How to Measure Saddle Size

There are a few key measurements that you need to take in order to measure a riding saddle. When it comes to the English saddles, the key measurements to take are the seat size, flap width and flap length. Read on to learn how to properly measure any riding saddle.

Tree size

What's the saddle tree size?

Before purchasing a new saddle, it’s important to know how to measure a horse’s size properly. While the width and tree size of a general English saddle should be roughly the same, Western saddles are different. A Western saddle should fit properly between the withers and gullet if it is between two and three fingers wide. If the saddle is too narrow, you may need to use extra padding to prevent slipping.

Seat size

The seat of a saddle is the top part of the saddle, whose job is ensuring the comfort of the rider. It’s also important for the horse, as it helps the animal move freely. The seat is equally important when measuring the saddle’s fit.

Western saddles typically come in three sizes. Narrow sit bones are smaller than average, while medium and wide sit bones are larger than average. Measurement of a western saddle’s seat is typically taken from the top of the gullet and the back of the swell. To measure the saddle seat, put the front of the tape measure to the back of the pommel and bring it all the way back to the seam of the cantle.

What's the saddle seat size?

English saddles

English saddles are made with two parallel panels and should have four felt knots embedded into them. To properly evaluate the fit, the distance between the knots must match the horse’s width. The proper fit will make a noticable difference in your riding experience.

Key measurements of an English saddle:

  1. Seat size
    Take a measuring tape and put it in the middle of the pommel button diagonally across to the middle of the cantle.
  2. Flap width
    Find the most forward point of the flap and measure from there across.
  3. Flap length
    Measure from the top to the end of the flap.

From the back of your buttock to the point of your knee

When measuring your saddle size, make sure to sit in a chair with your hips and shoulders in line. You want to ensure that your buttocks don’t touch the back of the chair. Use a measuring tape to measure the distance from the back of your buttock to the point of your knee. If you’re in between sizes, go for the bigger one. When measuring a saddle, always remember to take your thigh measurement. Saddles that are too short or too long can cause knee problems. Also, make sure that the saddle seat curve begins at your seat bones. Taking these measurements will ensure that the saddle will fit properly. Generally, an average adult needs a 17” riding saddle.

Next, measure the depth of the seat. The depth of a saddle should fit well in your hip area. The seat depth should be at least two inches deeper than your thigh. You should also allow enough space to put three or four fingers between the seat edge and the back of your knee.

Saddles on a trestle

Using a measuring tool

Using a measuring tool to measure saddles can make purchasing the correct size significantly easier. You will need a measuring tape or a wire that is at least eight inches long. They will be useful for you if you have no experience in saddle fitting. The wire you use should be able to keep the shape when you measure the saddle.