A lot of people knock the All Purpose saddle, calling it a “no purpose” saddle that makes too many trade offs to be suitable for either dressage or jumping.
In some cases, that’s true. But you shouldn’t cross the A/P saddle off your list. Depending on your goals and the design of the saddle, it might be your most comfortable choice in a saddle. I often ride in my A/P saddle because it allows me to be balanced on the flat (and ride with a slightly longer stirrup than my jumping saddle but a shorter length than my dressage saddle) but still hop over small jumps. I find it very comfortable for hacking because of the compromises. In fact many foxhunters also ride in A/P saddles because they offer a good solution for riding that spans both flat and fences.
However, many all purpose saddles are designed either with a dressage tendency, with straighter flaps, or a jumping emphasis, with a slightly more forward flap. Which one you choose depends on how you like to ride.
I grabbed a few saddles from our barn to show how the different designs compare. Freedom is modeling the saddles but they are not all mine so some of them don’t fit him quite right.
I didn’t mean this to be a Wintec comparison but that’s what was at the barn on the day I was taking photos!
In conclusion, A/P saddles can be a good choice for you and your horse if you don’t want to jump larger fences and you don’t need to have a really vertical leg position.
7 thoughts on “What does an All Purpose saddle look like?”
I love the Wintec Pro for jumping. To me, an all purpose saddle is for trail riding or when you want to ride arena work with a slightly shorter stirrup. I do this on my Highland Pony because he is super wide.
I have a Wintec AP that I use for schooling on the flat or trail riding. I have jumped in it, but it put me a little too far back for my comfort. My jumping saddle is a Collegiate, which I like a lot, and I can lengthen the stirrups for trail riding.
Nice post – helpful!
This is a really interesting blog because one of the issues I’m wrestling with as a re-rider hoping to get into horse ownership soon is what to budget for, saddle-wise. My background is dressage, but I really want to learn to jump because eventing looks like fun – nothing huge, but I certainly don’t want to get a saddle that’s going to make learning to jump ten times harder than it needs to be. At the same time, I firmly believe in the value of dressage/flat work – but I’d much prefer to avoid the cost and hassle of finding two saddles right away, given the trouble it can be to find just one if you end up with a tricky-to-fit horse. (A possibility I am not currently ruling out, since I don’t have a horse in mind yet. 🙂 )
The *right* a/p saddle is great. The trick is finding one that has the right balance. Make sure you find one where the stirrup bars are placed far enough back for YOUR anatomy. The biggest problem I see with a/p saddles is that the bars are too far forward and put you in a chair seat.