How to Measure for A Saddle

A saddle is an important part of your riding experience. It is a very challenging and difficult process to find a right saddle for the horse that perfectly fits. And, it is more difficult to find a saddle that fits the horse as well as the rider.

One of the major reason due to which a saddle does not fit properly is the poor measurement.

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How to Measure for A Saddle

Measuring a saddle correctly is very important for the horse as well as the rider. Any mistake in measuring process may become a cause of a huge loss for you and your horse. It is not a difficult process and you don’t need any expert skills for measuring the saddle as per your need and your horse.

This simple guide will help you learn how to measure for a saddle. Let’s start how you can do it yourself.

To get the correct measurement for your saddle, the best and easiest option is that you measure your old saddle first and note all the measurements, write down on the paper and then buy the new one according to that.

But the problem is from time to time when horse grows its features also changes along with it. Just like we humans grow and the size of our clothes changes, similarly the size of a saddle changes as the horse grows.


Another case is that if this is your new horse and you have no old saddle, then you will definitely have to measure for a saddle. Let’s see how can you do it.

How to measure the rider for a saddle

A perfect saddle is one that easily fits the rider as well as the horse. As I have already mentioned that finding a perfect saddle that fits you and your horse is not an easy task but it is not even a rocket science.

I’m focusing on the proper fit again and again because if you do not pay attention and take wrong measurements, you can harm yourself and your horse. Okay. I’ve scared you enough. Let’s start learning how to measure the rider for a saddle.

How to measure the rider for a saddle

An easy method to measure for the right size of the saddle for you is by measuring your own thighs. Sit on a plane chair such that your back touches the back end of the seat. Fold your legs to an angle of 45 degrees for easy measurement. Measure your thighs from buttock to knee. The size of your thighs shows you what size of a saddle that you will need.

This chart shows the size of a saddle that you will need:

Your Thigh Size of saddle
Less than 16.5 inches 15 inches
16.5 to 18.0 inches 16 inches
18.5 to 19.5 inches 16.5 inches
20.0 to 21.0 inches 17 inches
21.5 to 22.5 inches 17.5 inches
More than 23 inches 18 to 20 inches

Here are a few saddle tips that you might want to read.

Measuring the horseback length for a saddle

Now that you know how to measure a rider for the perfect saddle. Let’s move on to learn to measure the horseback length for a saddle.

Measuring the horseback length is as important as taking measurements of a rider. After all, the saddle will be used to put on the horseback. Our first priority should be the comfort and safety of the horse. A good saddle helps the rider to enjoy riding while the horse is comfortable and safe.

Measuring horseback width for saddle

The size of a saddle depends on the size of your horse. Measuring the back of the horse can help you to take the correct measurement for a saddle. To measure your horseback, follow the steps below:

  1. Start measuring from the shoulder blade. To locate that left up 1 front leg of the horse and note where the shoulder’s bulge appears. Note that point and for convenience mark that point with a washable color.
  2. Now locate your horse’s last rib, move your hand gently on your horse. By doing so, you will be able to easily find where the last rib is. Note the point and mark it with the washable color.
  3. Now take the measuring tape, set it 1 1/2 inches apart from the shoulder blade (to the side away from the head of the horse) now measure the distance between the first point and the second color marked on the rib of the horse.

Click here to read a guide on saddle fitting.


Measuring horseback width for saddle

The last step is to measure the horseback width for a saddle. To measure the correct width of horse you will need a flexible wire that will help you to easily get the size of your horseback. This size can be compared to the size of a saddle, to judge which saddle will suit your horse. Let’s measure the width.

  1. Find the shoulder blade of your horse and move your finger slightly below to it, about 1-2 inches.
  2. Place the wire equally on both side with its center on the back or your horse.
  3. Slightly shape the wire according to with the back of a horse and left it up.
  4. Measure the width between the two ends without disturbing the shape of the wire.

This measurement will give the correct size for your saddle that you will need. Now you do not have to measure anything else. Congratulations! you made it.

Measuring the horseback length for a saddle

Now, give this measurement to the saddle maker and get the perfect saddle for your horse.

Please note that this process seems very easy to do. However, the truth is, though it is not too difficult to learn how to measure for a saddle, it is very important that you take extra care while taking these measurements.

The Proper saddle is very important to keep your horse happy. Improper saddle affects the performance of the horse. It also makes the horse feels uncomfortable. Sometimes, it does happen that the rider does not even realize that the saddle is not a good fit for the horse.

Tack and Equipment

Now, you must be thinking that how can you know if the saddle fits the horse properly or not? The answer is that If you think your horse riding performance is not good and you are also seeing the signs of some problems that are directly related to bad measurements such as pulled rails, fussiness, wringing tail, etc. then you should not ignore these signs.

These problems indicate that you need to check the saddle of your horse.

It is important that you measure the saddle correctly.

A tighter or shorter saddle will not be comfortable for the horse and will affect his skin and health. However, a very loose saddle will not gain its position and slip to left or right and you and the horse might get injured.


Here is an interesting video on how saddles are made:


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