Items

Forums
 
Sizing English and Western Saddles
 By Winniefield Park   •   23rd Apr 2015   •   1,472 views   •   0 comments


Whether you ride English or western, it can be tricky to find a saddle that fits both you and your horse. Saddle fit is essential for a happy horse. Imagine having to hike for a few hours in shoes that are too small, or think about how your feet feel when you’ve been dancing in shoes that just don’t fit. It’s the same for the horse. But, saddle fit is important for you too. Saddle fit affects your position in the saddle, the effectiveness of your aids, and the security of your seat. Yes, good riding skills can make up for a poorly fitting saddle, but a saddle that fits you can take out some of the struggle to become a good rider.

English and western saddles are measured a bit differently. English seat sizes are measured in inches or centimeters from the tail head just below the pommel, to the center of the cantle - the highest point at the back of the seat. Western saddle measurements are taken from the base of the horn (or where the horn would be if your saddle doesn’t have a horn), to the stitching on the cantle. Or, some companies measure from the top of the gullet to the top of the cantle.

Related: Saddle Up Series - Understanding Your Horse's Back

And while these measurements are a basic guide to the size of the saddle seat, they aren’t the only thing to consider. You will find that different brands of saddles fit differently, as there are other aspects of saddle construction that change how the saddle fits you. Use these measurements as a starting point, but don’t consider them a hard and fast rule, especially when choosing between different brands or types of saddles.

Even if your body measurements are the same as a friend’s, you might not ride in the same size of saddle. That’s because your personal conformation affects how a saddle fits you. If you’re tall and slender, you may need a saddle seat slightly larger than a friend who is otherwise the same body measurements as you, but shorter. This is because you need to accommodate the length of your thigh bone as well as the size of your bottom. So while your friend may ride in a 17” English saddle, you may need an 18”, even though you can both wear the same jean size (except for the inseam length).

Because western and English saddles are measured differently, you can’t assume that a 17” English saddle will have roughly the same seat size as a 17” western saddle. In fact a 17” English saddle is a fairly moderate seat size, whereas a 17” western saddle is quite large. The only way to be sure if a saddle fits is to put your bottom into it. You can get a pretty good idea by setting the saddle on a sturdy stand and sitting on it.

You’ll know a western saddle fits you if the swells are roughly 4 inches from your body. Your bottom should be against the base of the cantle, but not squashed against the height of it. You should be able to rise in the stirrups without hitting the swells. There are many variations of western saddle seat construction, and some people have preferences for things like size or steepness of the cantle and swells, but you should be secure, and not feel like you’re sloshing around, or wedged into place.

Every type of English saddle feels different and fitting is not only about size, but how the seat affect your position. Dressage saddles have a deep seat, all-purpose slightly less deep and close contact saddles may feel like there’s little around you, although they can have very comfortable seats and give you a good feel of the horse. When you sit comfortably in the saddle, there should be three to four finger widths between the top of the cantle and your bottom. More and you’ll feel too loose in the saddle. Less, and you’re likely to experience some very uncomfortable chafing up front. Leg flaps and leg block positions might be a consideration too. If the flaps are too long, it will muddle your leg aids. Too short, and your leg might feel like it’s swinging too freely, and you may get pinched between the top of your boot and the flap.

