Measuring Saddles

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Measuring Saddles

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  • Saddle measuring equipment
  • Dressage gullet measurement

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    11-25-2009, 08:59 AM
Measuring Saddles

I'm probably going up to the tack store this afternoon, and finally taking a good look at some dressage saddles in person. Unless I either find an unbelieveable value or some other miracle, I'm probably not buying today.

My problem is in ballparking fit, so I know what to not even look at. Scout is really a middle of the road horse as far as the width of his back and the shape of his withers, and is 14.1 hands and roughly 800 pounds. I'm taking the (inches) measurement of my AP saddle (which does fit him, no pain reactions, no dry spots) gullet with me, and planning on testing the fit to me this afternoon. Will that measurement even translate into being a reasonable analog for a dressage saddle gullet measurement?

Another question... is there a way to translate a measurement (inches or centimeters) into the narrow/medium/wide designations that most companies give? My AP isn't labeled in any way, shape, or form. I doubt that its a wide or narrow tree, as it does fit my very middle-of-the-road sized horse. Are there any other measurements that I ought to have with me at the tack store?

I've purchased saddles before, but never a dressage saddle, and since the last purchase three years ago I've discovered exactly how lucky I've been that my tack does fit fairly well. A pro fitting is out of the question, due to a severe lack of availability in my area, and the cost. Now I'm paranoid and trying to arm myself with as much info as possible. I plan on test fitting the new saddle when the time comes, and I'm comfortable with fitting the saddle to my horse, but I want to maximize the chances of whatever I eventually bring home fitting fairly well (The tack store is a good hour and a half away... out of state, lol).

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    11-25-2009, 09:16 AM
Before you go, try this, it is the best way to check your horse's fit against saddles without taking your horse with you.:

Go to the hardware store and get about 4’ of 12 or 14 gauge house wire (the kind electricians use to wire a house) and cut it in half. This was written for Western saddles but the principle is the same for English or Australian.

Take 2’ and shape it over your horse’s withers. Take the other 2’ and shape it over the center of his back.

Carefully take the wires and trace the inside of the wire on a heavy piece of cardboard (or poster board if you have it). Cut out the cardboard shapes and take them to the saddle shop to fit against some saddles.

This part is Western: Keep in mind that QH bars in one saddle may not be the same in another brand. There are no standards for saddle trees so each manufacturer has his own idea what dimensions make the designations.

As for you, your bum should not be squished against the cantle, it should have a little room at the top and there should be about 4" of space between your tummy and the swell.
    11-25-2009, 04:00 PM

Take a look at that link. Angle is more meaningful than cm. Cm is a length measurement from tree point up around the gullet and back down to the other tree point, more or less, and on a bare tree before a saddle is built. That's why there is no consistency from one model or brand to another.

Sorry for the short answer but I have to run.
    11-25-2009, 04:29 PM
That is an excellent concept but it doesn't take into account the gullet width. You can conceivably have the same angle on two saddles but one is 6" wide and the other is 8" wide. Even though the angle may be the same, the 6" could pinch and the 8" could sit on this withers.

The absolute best way is to take the horse with you - or, at least, the forms that are molded to his back.
    11-25-2009, 06:56 PM
Thanks for the replies!

I made templates, and checked them against the saddle I have to see how accurate they were (nearly perfect!). I went to the tack store, and they really didn't have any kind of selection of used dressage saddles, but I did get some info on perhaps trading one of my other saddles toward one of the new ones.

Thanks so much again! The quest continues, so any other suggestions are much appreciated!

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