Horse Saddle Sizes

Saddle sizes for horses

Between the top of the withers and the esophagus of the saddle there should be room for two to three fingers. If you choose a saddle and rate the saddle sizes, you will want to find one that suits your riding style and suits both your horse and you. The size of the esophagus represents the width of the horse's withers and shoulders.

MEASURING A WEST SADDLE

Fit in a west saddle is expressed in inch like 14", 15".15 1/2", 16".etc. Measure the naked boom before building the saddle (see Fig. 1). Observe the saddle height of the west saddle post from the back of the swelling at the top of the esophagus (point X) back to the front end of the Cantle or Cantleboard (point Y).

As mentioned above, beam manufacturers have devised their own measurement and methodologies and can use other points of references. Top of the esophagus on the back of the swelling is selected for evenness. PICTURE 2 (point X) shows the top of the esophagus at the back of the threshold and (point Y) the front of the cape for the Cliff Wade boom equal and the Buster Welch equal.

A further widely used point of references is the basis of the horns on the back of the threshold (see point 2). However, this point of contact poses a challenge because the swelling has a "tilting" effect, i.e. the swelling is not perpendicular but leaning forward.

The forward "inclination" will vary according to the wave model. PICTURE 2: The Buster Welch Cutter boom has a wave motion with little "inclination" as shown by the spacing between (point B) and (point X). As the Cliff Wade boom has more "inclination", as the spacing between (point B) and (point X) shows.

Using this datum, the seating height may be greater than the real seating height and cause discomfort. For example, the naked boom reading from the bottom of the horns is almost 3/8 inches longer than the naked boom reading from the top of the esophagus, which is 15".

At the Cliff Wade boom the differential is 1/2". From the back of the swelling (point X) to the top of the esophagus and the seam at the canteen truss (point Y), the width of the saddle to the west is determined (see Fig. 3). These measurements correspond approximately to the height of the trees.

Final seating is smaller than the trees. Differences vary depending on the material and design technique of the saddler. There is a 3/8 " to 1/2" gap for a smooth or non-upholstered fit. Fully upholstered seats make a 5/8 " to 7/8' differential.

FIGURE 4: A saddle with a 15 " boom and a fully upholstered saddle has a final 14 5/16" saddle - a 5/8 " differential. A 15 1/2" saddle and a 1 1/2" shell in the coat can sit and look and feel like a saddle with a 16" saddle and a 1" shell in the coat.

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