When you’re shopping for a saddle, it’s wise to try out as many as possible. Sitting on a saddle rack is helpful, but actually trying it on your horse is best. That way you’ll have a better idea of how the saddle fits you both.
Horse News More PB Articles About:  Saddle Fit,
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 Related Horse News
Saddle Up Series - Understanding Your Horse's Back - Part One
23rd Jun 2013   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
When it comes to selecting a saddle, any knowledgeable horse person will tell you that this is a task not to be taken lightly. The fit of a saddle can make or break a horse’s performance, and a poorly fitting one can cause severe ...
Saddle Fit a Cause to a Problem Horse
7th Jul 2015   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
I’ve seen horses go from being ‘spun’ to well behaved after someone took the time to fit the saddle properly. Saddles that pinch, rub or cause pressure points can cause a horse to either act out, or shut down, depending on their t ...
Horse Backs Are Not Fit For Riding
21st Nov 2015   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
In our quest to be ‘natural’ horse owners, we sometimes forget one thing. The very thing we get a horse for isn’t natural. In fact, sitting on your horse’s back isn’t even very good for it. A horse’s back isn’t made to carry a loa ...
Signs Your Saddle Might Not Fit
24th Jan 2016   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
There are a few ways your horse will tell you its saddle doesn’t fit. It may object to being saddled. When you mount, your horse may refuse to stand still. It may become nappy, or become more forward moving than usual. Its behavio ...
Sizing English and Western Saddles
23rd Apr 2015   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Whether you ride English or western, it can be tricky to find a saddle that fits both you and your horse. Saddle fit is essential for a happy horse. Imagine having to hike for a few hours in shoes that are too small, or think abou ...
Horse Saddle Slip - Stabilize Your Saddle
18th Apr 2017   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
One of the most common problems pony riders have is that the saddle slides forward. Some ponies are almost teardrop shaped, with large round barrels and narrow fronts. It doesn’t help that it’s almost impossible to keep them slend ...
Save Your Seat
13th Apr 2017   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Lots of riders have problems with rubbing and chafing from the saddle. There are a few simple ways to prevent this. If you’re just learning to ride, you might just need some time to ‘toughen up’. But sometimes, you need to make so ...
Saddle Fit Nightmares
7th Oct 2018   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
We know that you should ride your horse in a saddle that fits it properly. An ill-fitting saddle can cause all sorts of physical and behavioural problems. But some horses are more difficult to fit than others. ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by Winniefield Park
RavenSide Stud Breeds Record Breaker No More Pain
22nd Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Two horses have jumped over 103", and a new highest jump record has been set beating out the third whose best jump was 102.75". These top three record breaking horses are bred and owned by the same stable and all three are Thorou ...
Horse Rescued from Well
21st Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
A farmer helped his Amish neighbor's horses escape a frightening accident after they fell while backfilling a dry well. The Working With Horses YouTube channel covers many different aspects of working the land with real horsepower ...
Top PonyBox Karma Barns
15th Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
We’ve looked at stables with the highest rank, the most winnings and greatest total earnings, but some stables, many very successful in these things, are also leaders in good will. Karma points are earned or lost when members inte ...
Wild Horses Run Through Cyclists in Vuelta a España Event
13th Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
It was another man against beast match at the Vuelta a España, a cycling race that winds through the Pyrenees mountains and finishes in Madrid, Spain. Wild horses nearly collided with several cyclists as they sped around the mount ...
Stadium Jumping in the Modern Pentathalon
11th Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
We’ve heard of horses that are all-rounders, but there’s a type of human athlete that could be described that way too. Participants in the modern pentathlon compete in five different sports, including stadium jumping. ...
Devil Dog Slides While My Glory Charger Leads PonyBox Ranks
8th Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Friesians, TBs and Fjords are in the top ranks. 3P My Glory Charger became top horse and was one of several PYTHON Friesiens within the top fifty horses when he reached the #1 spot. My Glory Charger is a 14.1 hand 11 year old stal ...
Video of Horse Mistaken for Loch Ness Monster
7th Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
It’s easy to trick the eye. So when local residents in Scotland saw a strange figure traveling through the misty waters of a loch you might forgive them for thinking they spotted the elusive Loch Ness monster. ...
FEI Horses of History
6th Nov 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
1The FEI is compiling a series of videos that feature Horses of History that consists of horses that have been outstanding athletes in their sports. This video is about a horse named Charisma ridden by Mark Todd for New Zealand. ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2020   PonyBox LLC Create Account Advertise Terms Privacy Contact Us
211 Members Online 269,451 Registered Members 2,800 News Articles 11,922,559 Unique News Article Views 284,714,320 Website Views