How To Measure An English Saddle

When it comes to tack, we’re you’ll agree with us when we say that making sure that the saddle is correctly measured and fitted is one of the most important aspects of guaranteeing a comfortable and enjoyable riding experience for both you and your horse, as well as ensuring that you aren’t wasting your money, too.

Unlike the reins or the saddle blanket, when it comes to the saddle, there are a variety of different parts of its overall construction that need to be properly measured and adjusted, otherwise, you’ll risk it not fitting properly – and seeing as saddles are an investment, to say the least, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting it right the first time.

Even though measuring an English saddle can seem a little bit off-putting, don’t panic, because this is where we step in to lend you a helping hand. To make sure that you’re able to properly measure your English saddle, below, we’re going to be talking you through all the necessary steps. Read on!

How To Measure An English Saddle: Step-By-Step Instructions

As we’ve already touched upon above, English saddles are expensive. That’s why, besides ensuring optimum comfortability and enjoyment for both you and your horse, taking the time to properly measure an English saddle will raise your chances of getting your hands on an English saddle for the best value for your money, not to mention making sure that you won’t make a mistake and purchase a saddle to big or too little. 

By far, the biggest mistake that most horse owners make when trying to measure an English saddle is to only measure the size of the seat, and this is a huge mistake to make because there are a variety of other parts of the saddle that need to be measured, too!

These include the treewidth, flap length, and more, and it’s important not to overlook them otherwise you might find yourself stuck with a saddle that just doesn’t fit. 

So, to help ensure that you don’t accidentally purchase a saddle that is the wrong size, we’re going to be breaking down everything that you need to do to properly measure an English saddle below. Read on for the step-by-step instructions:

1. Set The English Saddle On A Saddle Rack

First things first, you’re going to want to begin by carefully setting the English saddle that you would like to measure on a saddle rack.

While this might seem like a bit of an unnecessary step to do, taking the time to place the English saddle on a nearby saddle rack will ensure that you’re able to measure all of the different parts of the saddle with more ease.

Once you have done this, proceed to locate the pommel (which is the middle hump that sticks up).

As a side note, if you’re planning on heading down to your local equine tack store and want to take the measurements there, then there will usually be a saddle rack located at the end of the saddle aisle for your convenience. However, if there isn’t one, then we recommend asking one of the employees to kindly provide you with one. 

2. Measure The Pommel Nailhead To Determine The Seat Size

Regardless of what brand of English saddle you are planning to purchase, the pommel will consist of two nailheads that will be drilled in on either side of the pommel lengthways.

So, as soon as you have located the pommel and spotted the two nailheads, you will need to choose one of them and proceed to measure it in a straight direction directly from the middle of the chosen nailhead, all the way to the very middle of the back of the saddle, which is otherwise referred to as the cantle.

As soon as you have made this measurement, you will have your seat size, and it is typically taken in half-inch increments, although feel free to use a different measurement format.

3. Measure The Center Of The Stirrup Bar To Determine The Flap Length

As soon as you have gotten your seat size measurement, we strongly recommend that you make a note of it either on your phone or with a pen and paper. Then, after you have done this, it will be time to proceed to the next part of the measuring process, which is determining the flap length!

To do this correctly, carefully lift up the top part of the saddle in the way you would if you were going to adjust your stirrup lengths. Then, once you have done this, measure the length of the exposed stirrup bar directly from the top all the way down to the very bottom of the saddle flap, and you will have determined your flap length!

In the same way that you did with your seat size, make sure to make an out of this measurement so that you do not forget it.

4. Flip The Saddle And Measure The Treewidth

For this last measurement, you are going to need to carefully turn the saddle upside down so that the underside of the saddle can be easily examined.

Once you have done this, take the non-padded leather (that you will notice is running directly down the middle of the saddle) and locate the panels of the saddle on either side of it. Then, take a moment to locate the four dots on each panel, and then proceed to measure the distance between the two dots (they should typically be made out of velvety fabric) that are closest to the gullet in order to determine the saddles treewidth.

Just like all of the other measurements that you have made, make sure to make a note of this measurement so that you don’t forget it.

Once you have done this, you will have successfully measured an English saddle!

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