How To Measure A Western Saddle Gullet

When it comes to riding horses, it is very important that the equipment which you use fits your horse properly. If it does not, then riding could quickly become uncomfortable for your horse, and it could even cause them pain. So, when you buy any equipment for your horse, it is incredibly important that you measure them first.

It is also important that you measure your horse properly before buying equipment because equipment is expensive. Especially when it comes to purchasing a saddle. One of the most important components that it is important to measure correctly is the gullet.

If the gullet does not sit properly on your horse’s back, then the entire saddle will quickly become unsafe for both you and your horse. 

But how do you measure for a gullet? And more specifically, how do you measure for a Western saddle gullet? In this guide, we’ll be telling you how to do this. So to find out more, keep on reading. 

What Is A Western Saddle Gullet?

A Western saddle is a specific design of saddle. It is very popular, and generally this design is rather expensive to buy.

Originally, Western saddles were worn by working horses on cattle ranches, and because of this, they are the style of saddle that you will commonly see worn by cowboys in Western movies. But, of course, this isn’t why this type of saddle was originally designed.

As Western saddles were originally used on cattle ranches, they were primarily designed for safety and stability. The entire design of the saddle was created to provide security to the rider, as well as comfort, as you could find yourself riding a horse for a long time on these ranches. But what is a Western saddle gullet?

Well, a Western saddle gullet is the same as the gullet on any saddle, it is simply found on Western saddles. So, a Western saddle gullet is the tunnel of a saddle which sits beneath the saddle’s fork.

It is this part of the saddle which rests on your horse’s withers, and this is why it is so important that this component fits your horse correctly. But what are the other reasons for this? Let’s take a look. 

Why Is It Important To Measure For A Gullet?

As we have said, it is very important to measure your horse before purchasing a saddle. This is incredibly important when it comes to the gullet because this is the component of the saddle which will sit upon your horse’s back.

So, if it does not fit correctly, it will cause your horse discomfort, and it could make riding dangerous for you. 

The main reason why it is important to measure for the gullet, before you purchase a saddle, is to ensure that it fits comfortably on your horse’s back.

If you do not do this, and the gullet is too narrow, then it will not sit upon your horse’s back, and it will pinch on the muscles either side of the spine. This will cause your horse pain, and it could cause them to act out of character. Likewise, if the gullet is too large, then it will not sit on your horse’s back, and it will become unstable. 

A lot of people get gullet size and tree size confused. This is why it is important to note that the gullet is the gap between the two bars, not the entire width of your horse’s back.

The gullet is the channel that runs between the framework, whereas the tree is the framework itself. Both of these measurements will have an influence on the other, but they are not the same. So, with no further ado, let’s take a look at how to measure for a gullet.  

How To Measure For A Western Saddle Gullet 

Even though a Western saddle is a specific type of saddle, the method which you use to measure the gullet does not differ from any other type of saddle.

So, if you have measured for a gullet before, you will be able to use the same method to get the measurements for a Western saddle gullet. But, if you haven’t done this before, here is what you need to do. 

In order to prepare your horse to take gullet measurements, you will need to begin by standing your horse on a level surface.

From there, you should take a saddle and place it directly onto your horse’s back. But do not put a saddle pad beneath it, as this will influence the measurements. Instead, you should simply ensure that the saddle is completely level both from front to back and from left to right.

It is very important that your horse stays still throughout this process. You will need to look at the saddle’s position from the front of the horse.

The span of the gullet should cover the withers of your horse, leaving a gap of around 2 inches between the top of the withers and the bottom of the saddle. You will then need to use your hand to take the next measurement. You should do this by placing your hand into this gap to measure it vertically. 

If the gullet measurement on that saddle is correct, then you shouldn’t be able to put any more than 2 and a half fingers into the gap.

If you can fit your third finger completely into the gap, then the gullet measurement is too narrow. Likewise, if you cannot fit your fingers into the gap, then the gullet measurement is too large.

When you are buying a new saddle, then using an existing saddle to take measurements might not be ideal. But, this is the best way to get accurate measurements, as you can simply use the saddles measurements and adjust it accordingly until you have found the perfect measurements for your horse. 


When it comes to measuring your horse’s gullet size, it does take a bit of trial and error. Measuring your horse’s gullet size isn’t the easiest task, but it is one of the most important measurements that you can take when it comes to buying your horse’s saddle. So if you want to measure your horse for a Western saddle gullet, check out the guide above. 

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