Originally Posted by BluMagic
I can't decide between a 16 and 17. I have no saddle to try out in the first place.
Could I measure the Western girth I have for an approx. English girth?
A 17" English is a standard women's size saddle, generally. 16" is pretty small, for shorter and very thin women or bigger kids. My 8yr old actually rides in a 17" and it's not all that big for her! lol. Measure your western saddle and add 2", and they will give you an approximate size for English.
For what fits your horse depends on your horse. If your western saddle is Full QH bars, then he probably will take a wide or x-wide tree. If your saddle is QH or Semi-QH bars, then he will likely take a medium/regular or wide tree. Most modern stock horses need a medium-wide to wide tree. Medium or Regular trees in English saddles are built for "English-type" horses, TBs and the like that are more narrow. You might be able to get a regular/medium tree to work on a stock horse with a riser pad, but if you use a riser pad, then that usually means the saddle is too narrow in front for your horse, and will eventually cause pain or white spots.
Whatever you do, just DON'T buy one of those cheap package deals, or any leather english saddle (NEW) for under $500. Those cheaper prcied saddle are generally made in Asia and are not worth the money... The leather is far inferior, as is the hardware and tree. At best, it will look bad quick and may start to fall apart after a year or so. At worst, it will fall apart quickly and/or sore your horse. You're better off buying an older used saddle that's in good condition, or a synthetic like Wintec or Thorowgood (the HDR synthetics are cr@p). In looking for a used leather saddle, look for brands such as collegiate, stubben, crosby, courbette, passier, crump, nice, ovation, etc. Anything that is made in Europe or higher priced Argentine saddle, and retails for $700+. I have a 30 yr old Stubben that has been one of the best saddles I have ever owned! lol