Do I need a Dressage Saddle to Do Dressage?

Joanna Fisher
Joanna Fisher

International Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Joanna Fisher shares her thoughts on this key piece of kit.

I’ve taught many levels of riders from basic to Advanced, Show jumpers and Eventers.
The most important thing to remember is “dressage” is basically a smart word used for describing training on the flat as opposed to over fences or across country. Regardless of the discipline, training on the flat is the fundamental basics of horse riding. It’s about developing a partnership bond and understanding between you and your horse. It is a necessity!

Whether you are jumping a course of fences or dancing around a dressage arena, training, schooling, balance, rhythm, precision and discipline are required. The better the basic flat work is- the better the end result will be. The Grand Prix show jumpers are training their horses on the flat at least 4 days a week, not only building discipline but also strength.

If you want to specialise in dressage then I would advise one buys a good dressage saddle to encourage a longer leg and more elegant position for the rider.

Anyone in any saddle can train their horse, but it makes it far easier to train dressage especially the more advanced movements in a dressage saddle. Sitting trot is easier with a longer leg, the seat of the saddle will balance the rider for easier positioning, especially for lateral work.
Like any sport better to have the right tools for the job! Be sure to always use a good saddle fitter who knows their job and test a few saddles to find the most comfortable for you. A narrow seat is better for a rider’s back, but you want enough space for the horse’s spine. Too much knee roll can also block a riders leg, so check out the best options for you and your horse!


Joanna has written a collection of children’s books based on her horses over the years.
It has been published by award winning Candy Jar books and currently available in Waterstones and being read in schools. Click here to link to her website:

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