English saddle fit question - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 04-30-2011, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Location: IL
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Question English saddle fit question

Hi there, I am a newbie trying to figure out what size saddle I need and have some questions.

I know there are several factors that determine what size saddle you need- and from all my calculations I should fit into a 17 or 17.5in saddle (based on height, leg length, etc). I have used every english saddle calculator out there and this is what they come up with. BUT when I went to try on saddles at our local tack shop, the lady insisted I would need a 19in saddle or bigger (I tried several on). Now, I know it's just a number, and I don't really care if the saddle fits me, but from everything I've read online that saddle would be too big for me. I can't really tell when I am sitting on the saddle if it fits right (this is my first english saddle, so I really have no idea). I hate to spend the $$ on the wrong size saddle. I live out in Western country, so I'm just afraid the lady didn't know how to really measure the fit right...

However, she was basing her calculations on needing 3-4 inches between my butt and the back of the saddle...And that's it. When I asked if my knee/leg was falling in the right spot she said 'as long as your knee is somewhere on the suede you're fine'.

Is that right? When I see other people in english saddles, it seems like the knee should fall at the bottom round (corner?) of the flap where it starts to angle. Mine was at the top, making me thing the saddle was too big? Or maybe I just need smaller flaps? It was an AP saddle, not a dressage saddle if that helps...

About me, I am about 5ft tall and my weight goes up and down, but I am a bigger girl for my height, usually between 130-150.

Thanks so much for your help!
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post #2 of 4 Old 04-30-2011, 10:46 PM
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At 5' and and 130 pounds a 19 inch saddle would be gynormous on you!

I think a 17 inch would be about right. A lot depends on the length of your thigh bone. When you are sitting so that your seatbones are right in the middle of the saddle, your thigh on the flap should point your knee at the curve of the flap that is the farthest out. I mean the place, as you said, where it starts to curve back. All of your knee must be on or just behind the knee block (often but not always suede).

What size seat of Western saddle do you ride in? Most people in western saddles use saddles that are actually too large for them. But if you use a 15 or 15.5 (my est as correct for you) then an English saddle of 17 to 17.5 would be a good correlation size.
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post #3 of 4 Old 05-01-2011, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Tinyliny! I ride in a 15 western saddle, so it sounds like I really s/b in a 17 or 17.5 english saddle.

Soooo...I have to ask, what is an acceptable amount of space between you and the back of the saddle? I've read a certain number of 'fingers' (which is where I assume the lady got her 3-4in) should fit between you and the saddle. But is it ok if you don't have that much space? Should I not worry about it as long as it feels comfortable?
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post #4 of 4 Old 05-01-2011, 06:00 PM
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I would go with the larger size, 17.5". My daughter is on the thin side, size 5/6 in pants, and 5'7" tall and she rides in a 17.5". Her best friend is about 5'1" and a tad chunky and her 17" saddle just barely fits her rear.

The saddle does need to fit your bum, but it also needs to fit your leg. With an AP saddle, your knee should be somewhere between the bottom and the center of the padded flap if you have your stirrups set at "jumping" length (bottom of the stirrup at your ankle bone). With your height, you'll need to find a saddle that runs "short" in the flaps, or you might consider a close contact saddle. CC saddles often have shorter flaps and those that are "equitation" saddles tend to have a slightly deeper seat and flaps that aren't so forward.
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