The improper western saddle for your horse might cost you a lot of money. An uncomfortable saddle can harm your horse’s back and ruin your riding pleasure. Sizing a western saddle will ensure that both you and your horse have the appropriate gear to enjoy riding.
Understanding how to properly fit a western saddle offers a better experience for you and your horse, whether you’re looking to buy a new saddle or trying to gauge the saddle you already have. Read more to know how to fit a western saddle to a horse.
Fitting The Western Saddle
It’s not always easy to tell if your western saddle fits a horse just by looking at it. Even when a saddle appears to have good contact, saddle sores, unruly conduct, and even the horse’s sweat line might indicate whether you are in the right or wrong.
Clean Your Horse
Make sure there are no obstructions that could bother your horse when you test a saddle on it. The saddle tree will rest on your horse’s back and withers.
Fitting The Saddle Pad
The horse’s back should be covered by the saddle pad. The leather won’t rub the horse’s back if a saddle pad is placed on its back. Make sure the front is situated close to the withers’ end.
Place The Saddle
A helper should hold your horse the entire time, or cross-ties should be used to keep it tight. Place the saddle over the withers and girth, just as you would when riding, to make sure it is positioned properly. As you use the saddle on your horse, this will assist you to identify any pressure locations.
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Check The Gullet
The hollow area that runs down the top of the horse’s spine is known as the gullet. You should be able to see all the way to the horse’s mane if you stand behind your horse and stare down the gullet. You should be able to stack two to three fingers vertically inside the gullet on the front side of the saddle.
Remember: The saddle tree is too narrow if you can only fit one finger or less in the gullet.
The saddle tree is probably too large if you can fit much more than three fingers in the gullet.
Try To Find Pinch Points
After attempting to reposition the saddle, if it still seems tight, look for any potential pressure areas. Feel for any pressure by sliding your palm between the saddle and the horse’s shoulder.
When on the horse’s back, your hand should fit comfortably beneath the saddle while still being held securely. With your palm still below the saddle, rock the saddle back and forth and side to side. Pay attention to any pinching or pain you may feel.
Listen To The Horse Throughout The Fitting Process
As you try on and watch the fit, pay attention to the horse’s expressions and body language. There is a significant likelihood that the saddle does not fit properly if the horse pins its ears, bites, stomps, or flees when the saddle is on its back. Their body language will let you know if a saddle is painful or uncomfortable, or if it is well-fitting and molded to their frame.