What size of western saddle do I need? Well, the answer to this question isn’t that straightforward. Just like a random suit belt has different sizes according to the waist-hip ratio, saddles also come in a variety of sizes depending on how the rider fits into them.
Things to Keep In Mind Regarding Western Saddle Seat Size
Before we go into full-blown details of what saddle seat size would suit you, we first analyze certain aspects of the said saddle type.
Depends on Rider Fit
One would arguably think that the size of the horseback would invariably affect the size of the saddle. However, this may or may not be true. Because the whole purpose of riding a horse eventually falls to the point where the rider feels comfortable mounting it, the best grip is offered when the saddle fits the whole pelvis and buttocks into the seat. In simpler terms, we can say that, no matter what the size of the horse is, it all comes down to the size of the rider’s buttocks.
Big Bottoms -> Big Saddle
Small Bottoms -> Small Saddle
Body to Pommel Distance
To ensure a safe mount, the owner’s manual comes with instructions that the distance of the front aspect of the body to the pommel be 4 inches at least. The wobbling movements during routine horse trail may cause fatigue to the inner thighs if the safe distance is not observed.
Maintenance of Centre of Gravity
When taking a seat, your bottoms should rest against the base cantle aspect of the saddle and not over the cantle. The slight inclination which the cantle offers gives the rider lower back support and as a result, the center of gravity is properly maintained (Trust me you do not wanna mess with your center of gravity).
The most perfect fit is the fit that gives you the smoothest experience to ride. Technically speaking, neither the saddle should be too tight a fit, nor should it be too loose. However, an expert would suggest you have a saddle seat slightly bigger than slightly tighter.
Western Saddle Seat Size Chart
The actual size of the saddle seat is measured from the distal portion or the base of the horn (over the pommel) up to the middle of the cantle. This whole length includes the buttocks curve and the lumbar support. Stock saddles, obeying the above-mentioned yardstick of seat size, range between 12 inches and 17 inches. Each different size has a half-inch differential factor.
The following chart would give you a basic idea of western saddle seat sizes;
|Youth/Teenage (13-17 years)||12.5 to 13.5 inches|
|Young adult/Late Teen (18-21 years)||14.5 inches to 15 inches|
|Adult (22-30 years)||15.5 inches|
|Large and extra-large-sized adult||16 to 17 inches|
This chart should ease your quest of finding the perfect size of a western saddle. However, also bear in mind that different styles and designs of western saddles may have different fits owing to the same seat sizes. For instance, the Acerugs Western Trail Saddle of size 15 inches, would have a slightly tighter fit on the 15′ size King Series Trail Saddle. To curb this, make sure you have a try and feel the coziness of the seat. Be the judge!
Additional Factors to Take into Account
Not intending to give you a spoiler but, after you’re done selecting the saddle seat size, there are only some more factors you’d wanna turn your eye to;
Slope of the Seat
Depending on the type of trail you’re aiming for, the market has comfort saddles as well as high-end activity saddles that require fixation. Well, if you’re a smooth ride enjoyer, a comfort saddle would suit you as its slope is not as inclined as the others, this enables you to glide easily while riding.
Depth of the Seat
The depth of the seat determines how much deep you ride in your horse. Well, not to exaggerate but this feature allows you to climb into the seat properly and reduce the centrifugal force that may push you out of the seat while taking turns at higher velocities. When buying a western saddle, do keep this in mind.
The pommel size and angle and cantle slope are other significant factors that you must take into account while spending the dollar on a western saddle.
We have tried our best to squeeze every aspect of what western saddle most likely fits you. However, buying it can be slightly hectic as there are a number of other measurements that are not standardized to scale. So, the best fit would be the one you’d sit in and feel from the bottom.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Which Western Saddle Would Fit Best
First things first, you must have a basic idea of the universal western saddle sizes. These range from 12 inches up to 17 inches with the increment of half an inch. Secondly, make sure you know the size of your pelvis or bottoms so that it becomes easier for you to choose the exact saddle seat. Apart from that, also observe the saddle slope, depth, and pommel angle, and distance which adds to the overall safety and comfort of the ride. You may be able to choose the perfect fit, but the fork may be too far away for you to grab. In other cases, the depth may be too much which may give you a feeling of drowning while at the same time fitting perfectly. So do have a thorough examination of the saddle by actually taking a seat.
The saddle must sit at level, completely occupying the space it covers. The front of the saddle, or the fork, must sit slightly behind the shoulders of the horse. If the saddle at this position is slightly raised or wobbles sideways, the fit is tight or loose respectively. Your horse’s performance, ride, and your comfort, all depend on the fit and size of the saddle. An improper fit may result in saddle marks, pressure points, or depressions on the horse due to uneven distribution of weight and center of gravity. The recommended saddle length for different individuals is:
– Youth/Teenage (13-17 years) 12.5 to 13.5 inches
– Young adult/Late Teen (18-21 years) 14.5 inches to 15 inches
– Adult (22-30 years) 15.5 inches
– Large and extra-large-sized adult 16 to 17 inches
Knowing the basic structure and anatomy of the saddle is imperative to tell whether a western saddle fits properly or not. Before you opt to purchase your favorite saddle based on stylish looks, do make sure it fits you properly. Note the following steps to determine the perfect saddle fit;
– Place your feet into the stirrup
– Sit in the depth of the saddle
– You must be in equilibrium, neither too deep, nor too free
– Two fingers or 4 inches must be the distance between the front of your legs and the fork
– If you’re able to fit more than two fingers, the saddle is big
– If you’re unable to squeeze even a single finger, the saddle is too small for you
– Prefer a slightly bigger size than a slightly tighter one. You can afford to wobble slightly, but you don’t want to be uncomfortable.
Not having a saddle that fits properly may result in back problems for the horse if not for you.
Some of the best western horse saddle with comfortable seating is as follows;
– Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle
– Wintec Western Trail Saddle
– Star Trading Company Leather Western Comfy Saddle
– Manaal Enterprises Wade Premium Western Leather Saddle
– Acerugs Western Trail Saddle
– Circle Y High Horse Eldorado Saddle
– King Jacksonville Trail Saddle
It is imperative to know if your horse has been mounted with a saddle that does not fit properly. Otherwise, this may harm the horse as well as your lumbar spine. The following points can help you identify if your horse is in distress owing to a bad saddle fit;
– The horse avoids/walks away while being tacked up
– Ears raised/concerned movements when the horse sights a saddle
– Rearing, bucking, and restlessness
– Irregular gaits, reluctance to take longer strides, and stopping at minor obstacles
Apart from that, you may experience an ache and exhaustion in your lumbar region.
So far we have discoursed briefly on what saddle of western origin can fit you perfectly. Western saddles come in all shapes and sizes. To choose the best shape is your concern, however, choosing the best size is ought to be our concern. To have an idea of the ideal fit size, you gotta sit in the saddle and experience whether it is comfortable or not. You may spend the green buck once you’re satisfied with the size, and don’t forget to keep the size chart handy.