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Comparison of English Seats

At Triple Creek Farm we teach the traditional Balanced Seat. Many potential students and parents exploring equestrian instruction are not aware of the finer distinctions beyond English and western riding. Therefore, we offer the following information. English riding can mean Dressage Seat, the traditional Balanced Seat, Hunter/Jumper show seat, or the Saddle or Park Seat. While all these riding methods employ an English style saddle, they are quite different. 


Dressage is the oldest of the disciplines and it embodies the core methods and techniques of riding. Translated from the French, dressage means “training”. It takes place on flat riding surfaces and involves precision and balance. At the highest levels it is an art form. 

The Balanced Seat is the second oldest of seats still in use today. It is directly derived from military use and is the most effective seat for demanding equestrian sports such as polo, cross country jumping, and fox hunting. 

History of the Balanced Seat       Balanced Seat Discussion Forum (coming soon)     The Balanced Seat

The Hunter/Jumper Seat began as an American offshoot of the traditional Balanced Seat in the 1970s. It contains a series of simplified techniques and forms useful in a horse show arena, which is always flat and has groomed even footing and break-away jumps. It is the largest segment of the "English" riding market, and its hallmark is its wide acceptance as a popular method of riding for those who wish to limit their riding to fenced and indoor arenas.

The Saddle Seat or Park Seat has its origins in the plantations of the old South. It is a dramatic stylized form of riding highlighted by high stepping horses that cover a great deal of ground very smoothly. This riding method gained a resurgence of popularity after the turn of the 20th century when wealthy urban equestrians on costly horses employed it in their fashionable Sunday rides on bridal paths from New York’s Central Park to Golden Gate Park in California. 

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Triple Creek Farm
Bob Wood    941 Longs Gap Road    Carlisle PA  17013    717/243-8178    triplecreekfarm@gmail.com

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Last updated 09/03/09