How To Tell If A Western Saddle Fits Your Horse


There are hundreds of brands that make western saddles, and each brand makes various models. This variety is good since every person and horse is a different shape and size. Many riders know how to tell whether a western saddle fits them, but determining whether it fits their horse is a little harder. Here are three ways to tell whether a western saddle fits your horse.

How much space is there over the withers?

With the saddle on the horse, see how many fingers you can fit between the cantle and your horse's withers. Generally, you want to fit three or four fingers in this space. When you sit in the saddle, it will push down a little and come closer to your horse's withers. You don't want it to rest directly on top of them, and having three or four fingers of space when the saddle is "empty" should ensure it does not.

Does the saddle touch the back all of the way down?

Reach under the fenders, and see whether the panels of the saddle are touching your horse's back all of the way down. Sometimes, a western saddle will touch in the front and the back but not in the middle. This is known as bridging. It can cause pressure points to develop, leading to pain and muscle atrophy. Other times, the saddle will touch in the front but not the back, or in the back but not the front. You really want it to sit evenly on the back, with consistent pressure all of the way down.

Does the saddle come past the last rib?

Western saddles are generally made with long skirts. This gives more space to attach panniers and other items to the saddle when trail riding or roping. The downside is that sometimes these skirts are too long for short-backed horses. You want to make sure the saddle does not extend past the horse's last rib, as this can cause the horse pain and make it harder for him to move underneath you. If the saddle is too long for your horse, you may want to instead look for models with round or cut-back skirts.

If you check the three items above, you will get a much better idea of whether a western saddle fits your horse. With so many western saddles to choose from, you can rest assured that the right saddle is out there.


10 June 2022

Understanding Pet Supplies

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