Four-star event rider Coral Keen provides one H&H forum user with some helpful advice on whether they need a jumping saddle and how much difference they can make with regards to performance

Q: “Do I need a jumping saddle? I was just wondering if it is beneficial for riders to use a jumping saddle when jumping up to a maximum height of 90cm please? Is there a difference between using a GP (general purpose) saddle and a jumping one?”

A: If you are comfortable in your saddle, your lower leg feels secure and in a good position, you are in balance with your horse, and your trainer hasn’t suggested otherwise, I’d say you’re fine jumping in a GP saddle at this height.

Jumping saddles typically have a very forward cut, close contact design and a flatter seat to allow greater freedom of movement for the rider when in the jumping position. The saddle seat will influence your ability to sit properly and in balance and to be able to give good aids to the horse, so that the exercises are harmonious. A jumping saddle will also naturally encourages you to sit in a relaxed two point seat with forward soft hands allowing the horse to move and jump freely.

If you are not sure, consider the following:

  • Does your leg hang comfortably and loosely straight down?
  • Does your flap allow your leg to support you in a two-point position over the jump?
  • Is the saddle flap long enough to avoid having your boot top catch on it?
  • Can you rise to the trot comfortably?
  • Are the stirrup bars in the correct position to allow you to achieve the shoulder-hip-heel straight line?
  • Is your knee comfortably placed on the flap or is it angled outwards?

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You could also ask for some advice from an expert who can look at you while you are riding and see whether a jumping saddle might beneficial. So, without seeing you it really depends. If budget is an issue, and you do feel comfortable, you are probably doing just fine in your GP.

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