Size...Western vs English - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-08-2012, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Size...Western vs English

I am looking into buying an english saddle. This may sound dumb, but do saddle sizes run the same in both diciplines? In a western saddle, I am 14-14.5 inch. So would an english saddle that size be right for me?

Also--my horse has never been saddled english. I know this would vary with different horses, but do most western horses generally do fine with an english saddle on?


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post #2 of 10 Old 11-08-2012, 09:02 PM
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I've never met a horse who cared whether the saddle was English or Western. Might get a little confused if he's not used to posting for trot or going as forward as most hunt seat horses are expected to. I'm trying to remember but I think a Wester saddle, say a 15 inch is the same as a 16 inch English saddle. Somebody who has more current exposure to riding both might give you a better answer on the sizing though.

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post #3 of 10 Old 11-08-2012, 09:04 PM
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English saddles are measured differently so you typically add two to your western size. You would likely use a 16-16.5 English saddle.

Do keep in mind that the fit will be different so you'll want to try a saddle out to make sure it fits both you and your horse.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-09-2012, 11:08 AM
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English seat sizes are measured differently than Western. The measurement is taken from the nailhead at the side of the pommel to the center of the cantle. The seat size you need is related to both your femur-length and butt-size.

Seat sizing:
English saddle fit

You'll need to make sure the saddle is the right width and profile shape for your horse as well.

Check out the 9 Schleese videos; they'll give a very good intro to fitting the saddle to your horse:

Tree sizing:
Having a saddle-fitter is best. If that's not an option:
For the saddle, take a wither-tracing. Get a flexi-curve or a straightened-out coat-hanger (flexi-curve is most accurate and easiest). Lay it over your horse's back about 2" behind the rear edge of his scapula and press down to get a "casting" of his back. This is the place the tree-points on an English saddle should sit (approximately.). Now trace this onto a piece of cardboard and cut it out. Now you can take your "horse" saddle-shopping with you. When you look at an English saddle from the front, lift the flaps, and you'll see the tree points there, right in front of the billets, tucked into leather pockets. If the angle of the tree points matches the angle of your "horse", you have a good start. If you're buying online, look for a seller who will let you return the saddle if it doesn't fit. Look at your wither-tracing. Around 90 is about a medium. Wider is a wider tree, narrower is a narrower tree. All manufacturers have a completely different idea of what the various tree widths actually are, so you really need to try the saddle on your horse.
That's just the width. Remember the shape of the saddle from front-back has to match your horse's back as well.
Make sure that the saddle you get has good panels on the underside. They need to be soft enough to conform to the horse's back and provide cushioning, yet firm enough to provide support. No lumps are allowed.

A question about measuring

Last edited by freia; 11-09-2012 at 11:14 AM.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-09-2012, 11:27 AM
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I ride in a 15.5 Big Horn for western, and a 17.5 AP for English, but like others have said, every saddle maker is different.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-09-2012, 12:18 PM
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Here's a chart to give you rough comparisons.

The Right Saddle Size for You |

And another chart that works well for me.

Last edited by freia; 11-09-2012 at 12:28 PM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-09-2012, 12:31 PM
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Sorry for the double-post. It won't let me edit my post above. The seat sizing method on the last link I have above there isn't the one I meant to put in there. That method sucks. Don't use it.
This is the one I was looking for. - The Biggest Online Tack Wholesale Company : How To Articles\
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-10-2012, 12:34 AM
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I am a 13.5-14 size in a western saddle, but a 16 in an English saddle. I'd say add 2 to your western size and that's your English saddle size.

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post #9 of 10 Old 11-10-2012, 01:25 PM
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i ride in a 15 english saddle thats slightly too small and a 15 in western saddle thats slightly too big. they"re all made different, so i usually just find one thats comfy for both me and my horse.
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-10-2012, 07:18 PM
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I was always told that there's a 2 inch difference between English and Western with western being smaller. It holds true for me - I use a 17" English saddle and the last time I had a Western saddle it was a 15".
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