Saddle Fitting Tips
Key features when assessing the saddle fit to the horse’s back:
The Pommel of the saddle should have adequate clearance over the withers, and not be tight laterally which will pinch the withers. As a rough guide, with a seated rider there should be at least 2 fingers’ width vertical clearance between the horse’s wither and the underside of the pommel.
There should be no restriction of the horse’s shoulder blade when in movement. The points of the saddle should sit an inch or two behind the shoulder blade to allow for its rotation.
The gullet (channel) must maintain sufficient clearance above the horse’s spine, both vertically & horizontally, to ensure no contact with the vertebrae.
The panels must have even contact along the horses back; there should not be any areas with either no contact (bridging) or tightness. The saddle should also not sit past the last rib as the weight of the saddle and rider cannot be supported beyond this point and can cause discomfort.
Need extra assistance? We sell a handy and useful saddle fitting “how to” kit.
How we Measure Saddle widths
We like to joke that determining saddle widths is like buying jeans at Costco; how saddles are stamped, even within the same brand (& pretty much all horsey items), and how they fit are very different! As adjustments and customization’s may have been made to the tree and flocking (and regular flocking compression from consistent use) since the original manufacture and the original stamp (if there is one) and as there is also no measurement continuity between manufacturers we have instituted a measuring system to try to provide a consistent reference point using inches that each saddle is measured with when consigned.
Saddle Widths: we measure saddles 2″ down from the top of the panel and 1″ in from the front (not including the thickness) of the panel and then across to the same spot on the other side. This spot is generally where a saddle finds it’s first point of contact on a horse’s back. We do not use the dot-to-dot measurement as we have found the “dot” placements to be very inconsistent (and not all saddles have them either) and are most often very high on the panel, in different spots from saddle to saddle and sunk into the panel (sometimes as much as a 1/2″ for each screw), making it measure wider than it really is.
Seat Size: Diagonally from the middle of the ‘button’ on the side of the pommel to the middle of the cantle
Saddle Flaps: From the Top of the stirrup bar to the bottom of the flap.
Measuring a Rider’s Femur measurement: From Hip joint (outside) to top of Knee joint (outside)
**The measurement information is provided as general information and is not a guarantee of size or fit. How they measure and how they fit can still be very different and there are so many variables (length of tree points, flocking, channel widths, panels, etc) that we highly encourage using our 7 Day Trial to determine that the fit is appropriate for both the horse and yourself.
**** Our location is not set up to have horses brought to our shop to try on saddles. If distance and time are an issue in your saddle search we recommend making arrangements at one of the many nearby stables to try on and test-ride the saddle(s) in a safe, horse-friendly environment. Please let us know if you would like suggestions 🙂 If you are stopping by with your horse trailer, please park in our back parking lot against the fence – Easy access to loop to/from 48th Street or 50th Street.