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Saddle Fitting Guide for the Horse

A well-fitted saddle is an essential requirement of the horse rider in every manner. Not only will it help in equalizing the weight of the rider on the horse’s back, but it will also provide a proper fit and comfort to the rider. In short, a right-fitting saddle will promote the better performance of the horse and the rider. 

We all know that a single saddle fitting may not be suitable for every other horse. That’s why specific rules help you take the correct measurements for the proper saddle fitting. Also, it’s pretty obvious to say that your horse’s weight may change over time. Thus, it’s better to look for the right saddle fitting guide for your horse instead of choosing any saddle online. 

As we know, each and every horse differ in size and shoulder areas that define the length and width of the Saddle they require. Here we’ll help you out in figuring out the correct measurement of the Saddle for your horse. 

Fitting the Saddle on the Horse’s back 

As you place the Saddle on the horse’s back, there are bars that parallel either side of the gullet. They are there to protect the horse’s spine from the direct pressure of the rider’s weight. Thus, it evenly distributes the weight across the horse’s body. 

If the rider is on the heavier side, it’s obvious they’ll need a bigger saddle for the horse. At the same time, make sure that the saddle size, rider’s weight and the horse’s size all lie in equal proportion. 

How to Fit a Saddle to the Horse? 

As we all know, finding the right Saddle for the horse can be a challenging task. In the same reference, you can determine the following points – 

  • Seat size: Every saddle seat size differs from the other. Make sure the Saddle must not sit at the last rib. It can either sits a little forward for feasibility. 
  • Saddle Skirt Length: The Saddle’s skirt should not be too far from the hip area. Likewise, it also depends upon the size of the horse you have. 
  • Width of Saddle: The Saddle width will allow you to check how wide the Saddle will spread. 

One thing you have to be sure about is that Saddle should stay at the centre whenever you are checking it. If you want to check the most vital points, you must sit at the seat and check if it’s comfortable and convenient. 

Saddle Features that Determine its Fitting 

In accordance with the gullet width of the Saddle, people often forget to check the bar fitting. Similarly, they significantly impact the proper fitting of the Saddle for the horse. Here we have mentioned how the gullet or the underneath part of the Saddle will fit on the horse’s back.  

  • Bar Flare: 

As the saddle tree is the first part that sits on the horse’s back, you can fix the bar by moving it back and forth for adjustment. 

Make sure the front area does not fall too close to the horse’s shoulder, as it will interfere with the movement.  

  • Bar Slope: 

The bar of the saddle gullet should be in the absolute curve as the horse’s back. In accordance, it should be in close contact with the horse but not too suffocating simultaneously. 

  • Gap or Bridging: 

As the bars fit in the proper alignment over the horse, there’s no gap in between. However, if there’s a bridging between the saddle placement and the horse’s back, it will cause a dip across the back. Moreover, it will not allow the rider’s pressure to equally distribute over the Saddle. 

  • Bar Shape: 

If the bar of the Saddle is too much bending over the horse, then it will not be suitable for the horse’s movement. However, it’s rare and doesn’t often occur with most saddle issues. 

Check the Saddle’s Fit 

Once you are looking at the Saddle that you have to buy, make sure you always look at the tree first. There are two essential parts that you have to cover first – gullet width and bar angle. Many combinations are available in the market; you just have to make sure which one fits your horse correctly. 

Though there is no specific or standard sizing of the saddle tree, you can follow simple ideas for the proper fitting. As we talked about in the above passage, all you have to worry about is the gullet width and bar angle for the proper saddle fitting. 

Gullet Width: 

The width of the gullet will determine the placement of the Saddle on the horse’s back. Always make sure that the width is spread just 2 inches more so that it’s adjustable as per the horse’s comfort. 

Measuring the gullet first is more convenient and then moving further with other parts. In addition, always make sure that you are taking the measurement right under the bars. 


“Note that if the gullet is too narrow as per the horse’s measurements, it will keep the Saddle a little higher. On the other hand, if it’s too low, the Saddle drops down further without giving a proper fit. Hence, it’s always important to take the absolute marking when measuring the gullet width for the horse’s Saddle.” 

Bar Angle: 

It is obvious to know that the bar angle is mainly to be measured close to the horse’s back. However, most people do not likely forget to take measurements of that part for the correct saddle fitting. 

Just in case with the gullet width, too much narrow or wide range of bar angle will not be suitable for the horse’s back. 

Measurement of Horse Saddle

Remember that they differ in parts and structure when you are looking to measure a horse saddle. The seat size, gullet, saddle’s width, and tree size of the saddle will all be measured for the proper outlook of a saddle.

