I am thinking about buying a used leather saddle from a friend, but first I want to see how it fits on her. I know she needs a full QH bar, how can I measure the saddle to know it's the right bars? Also when putting it on her, how can I tell if it's the right fit?
I would search via google, "western saddle fit" This website has some excellent western saddles, FQHB with 7 1/2 gullets... www.freespiritent.com They are custom made, without the high price. They are at wholesale and accept PayPal. I'm going to get one one day from them. Good Luck! :)
You first want to measure inbetween the first two screws (or conchos) that usually sit somewhere in front of the bottom of the cantle. FQHB are usually 6.75"+. When you fit it on her you want to make sure you can get your hand in between the saddle and the horse even when the saddle is tightened (without having to force your hand in there). You'll want to make sure the swell of the cantle clears her withers and that the saddle doesn't interfere with her shoulder. If it seems like all systems are go here, the best way to find out if it fits wells is to ride in it and see how your horse reacts.
The underside of the pommel should clear the withers (the cantle is the back of the saddle).
Put the saddle on her with no pad. Make sure the front conchos are sitting just behind her shoulder blades. When you look at the front, the front edge of the skirts should be following the line of her shoulder (same angle). You should have 2-4 fingers of clearance between her withers and underside of the pommel.
Next, run your hand under the saddle from very front to very back. The saddle should be setting evenly against the back of your hand and you should feel the same light pressure all the way back, no tight spots or air pockets.
Finally, step back and look. The seat should be level, the back of the saddle should NOT pop up off her back, and the edges of the back skirts should be no farther than mid-flank. If they cover the whole flank, they could interfere with her hip movement.
Oh my bad, totally meant pommel not cantle don't know how cantle came out instead.
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