No matter whether you’ve recently purchased your very first horse and are currently in the market to purchase your very first saddle (or saddles), or you simply want to upgrade your existing saddle for a beautiful brand new one, shopping for a new saddle is easily one of the most exciting and gratifying aspects of being a horse owner.
However, even though it can be fun, it can also be super frustrating and time-consuming – particularly if you’re not entirely sure of how to correctly measure your own saddles.
Purchasing a saddle without first measuring it is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, as it’s imperative that you make sure the saddle is going to fit both you and your horse.
Unlike other types of tack, the saddle can be one of the most difficult pieces of equipment to measure.
So, in order to correctly do it, you’re going to need to make sure that you’re measuring a variety of different factors, including seat size and saddle width, as well as flap lengths and skirt lengths depending on whether you’re riding English or Western.
To help you along with the process and ensure that you’re able to select the right saddle for both you and your four-legged companion, this article is going to be breaking down everything you need to know. Whenever you’re ready – just read on:
How To Measure Your Saddle – What To Remember
More often than not, measuring a saddle is usually one of the most difficult pieces of tack to get right, which is why it’s so important to make sure that you’re well aware of what type of measurements you need to make… and how to make them!
By making sure that you’ve got all the measurements that you need on hand, you’ll find yourself having a far easier time shopping around for a new saddle – regardless of which type of saddle you require, or whether or not you wish to invest in a new or pre-loved model.
In addition to this, you should also make sure that you feel comfortable while sitting in the saddle.
If you’re ever unsure of what to keep an eye out for when doing this, as a general rule of thumb, you should make sure that you are able to easily fit the palm of your hand directly in between your body and the pommel of the saddle.
As well as this, you should also make sure that you are able to fit one hand directly between your body and the end of the cantle.
As a side note, it is also worth noting that when it comes to saddle seat sizes, you will often be able to enjoy a little bit of leeway when it comes to measurements.
For the most part, if you are planning on buying a saddle for your teenager or you yourself are petite in stature, then you will likely find that you are able to easily fit into a 15” saddle.
On the other hand, if you are an average-sized adult, you will likely find that saddles within the 17” range will be the most ideal size, and for those who are taller, saddles upwards of 18” and higher may be the best option to go for.
How To Measure An English Saddle
If you’re planning on riding English, then the first thing that you’re going to need to do is to measure the seat size. Locate the nailheads on the pommel and measure one of them from its top directly down to the very back of the saddle. Once you have done this, you will then have the seat size. Make sure to measure it in half-inch increments!
The next measurement that you will need to get is the flap length. To do this, lift up the uppermost part of the saddle and then begin to measure the length of the stirrup bar, all the way from the top right down to the very bottom of the saddle flap. Once you have done this, you will have determined the flap length.
To measure the treewidth, flip the saddle upside down. From there, grab the non-padded leather and locate the two panels on either side. Find the four dots across each panel and measure the distance between the two dots closest to the gullet. You will then have the treewidth and will have successfully measured the English saddle.
How To Measure A Western Saddle
If you’re going to be riding Western, then an English saddle simply won’t do, and you’re going to need to make sure that you get your hands on a Western saddle.
First and foremost, Western saddles are typically sized differently than English saddles, which means that you will typically need to measure around 2 inches smaller than your usual English saddle size.
So, if you typically ride a 17” English saddle, you’ll likely find that your Western saddle equivalent will measure in at 15”.
As for the skirt length, you will need to make sure that the skirt of the saddle does not extend anywhere past the hip area, and should instead stop at the very top of the hip. It’s important to make sure that you get it right, as skirt lengths that are too long can cause a lot of discomfort to your horse.
After you have determined the saddle size and skirt length, you’re then going to need to determine the overall saddle width. This is super easy to discover, as all you are going to need to do is to inspect the skirt.
If the skirt is poking out from the horse or appears to be too narrow, then you will know that the saddle width is too big or too small.