Different Types of English Saddles

If you are starting the hunt for your first saddle, it can be overwhelming on the options. With terms such as; close contact, all-purpose, eventer, flap, gullet, tree. It can get extremely confusing.

Let’s take a second together and break it down into 3 basic types.


The first basic type of English Saddle is an All-Purpose.

HDR All Purpose Saddle.jpg

All-Purpose saddles are a great option for those just starting out. It is a good first saddle, especially if you are not 100% about the direction you want to head in. However, these are a starter design as they are halfway in between a close contact and a dressage style of English Saddle. This means they will not put you in the right position to jump higher fences, or allow the long leg and open hip angle of a dressage saddle.



Next is a Close Contact English Saddle.

Antares Close Contact Saddl.jpg

Close Contacts are a popular choice for jumping saddles as they allow a close contact feel to the horse. They tend to have more of a forward flap to allow for the rider’s biomechanics of shock-absorbing legs for over fences. Typically seats of close contact saddles are not as deep compared to Dressage or All-Purpose. This will allow the rider to get out of the tack easier. You will find higher-end saddles in close contact designs.



Lastly there is Dressage Saddles.

Dressage Saddle.jpg

Dressage saddles are the easiest to tell apart when comparing English Saddles. Dressage saddles have long billets that go past the saddle flap. These are designed to be used with a shorter girth, compared to a traditional long English girth. They also have a very straight flap, and farther set back stirrup bars. This is all to allow the rider to have a deep seat and steady leg contact with the horse. Dressage saddles are also typically Black.