movements. There should be 2 to 3 finger clearance on the sides and top part of the wither to accommodate the shoulder rotation.

The clearance can go up to 4 or 5 fingers for mutton withered horses. You can look for signs of sores or scratches on the top or the sides of the wither to confirm if the clearance is sufficient. You can invest in EquiRoyal Event Winner Saddle for high withered horses.

Channel width

Saddle panels with narrow gullet channels hinder the movement of some muscles in your horse. Your horse will contract its back when moving.

The widths of a horse spine dictate the saddle panel allowance for your horse. Most horses require a 2″-4″ allowance on both panel widths.

Saddles with narrow channels cause severe damage to a horse’s back. The brands with wide gullet channels rip away muscles from the back of horses. You can try the SilverFox All Purpose Pad Flap Saddle with a 7″ inch gullet.

Panel contact

Panel contact comes next after determining the width of your gullet channel. Your saddle panel should make even contact with the horse’s back to distribute your weight evenly.

Saddles that rock signal that your panel does not make even contact with your horse’s back.

Experts say that it’s possible to mold the flock panel of Henri de Rivel HDR Ventura Dressage Covered Saddle based on the horse’s back adjustment rate.

Panel length

Whether you have a Friesian or a Baroque horse, you should get a saddle with the correct panel length for optimal performance and riding.

The length of the area where the saddle sits in your horse affects the length of the panel of the saddle you can pick.

Always Know the length of your horse’s support area and pick a saddle with the right panel length that matches it.

You can look at Wintec 500 Flocked Dressage Saddle with a super-flocked panel that does not restrict the movement of horses.

FAQ

There should be four inches between the swells and the front part of your body and your rump should not press against the back of the cantle. You can test how different seats fit to feel the difference.

A dressage builds on trust between the horse and rider while maintaining a calm demeanor.

Our Verdict

Selecting a great dressage saddle is not as hard as it seems. You need to know the features that separate a quality model from whack one that will retire your horse early.

You have everything you need to walk you through the process. Focus on the interests of your horse first from its shape to size.

Our first pick is Henri de Rivel HDR Ventura Dressage Covered Saddle which is a user-friendly model available in several sizes. Experts confirm that it has been designed with ultimate performance and comfort in mind.

Wintec 500 Flocked Dressage Saddle is our second pick with a deeply seated leather seat and super-flocked panels that fit several horses’ shapes. It’s the best pick for beginners’ who would love to try dressage.

Experts also loved EquiRoyal Event Winner Saddle that is designed for withered horses. This saddle is not only reliable and comfy but retains its color for years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest