English saddle fit? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-22-2019, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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English saddle fit?

I'm mainly a western rider but play around English from time to time. I was told that I need to be able to fit 3 fingers in the channel on the underside of the saddle, I've seen a few in tack stores that I like but I can only fit 2 fingers in the channel, and on other saddles I can fit 3. All of the saddles are "standard/medium" for those brands but all fit differently. What is the ideal width of clearance through this area? I have an Arabian mare with normal withers but a pretty short, straight-ish back.
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-22-2019, 10:10 PM
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So many English and dressage saddles have a gullet that is too narrow, in my opinion. Some brands more so than others. The width of the gullet won't have anything to do with whether the tree fits a short backed Arabian horse or not, though. I guess I'd get as wide as possible. I used to have a Stubben, but it was way too narrow in the gullet. Not sure which brands are wider. Might be a matter of trial and error.
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-23-2019, 04:35 AM
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Hi,

As with westerns, there is unfortunately no across the board measurement, so 'standard/medium' means nothing, unless you're comparing the same saddle brand. Yes, you should have about 3 fingers height between wither and top of gullet(as one of many considerations of saddle fitting) or else when there's weight in the saddle & panels are compressed, there's a risk of it sitting down on the spine.

Any saddle, regardless of English, western or otherwise, should not put any pressure on or within a couple of inches either side of the spine. I agree with Tiny that very many English(& Aussie) saddles have too narrow channels - gullet - the front may be ok but further back they tend to be very narrow. But then, Westerns usually have little/no real channel at the back...

Any saddle should not put any pressure at all over the scapula, or behind it for at least an inch or 2, when the horse is standing still. Any saddle should not put much if any pressure on the lumbar region - the rule of thumb is the tree of the saddle shouldn't extend much further back than the last rib.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-23-2019, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eryn Jones View Post
I'm mainly a western rider but play around English from time to time. I was told that I need to be able to fit 3 fingers in the channel on the underside of the saddle.
The finger fit thing is referring to height & also width.
Same as with a western saddle, you don't want the pommel to sit on the horses wither but to be slightly above it with clearance.
Saddle fit English can be as tricky as western.
You want the saddle channel/gullet to straddle the spinal processes not sit on them.
A bit of extra room either side of the bony spinal column is desirable, and all depends upon how your particular horse is built for a good & comfortable fit for your riding partner.
There really is no "standard" measurement like more commonly found in human apparel.
Trial and error often is the norm.
Try to borrow a few saddles for fitting and to see if you like the ride feel.
Don't limit yourself to a single manufacturer if at all possible, you might miss a comfy perfect match for you and the horse.

When searching for a saddle also remember that all those who have these saddles with change-able fronts...aka "adjustable gullets"... only the pommel changes not the entire channel/gullet of the saddle.
A saddle must fit the entire length of spine and the saddles underside properly for the horses comfort.
To many forget that changing out the gullet plate does not, repeat does not alter the rest of the saddle underpinnings.
Many deceive themselves that the saddle is a good fit... and may not be.
Happy shopping.
...
jmo...
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-24-2019, 09:19 AM
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Given that youíre going to be fitting a saddle on a horse thatís had some back issues that youíre working on, itís important that you get as perfect a fit as possible.
You should ideally buy from a store that has a qualified saddle fitter or can link you up with one.
A wider gullet would likely work better and as the horse is short backed and might have an old SI injury you need to look for length that will not have you sitting on the back of it but wonít sit beyond the horses last rib

Just winging it is not a plan
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-24-2019, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eryn Jones View Post
I'm mainly a western rider but play around English from time to time. I was told that I need to be able to fit 3 fingers in the channel on the underside of the saddle, I've seen a few in tack stores that I like but I can only fit 2 fingers in the channel, and on other saddles I can fit 3. All of the saddles are "standard/medium" for those brands but all fit differently. What is the ideal width of clearance through this area? I have an Arabian mare with normal withers but a pretty short, straight-ish back.

I personally feel like English is much "easier" to fit than Western, simply because you can see better what that tree is doing on the horse's back, and you can also possibly make alterations to the tree (which you can't for Western).


As with Western, the amount of clearance really doesn't matter -- just so long as you DO have clearance and that all other aspects fit appropriately.


Here is an excellent video on saddle fit.


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