How to Measure A Horse for A Saddle-Experts Tips

Finding the perfect saddle for your horse is crucial to ensure both comfort and performance. A poorly fitting saddle can lead to discomfort, behavior issues, and even health problems for your equine companion. To avoid these issues, it’s essential to accurately measure your horse for a saddle.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of measuring your horse to guarantee a proper fit for the saddle.

Understanding the Importance of a Well-Fitted Saddle

Before diving into the measurement process, it’s important to understand why a well-fitted saddle is crucial for your horse’s well-being. A poorly fitting saddle can cause a range of problems, including:

Discomfort and Pain

An ill-fitting saddle can cause discomfort and pain, leading to behavioral issues and a reluctance to work.

How to Measure A Horse for A Saddle-Experts Tips

Restricted Movement

A saddle that is too tight or doesn’t sit properly can restrict your horse’s movement, impacting performance and potentially causing long-term damage.

Health Issues

Prolonged use of an improperly fitted saddle can result in physical issues such as soreness, muscle atrophy, and even long-term damage to the spine and back.

Now that we understand the importance of a well-fitted saddle, let’s proceed to the step-by-step process of measuring your horse.

Gather Necessary Tools

Before you start measuring your horse, gather the following tools:

Flexible Measuring Tape

This will be used to measure various parts of your horse, ensuring accuracy.


Having someone to assist you will make the process smoother. They can help keep your horse calm and steady during the measurements.

Notebook and Pen

Keep track of the measurements to refer back to when shopping for a saddle.

Measure the Horse’s Girth

Start by measuring the girth, which is the circumference around your horse’s chest just behind the front legs.

Use the flexible measuring tape and make sure it is snug but not too tight.

This measurement is crucial as it helps determine the size of the saddle girth or cinch.

Determine the Length of the Back

Measure from the base of the withers, which is the highest point of the horse’s shoulder blades, to the point where the spine ends, just before the tailbone.

This measurement will give you an idea of the saddle’s length that will comfortably fit your horse.

Assess the Withers Height

The withers are the highest point along the horse’s back, located between the shoulder blades. Measure from the base to the top of the withers.

This measurement is vital as it helps determine the appropriate saddle tree size, ensuring the withers have enough clearance.

Evaluate the Shoulder Width

Measure the width of your horse’s shoulders at the point where the front edge of the saddle will sit.

This measurement is critical to ensure that the saddle tree isn’t too narrow, which could cause discomfort and restrict movement.

Check the Back Shape

Observe the shape of your horse’s back. Horses have different back shapes – some are straight, while others have a more pronounced curve.

Knowing the shape will help you select a saddle with an appropriate tree design that matches your horse’s back.

Consider the Horse’s Build

Take note of your horse’s overall build, including muscle development and any asymmetry. Some horses may have a more muscular or lean build, which can influence the type of saddle that best suits them.

Seek Professional Advice

If you’re unsure about the measurements or fitting process, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. A knowledgeable saddle fitter or an experienced equestrian can provide valuable insights and guidance to ensure a proper fit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Measuring a Horse for a Saddle:

Why is measuring my horse for a saddle important?

Measuring your horse ensures a proper fit, preventing discomfort, restricted movement, and potential health issues caused by an ill-fitting saddle.

What tools do I need for measuring?

Gather a flexible measuring tape, an assistant for stability, and a notebook to record measurements.

How do I measure the girth of my horse?

Measure the circumference just behind the front legs, ensuring the tape is snug but not too tight.

What is the significance of the withers height measurement?

Determining the height of the withers helps choose a saddle with proper clearance and avoids pressure on sensitive areas.

How do I assess the shoulder width of my horse?

Measure the width where the front edge of the saddle will sit, ensuring it accommodates the horse’s shoulder structure.

Why is back shape important in saddle fitting?

Horses have varying back shapes, and selecting a saddle that matches ensures comfort and proper weight distribution.

Can I measure my horse’s back length alone?

While an assistant is helpful, you can measure the back length from the withers to the tail base with a flexible tape.

What if my horse has an asymmetrical build?

Take note of any asymmetry and seek professional advice to choose a saddle that accommodates your horse’s unique characteristics.

How often should I measure my horse for a saddle?

Measure whenever there are significant changes in your horse’s weight, muscle development, or if you notice signs of discomfort.

What if I’m unsure about measurements?

Consult with a professional saddle fitter or an experienced equestrian for personalized guidance and recommendations.

Also Read: How to Measure A Saddle Gullet-Our Experts Guide


Measuring your horse for a saddle is a critical step in ensuring their comfort, well-being, and optimal performance.

A well-fitted saddle is an investment in your horse’s health and happiness.

By following the step-by-step guide outlined above and considering the unique characteristics of your horse, you’ll be better equipped to choose a saddle that provides the perfect fit.

Remember, when in doubt, consult with professionals who can offer expert advice tailored to your horse’s individual needs.

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