How To Measure A Saddle Gullet

Your horse’s saddle is one of the most important pieces of horse tack you can own, and it’s crucial that it fits properly.

If you’re in need of a new saddle and have never measured your horse, you might not know how to measure a saddle gullet.

In this article, I will cover some key information about saddle gullets, including how to measure a saddle gullet.

Keep reading to find out more.

What Is A Saddle Gullet?

The gullet of a saddle is the channel underneath the fork and bridges the horse’s spine. As a result, it is a crucial part of the saddle to measure correctly to prevent injury.

The exact measurements of gullets can vary between manufacturers, so when you’re looking for a new saddle, you need to make sure that you measure each one to find the right fit. Typically speaking, a standard gullet is around 7 inches. If a gullet measures larger than this, it is considered to be a wide gullet.

A Guide On How To Measure A Saddle Gullet

Step One – Find Level Ground And Secure Your Horse

To begin, you will need to get your horse to stand on level ground, and secure them if necessary to ensure that they remain still for the duration of their fitting.

Step Two – Place The Saddle On Their Back

Next, you will need to place their saddle directly on their back, without using a saddle pad. Ensure that the saddle is level from front to back and from side to side.

Step Three – Observe The Saddle’s Position And Measure The Height And Width

Following this, you will need to observe the saddle’s position from the front. The gullet of a well-fitted saddle should span the withers, resting around two inches below their highest point. In addition, there should be a gap left between the top of the withers and the bottom of the saddle.

The gullet needs to be measured at the front of the saddle. Place a tape measure on one of the saddle’s concho and measure across the front of the saddle to the other side (the other concho).

Next, you will need to use your fingers to measure the vertical gap between the saddle and the horse’s wither. When it comes to measuring the gullet, the “two-finger” rule is a good starting point. That being said, each horse is unique, and you will need to take your horse’s size into account.

Generally speaking, the gap shouldn’t fit more than two to two and a half fingers. If three or more fingers are able to fit within the space, then the gullet is too narrow.

Step Four – Determine If The Pressure From The Bars Is Even

Lastly, you will need to determine whether the pressure of the bars is even along your horse’s back. To do this, simply place your hand under the saddle and along the gullet.

Why Is It Important To Accurately Measure A Saddle Gullet?

There are a variety of different reasons why it is essential that you accurately measure a saddle gullet. These include but are not limited to:

You And Your Horse’s Safety

If you fail to measure the saddle gullet correctly, the risk of the saddle slipping or rolling increases significantly. This can not only hurt your horse’s back as your weight shifts, but will also increase the risk of you falling off the horse. 

Falling off your horse is never ideal, but is particularly dangerous when you’re out riding on a busy road with oncoming traffic.

Your Horse’s Comfort

Riding your horse is a luxury, but if they’re uncomfortable, it’s going to become more than a chore for them. You want your horse to be as comfortable in their tack as possible, not only so that they’re not in pain but also so you can both get the most out of the ride. 

An ill-fitting gullet will not only hurt your horse’s spine, but it will also pinch his withers as you ride. If your horse remains uncomfortable and in pain on every ride you take, it will begin to take its toll not only on how your horse behaves, but also on their health.

Your Horse’s Health

If your horse’s saddle places pressure on their spine, it will rub your horse and can cause pressure sores. 

An ill-fitting saddle will likely cause your horse’s back muscles to tighten. Over a long period of time, it can even cause permanent damage to the nerves and ligaments in their back.

If your horse is in pain on each ride, you will begin to notice a significant shift in how they act when you ride them. This can lead to unpredictable and skittish behavior, which can be dangerous if they decide they no longer want you on their back!

Can A Gullet Be Too Narrow?

Yes, a gullet being too narrow is a relatively common problem. A gullet that is too narrow will be much more likely to pinch, cause discomfort, and put pressure on your horse’s spine, which can lead to injury if you’re not careful.

Can A Gullet Be Too Wide?

Generally speaking, a wider gullet works to protect your horse’s back and helps support the horse rider’s weight. However, although it’s more common for a gullet to be too narrow, it is possible for a gullet to be too wide.

If the gullet reduces the size of the panels so much that they can’t evenly distribute the rider’s weight when in the saddle, then it is too wide.

In Summary

When it comes to measuring your horse up for a new saddle, the saddle gullet is crucial to get right for your horse’s comfort and health.

If you fail to get the measurement right, it can result in a variety of problems for you and your horse and can even compromise your safety on each ride.

Always make sure that you measure each saddle, as the exact measurements of gullets can vary between manufacturers.

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