With English saddles, there are two sizes which are important to take into consideration when choosing the perfect fit for horse and rider: the seat size and the gullet size. These two sizes will determine which size saddle you should get to ensure optimal comfort and performance for both you and your equine companion. It is important to note that ill-fitting saddles can cause immense discomfort, pain, balance issues and increase the likelihood of injury for your horse. For the rider, a badly fitted saddle can inhibit your riding ability and cause preventable muscle aches and pains that you are likely to experience.
Read this horse rider’s saddlery guide on choosing the perfect fit, for both horse and rider.
The seat size is all about the rider, by determining your seat size, you will know which size saddle to get in inches. When shopping for saddles online, you will notice that the product description will include a number and the inch symbol (“). This number is the size that you should take into consideration for your own comfort as a rider – the seat size.
How to Determine Your Seat Size?
To determine your seat size, you should measure the length between the start of your knees to the end of your glute muscles. The easiest way would be to sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground, then take a measurement tape and run it along the outside of your thigh from your knee to the end of your buttocks. This line of measurement is illustrated below in Figure 1.
From this measurement, you can then convert your upper leg measurement into the required seat size in inches. Check out the below saddle seat size conversion chart to determine which size saddle you should be getting:
Just as crucial as the seat size is for the rider, determining your horse’s gullet size is equally as important. A gullet size is made to fit the width of a horse’s back, there are a variety of gullet sizes such as narrow, medium and wide. Generally speaking, the average horse requires a medium size gullet, whereas larger horses, like warmbloods or draft breeds, may require a wide or extra wide saddle. If you are unsure of your horse’s gullet size, it is recommended that you consult with a professional in order to determine the correct gullet size of your horse. The position of the gullet is illustrated in Figure 3 below.
Fitting Your New Saddle to Your Horse
Now that we have discussed the sizes that you need to take into consideration before you order your new saddle, head on over to Part 2 of “The Horse Rider’s Saddlery Guide to Ensuring the Perfect Fit”. Part 2 will discuss how to fit your new saddle to your horse once it has arrived.