The proper way to measure any horse saddle is by sitting on a chair and taking the proper measures. You may use a measuring tape to be accurate, which defines the exactness of different angles.

If you are taking the measures for an English saddle, know that it does not have as large a cantle as the Western saddle. Similarly, there will be specific changes in an English saddle compared to the Western one. So, it’s required that you take the absolute measurements of the saddle before purchasing it online.

Saddle Fitting Guide: Size Chart

Rider’s Weight Rider’s Height English Saddle Size Western Saddle Size
60 – 100lbs  4’10 – 5’2 feet  15” – 15.5” saddle  13” – 13.5” saddle 
100 – 140lbs 5’2 – 5’6 feet 15.5” – 16” saddle  13.5” – 14.5” saddle 
140 – 180lbs 5’6 – 5’10 feet 16” – 17” saddle  14.5” – 15.5” saddle 
180 – 200lbs 5’10 – 6 feet 17” – 18” saddle  15.5” – 16.5” saddle 
200 – 220lbs  6’ – 6’2 feet  18” – 19” saddle  16.5” – 17.5” saddle 
220lbs and above  6’2 and above  19” and above saddle   17.5” and above saddle

If there’s any confusion in deciding the right size, you can always take it with your saddle expert. Also, whenever in doubt, you can always go for a size bigger than the actual measurement. Remember that taking a saddle that’s too small will make you sit on the cantle, which will be troublesome.

Final Thoughts

Remember that the saddle fitting of a horse is the utmost reason for going through all these calculations. So, it’s phenomenal to get the right saddle fitting for your horse and yourself. While other points can be put into use, you may also take professional advice from a saddle fitter. Hence, it will become easier to choose your horse saddle in the exact measurements.

Here we have listed the right angles that you can choose accordingly –

  • Normal Angle: 86 degree 
  • Wide Angle: 90 degree 
  • Extra Wide Angle: 94 degrees    

While there be other ways to measure the proper saddle fitting for your horse, you can follow the above-given information for reference. If you want to buy a saddle from our website, do not worry, as we can help you find the perfect fitting Saddle. You can call or email our experts, and they will guide you through the absolute fit for the horse. 

Frequently Asked Questions

To figure out the exact fitting of the saddle, you need to take the proper measurements first. If you have a pre-used one, you can give in the order by confirming its fit and size for the new one.
The two main categories of horse saddles available in the market include English Saddles & Western Saddles. Under these categories, you will get a wide range of saddles that will be useful for different riding styles. Hence, you can get horse saddles for sale as per your riding criteria.
It's likely to say that the saddle fitting depends upon the measurements you submit at the time of purchase. You must provide the exact figures of saddle measurement, so there's no confusion later. Also, be sure that we will provide you with the total size you inform us of while placing the order.
If you are looking at it from a general point of view, only a person sitting on the saddle can make out the exactness of the fender's position. So, in order to check the exact fitting of the saddle and placement of the fenders, you first need to be seated on it. Then you have to see if there is enough space to place a hand between your thigh and the knee pad.
If the girth of your saddle is too tight or too loose, it will undoubtedly cause discomfort to the horse. As a result, there will be a reduction in the horse's performance, which may lead to a sudden change in their behavior. The best way to check the fitting of the girth is by sliding two fingers between the girth strap and the horse's skin. Also, if your horse's movements are more accessible, always buckle up an inch more as they may loosen up.
The most important and common factor of a properly fitted saddle is the balance and coordination between the horse and the rider. If the saddle fitting is improper, it will make the rider or the horse feel uncomfortable. Thus, it may even result in accidental falls and similar events.
Horse saddles usually come with an average weight of approximately 8 to 10 kg. However, it depends upon the category of tackle you need to buy. For example, Western saddles are always a bit heavier than English saddles as they come with many features. So, depending on the design and size, we have a range of saddles that may weigh between 6 kg to 10kg.
We all know that horse saddles are important for comfortable and stable riding. Similarly, the rider uses the device to sit comfortably and communicate with the horse during the ride. Thus, the "seat" is the most important part of a saddle, and it must not be too wide or narrow for the right placement.
It's quite easy to identify the quality just by looking at the stitches of the leather saddle. If they are neatly done, then it's absolutely a high-quality saddle. However, if the surface of the saddle is too smooth, then it's not a genuine quality leather saddle. In addition, no matter what material of saddle you purchase, if the stitches are improper, then it's not a great deal!
If you are purchasing your first saddle for horse riding, it's obvious to face difficulty fitting it yourself. Thus, you can find a professional saddle fitter who can help align a saddle on the horse's back. More so, they will help set the panels, clearance at the wither, and other small details.


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