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Hi All,

HELP! Okay, I want to learn to ride English. I've been riding western casually for a couple of years, but just this last year I have really started dedicating a lot more time to learning; and wow, is it fun! Needless to say I still have a lot to learn. Anyways, I want to learn English so I have been saddle searching. I've done lots of research on different types, brands, and of course how to be sure it fits my horse. I found a beautiful Stackhouse saddle that fits my old Quarter horse pretty well but, my neighbor (who's logic I sometimes question for various reasons) has told me it looks to small for me... but, she might be right. When I measured myself my legs-back length is 21 cm, according to this I should be in a 17 ( but I've looking for 16" per her, and her trainers, advice). I've done the "four fingers on the cantle" estimation, and it checks out but I have very small hands.

The Stackhouse was a custom for hunter/jump seat, no knee rolls though. The seat is a 16.5, it feels comfortable for me but I would like to get some more experienced advice. I'm 5'4, 130lbs, thighs are 21 cm long. Mainly going to be doing flatwork, but from what I've been reading as long as its comfortable and not putting me in a chair seat I can use just about any saddle.

I have attached a few pictures. Also, my seat posture seemed to sort itself out when I was riding, I think you can tell the difference in the pics. I promise that's not an excuse for the the obvious need to build muscle and correct my posture.. yikes!


Thanks to anyone who can give me some advice :cowboy:
 

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Welcome to the Forum...

A 16" saddle is for a junior rider or smaller stature rider.
Saddle flaps are sized to the seat...the length looks a bit short for you.
You also appear to not be sitting in the deepest part of the saddle but bracing and pushed onto the cantle, and that is wrong and can in time sore the horses back.
There is no way you are putting 4 fingers across the saddle behind your butt easily, not the way you are sitting.

If this is the saddle your trainer is saying fits you... :frown_color:
Now, if you ride in a 16" western saddle that converts to a 17 1/2 - 18" English saddle which are adult sized saddles commonly used today.
Humor the English riders here and sit in several 17" - 18" saddles and see if you feel more comfortable, balanced when you stand up in your irons.
Right now, your legs are out in front of you when they need to be in align with you...
Your leaning behind the vertical...

Head, shoulder, hip and heel in a straight line is what you want to achieve and find...with you sitting in the deep spot of the saddle so when they horse moves forward you can go to a 2-point position and have your legs and hips support your bodies weight and balance not wobbling around...that is no different than in western equitation...but a very different feel in a English saddle to achieve.

So you need to measure properly that saddles seat size... you use a tape measure from the button at the pommel area to the center of the cantle.
What number do you get??


If I could get the forum to cooperate with my computer I would give you some illustrations...hopefully another member can do that so you better understand..
Hang in there, members will soon be posting to help you..
:runninghorse2:
 

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Thanks for your help!
For the four fingers measurement, I noticed the same thing as well. Thinking I must have been unintentionally leaning forward when I tested this way. One thing to clarify, it was my neighbors trainer...not mine! But thanks for having my back, if this was my trainer I would have been taken for a fool.
My posture does needs loads of work, videotaping my self has been the most helpful (and humbling) tool, glad you didn't see me a few months ago, HA!
I'm taking your advice that this is a bit too small. It is only the 2nd trial I have tried so I'll check out some larger seat sizes asap. My western is a 15" Courts. roper and fits like a glove.
I measured the Stackhouse, it is indeed a 16.5"...If anyone is in the Colorado area this beautiful saddle can be found at Rusty Spur in Elizabeth, it is just in great condition and so lovely...I wish it fit me!
I'll post some pics of different saddles as soon as I pick some up! Thanks, again. It is REALLY helpful to hear from more experienced riders!
 

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OK...able to slowly navigate the forum with all the construction now undergoing...
Please be patient with our members and responses slow in arriving...


So, a 16.5" saddle is the smallest of saddles for adult riders.
It is how the flap fits a mature leg, one with what changes a pre-puberty girls leg to the leg of a woman...bulk and heft of muscle.
It all goes together...you are trying to put a mature womans body in a saddle baely made to fit the petitiest of riders.
My best friend is 5'2" and weighs 112 pounds...she rodes in a 16.5 saddle when she was 20 years old and very slight of frame.
Now, age and maturity on her body, she still is 115 pounds and muscled, matured body she sits in a 17" saddle and looks good and comfortable. :|


By your own admission and when you look at those below links your measured thigh length puts you in a 17" seat saddle...a 1/2" means a lot in saddle fit and comfort, safety for you the rider and for the horses back too.
This saddle you are being told you fit isn't one someone at the barn is trying to sell now is it?
Your B/O, the trainer or a friends..:frown_color:
Go to a saddle shop and ask to be fit and try several saddles to sit in and do sit and feel the differences in manufacturers, seat sizing and your comfort and feeling safely astride...


I found some things for you for references and explanations to better understand what it is you need to be looking for in sizing and fit proper..
https://www.doversaddlery.com/how-to-select-and-size-an-english-saddle-for-a-rider/a/519/
https://www.farmhousetack.com/blogs/barn-blog/how-to-measure-for-an-english-saddle




I look at you sitting in that saddle and my gut clenches in no good a fit...
Please, please don't but this....

You will regret buying a saddle to small for your bone frame...remember those words cause you're going to hear them in your head every ride you can not accomplish your goals of riding properly.

Truth.

:runninghorse2:
jmo...
 

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Not from a barn, from a consignment shop. I like to think they (neighbor and trainer) just weren't thinking straight when I talked to them; just a bit of drama, I wont blab about it here... But, I will go for a bigger saddle :)
Thanks soooo much, horselovinguy!
 

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I'm taking your advice that this is a bit too small. It is only the 2nd trial I have tried so I'll check out some larger seat sizes asap. My western is a 15" Courts. roper and fits like a glove.

Western saddles are often 1.5" - 2" smaller than a appropriate English saddle in size and also very dependent upon the exact style of how flat, deep seat or combination of both making up the saddle.
Fitting like a glove to me, aka tight fit....
:runninghorse2:..
 

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Hmmm, ooooh goodness... maybe I should post a pic of my western also, lol! For western I've actually been into a western saddle fitter to get a fitting, I do believe they steered me in the right direction. I wouldn't say my western feels tight, I'd say my work gloves don't fit tight, seems to fit just right.
 

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Fit is also a personal preference...
But fit means you still must sit in the deep spot of the saddle, in English the stirrup bar is at a proper location so aligning of your body is balanced, stacked on top of each other the parts aligned to maintain safest astride work with your horse in unison...harmony astride.


Western works along the same principle...
You sit the deep spot of the saddle, the stirrups are hung from a acceptable location to keep your body balanced and aligned...
The difference to me is there is a ton more western saddle around you that locks you in it...that "fit like a glove" feeling.
When you actually find that "fit like a glove" feeling in a English saddle...balance, security, yet able to move freely...you've found the saddle.
You should not be fighting the saddle to have a nice aligned position...it should be more that alignment finds you and supports you in keeping it.

:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
 

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The rule of thumb is that you ride in an English saddle that is 2 inches bigger than the Western saddle. Of course, that is just a guideline and a starting point.


My barrel saddles I am most comfortable in are 14.5"
I do have a western saddle that is 14" that I am also comfortable in.
And I've ridden in 15" western saddles. My ranch saddle I use for AQHA is probably 15.5" which is a bit too big for me but it works for the couple times a year I ride in it.



My jumping saddle is 17.5"
So comparing that to my 14.5" barrel saddle, I am "outside" the rule of thumb.

But both saddles fit me well so it works.
 
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