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titanium 12-13-2013 02:19 AM

Saddle Sizes
I'm looking at buying a western saddle for when I bring my QH back into work. Just something big and comfortable to take him trail riding in. My question is I fit a 17" comfortably but I'm currently eyeing off a 16" saddle. How much of a difference with this one inch make? I'm just curious as to if I should try and stick to a 17 or not.

(Keep in mind I'm 5'7 and somewhat 'heavier' aka I have a big bum. I fit super well in a 17)
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DuckDodgers 12-13-2013 02:57 AM

In my opinion, one inch makes a huge difference. You'd probably be just fine jumping in a friend's 16" for a quick ride, but if a 17" feels right for you then I wouldn't look at anything smaller than a 16.5". I have had the opposite problem- I'm comfortably in the 15" size range in western saddles, but seriously considered buying a 16" Circle Y earlier in the year. The guy let me try the saddle, and the seat seemed WAY too big compared to the 15" that I've ridden in. Super comfy, but I was not willing to buy a saddle that really didn't fit me at all because of the good price and comfort.

The only way that I would consider doing it is if you are either able to sit in or try out a number of 16" saddles beforehand, or if you are willing to resell this saddle if it doesn't fit you properly. 16" is a pretty common western seat size, so if you have friends with western saddles then it is possible that you have some you can put your butt in. If this particular saddle is local, then I would strongly suggest a trial period, or going to the seller/tack store/whatever and actually sitting in it. The fit between sitting in it on a saddle rack and on a horse can be different, but you should be able to tell well enough if it definitely won't work before you buy it!

Also- you don't mention what sort of saddle you normally ride in. Have you been riding English up to this point and looking to buy your first western saddle? Or are you just looking for a new one for bringing your horse back? If you're used to riding in a 17" English saddle, then a 17" Western saddle will not be the correct size. Western and English saddles are measured differently, so for the most part a 17" English saddle is comparable to a 15" western saddle. Pardon me if you are aware of this difference or have never ridden English, but not everyone knows about saddle sizing between disciplines!

Tracer 12-13-2013 03:00 AM

When you say you fit a 17" comfortably, if that in western, stock or english? I'm a 17" in stock and 18" in english, and only just fit a 17" western.

titanium 12-13-2013 05:08 AM

Well there you go! I didn't actually know about the size difference! I'm glad I thought to ask.

And I am currently riding in a 17" all purpose. I did have a stock saddle but it broke a few years ago and I have no idea what size it was. I've ridden in both western and stock saddles, but I just really love the western saddles.
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SouthernTrails 12-13-2013 06:17 AM


If you ride in a 17" English, the average conversion is to a 15" Western, but most people who are used to English often go with a 16" in Western for the extra room....


gigem88 12-13-2013 07:17 AM

The only way for me to know if it's a good fit is by sitting in the saddle that I'm interested in.

Saskia 12-13-2013 07:48 AM

I usually ride in a 17 inch English, maybe I'd prefer a 17 and a half. I can ride comfortably in a 15.5 inch, but I prefer riding in a 16 inch (western). Depends on the seat as well - you'd think they'd all be the same but there not! Sometimes I'll sit in a 15 inch with heaps of room, or sometimes she are super small, just depends on how it is designed.

wdblevin 12-13-2013 07:55 AM

My dressage saddle was a 17.5 and my Western saddle is a 16.

When our horse was getting fitted for the High Horse Eldorado we are now using, I talked about going up one size so my hubby would be comfortable. The fitter said I wouldn't be in that bigger size and because I am the regular rider I should go with what fit me (once we got the right saddle for the horse).

titanium 12-13-2013 09:17 AM

Ah yes, I can see what you guys mean. I asked a saddler and she suggested a 15'.

Saddlebag 12-13-2013 10:45 AM

The tree in a western is the same length for both the 15" and 16" seat. It is longer in a 17". The tree is not to exceed the last true rib. I find the rib midway down the belly then either ruff the hair drawing a line that follows the rib or use chalk. Nowadays one can often get a better deal on 15" saddles as there is a greater demand for 16's and 17's.

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