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How to Measure Your Horse for a Saddle

YOU WILL NEED:

Your horse
Level ground
Camera
Saddle (your current saddle or a trial saddle from EQUESTRIAN IMPORTS, INC)
Flexible curve at least 16” in length (This is an architect's flexible ruler. You can purchase one from an office supply or craft store or from the Accessories page of this website.)
8.5” x 14” piece of paper
Felt tip pen
Ruler

FOLLOW THESE 8 STEPS:

STEP 1
Stand your horse straight and square on level ground against a solid background of a contrasting color. Take two photographs of your horse standing precisely as shown in the picture directly below. Be sure to take the photographs of the LEFT side of the horse. In the first photograph show your horse without a saddle. For the second photograph, put on the saddle without a pad and girth it up as if you were going to ride. After you take the second photograph, remove the saddle and proceed to step 2.

STEP 2
Facing the LEFT side of the horse, locate the horse’s shoulder blade (scapula). This will be your point of reference. Place the flexible curve on your horse’s withers, 1” behind the scapula. You are trying to simulate where the saddle tree would sit on your horse’s back, so it is essential that the flexible curve be placed behind the shoulder muscle in order to allow for complete range of motion of the shoulder.

STEP 3
Carefully mold the flexible curve as close as possible to the contour of your horse’s withers. The flexible curve should lie directly on your horse’s withers without applying pressure. Depressing the flexible curve into the horse’s muscle will yield inaccurate results.

STEP 4
Center the molded flexible curve horizontally on an 8.5” x 14” piece of paper. Trace the inside of the flexible curve.


STEP 5
If you would like an Online Saddle Consultation with our professional saddle fitter, label the wither tracing with the following details:

  • Rider’s Name
  • Horse’s Name
  • Breed of Horse
  • Age of Horse
  • Riding Discipline
  • Level of Training
  • Rider’s Height
  • Rider’s Weight
  • Daytime Phone Number
  • E-Mail Address

 

STEP 6
Make a mark at the top of the curve. With a ruler, measure down 17.5cm and make a mark on each side of the curve. Draw diagonal lines from the top of the curve to the marks on each side. Then draw a horizontal line to connect the marks on the sides of the curve. Measure the horizontal line as precisely and accurately as possible and write the measurement above the line.

 

IMPORTANT: To ensure accuracy, your tracing must be submitted in its entirety on a single sheet of paper. We cannot evaluate tracings that require assembly.

STEP 7
E-mail your wither tracing and photographs to info@equestrianimports.com. To e-mail your wither tracing, you MUST scan it, save it as a pdf file, and e-mail it as an attachment.

If you cannot e-mail your wither tracing and photographs, you can mail them to:

     EQUESTRIAN IMPORTS, Inc.
     1601 Bern Creek Loop
     Sarasota, FL 34240

STEP 8
You will be charged an Online Consultation fee of $95.00 for each horse and saddle combination. When we receive your wither tracing, photographs, and payment, we will contact you promptly to arrange a convenient time for your Online Saddle Consultation. The consultation will include our interpretation of your photographs and wither tracing, assessment of your saddle needs, discussion of saddle options, and our recommendation of saddles to try. Click here to pay the online consultation fee.


EXAMPLES OF SADDLE FIT:

This saddle fits the horse correctly. It sits perfectly level behind the horse’s scapula, allowing the shoulder a full range of motion, with the girth positioned a hand’s width from the elbow.

This saddle is too narrow for the horse. It is sitting too high in the pommel (front) and too low in the cantle (rear). This improper fit results in the rider’s legs swinging out in front of the rider’s point of balance. It causes pressure points under the rear panel, affecting the weakest part of the horse’s back. “Bridging” is a common condition created by uneven distribution of weight and contact through the middle (waist) of the panel (padded area underneath the saddle that lies on the horse). There is too much pressure under the pommel and cantle and a gap where contact is interrupted through the middle. Lameness or behavioral problems in the horse may occur after repeated use of a saddle that is too narrow.

This saddle is too wide for the horse. It is sitting too low in the pommel (front) and coming off the horse’s back at the cantle (rear). This improper fit results in the rider’s legs swinging back behind the rider’s point of balance. It creates too much pressure from the front to the middle (waist) of the saddle. A “rocking” effect may result due to the uneven distribution of contact front to rear. Your horse will most likely become intolerant of the continuous shock his back will absorb from the unstable rear panels of a saddle that is too wide.