Western Saddle Size - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-21-2011, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Western Saddle Size

Alright, I have a very vague question to ask. Unfortunately I am an english rider, done hunters and dressage my entire life. I have ridden western a handful of times, so unfortunately my knowledge on western tack is very limited.
I would like to get him a western saddle, however I know nothing about what I should be looking for. I do not what size I should look for, or any of the other things that come along with choosing the best western saddle(with english, seat size, the shape and size of the flaps, different types of saddles, close contact, jumping, dressage, all purpose etc).


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post #2 of 13 Old 12-21-2011, 12:00 PM
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I have found as a general rule, western saddles run about 2 inches smaller. I ride in a 16 inch western saddle and a 17.5-18 inch English saddle. The best way is to go to where the western saddles are and sit in them! You should be able to fit 4 fingers between your thigh and the pommel.
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-21-2011, 12:09 PM
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I have made the switch totally fairly recently. I ride in a 17 a/p, but a 16 seat in a western. I will say that I personally like the feel of a close contact (butterfly) skirt on a western saddle, as well as a narrow twist, and a deeper seat. Guess that makes me feel more like I would in an english saddle........lol, So, I ride in a reining saddle......just have more leg movement and contact, I think, but JMHO. I also do reining, but that is another subject.

THe biggest thing to get used to is the weight, obviously.

You will also need to try a few and figure out what fits your horse. Not only the bars and gullet measurement, but the length of the skirts on your horses back, since you don;t want them too long. Frankly I have found it much more complicated, but I am sure the western riders going english say the same thing!

Good luck! Have fun!

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post #4 of 13 Old 12-21-2011, 01:10 PM
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Western saddle fitting for the horse is a nightmare because nothing is standardized. For size, I use a 17.5 & 18 English and a 16 western. With some saddles, I could probably fit in a 15 western. A lot depends on how you sit, how high & steep the cantle is, etc.
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-22-2011, 08:47 AM
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The good thing about the Western is that you mostly look for the size to fit the butt, not butt + legs like in English. I go with 18" English + very forward CC (as my legs don't fit anywhere), but my Western saddle I sold this year was 15" and perfectly fit my butt. So really depends. English size - 2 is the rule, but it's not always true.

As for types, unless he's planning on doing something specific (like barrels or cutting) I'd go with just usual (pleasure/trail) saddle. You can also look into synthetic - cheaper and easy to care.

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post #6 of 13 Old 12-22-2011, 01:40 PM
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If I remember correctly from some of the pictures I've seen of you, you are skinnier than I am and I ride in a 15" saddle.

As for measuring for the bars and gullet and such, here is a site that gives you an idea.
Western Saddle Fitting and Different Tree Sizes

Unfortunately, there is no set standard for the size of a certain tree. A FQHB saddle with one maker may be wider or flatter than a FQHB saddle with another maker.

You may end up wanting to get a saddle fitter (or just someone really experienced with western saddles) out to take some of the stress off of yourself.

You can take a wither tracing of your horse, measure the width 3 inches down from the apex of the withers, and that will give you an idea on the gullet width you'll need.

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post #7 of 13 Old 12-22-2011, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Aww thank you so much! I love anyone who calls me skinny Great link! I will bookmark it. I feel so lost with this search for another saddle. Definitely not my level of expertise. Thank you so much for the information.
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-22-2011, 03:27 PM
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just like english, a westen isnt just a western. There are all diiferent types. Close contact, trail, roping, endurance, barrel. They are all different and do different things. Seat sizes tend to run two inches smaller than english. There are also all differnt trees made to fit different horses. You havent posted enough info for help in choosing the "best saddle". What are you going to be doing in it ?
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-22-2011, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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This saddle is to be used for trails.
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-22-2011, 04:30 PM
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If you go to the bigger saddle shops like Western saddles; Billy Cook, Circle Y , Tucker & used western trail saddles they have a pretty good education section. They will also have differnt sections for different types of saddles like trail, For you I would recommend close contact trail or a horned or non horned western endurance saddle. These tend to be comfortable and lighter than saddles meant for working cattle. Barrel racing and other sport saddles are designed more for holding you in the saddle for short periods and probably wouldnt be comfortable for long trail rides.
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