How to measure width in saddles

Tanga
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How to measure width in saddles

Postby Tanga » Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:12 pm

You'd think this would be easy, right? I've been riding forever, and you'd think I know it.

And in trying to find an answer, I can't get one. Look it up, and it's just talk about what is wide enough. Schleese has a video, but it doesn't make sense to me because it has no detail as to how to measure and what the width is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQe4h5tUyWs I like the WIntecs because you can change the gullet and it says if it's medium, wide, narrow, etc. I've seen many people measure from the inside point where the nameplate/hooks are, but I don't know what those mean. I measure my own saddles, and the Wintec with the wide plate measure at about 5 1/2 inches (inside to inside) and the Klimke which is supposed to be too narrow is 5".

I never got an answer from the saddle makers. Sheryl Lemke showed me with her fists the width. A friend just bought a very expensive used saddle ($4k!) because it was an amazing deal at half off and she loves it, but she says those saddles don't even mention width.

The whole saddle pad thing confuses me to see if it's too tight at the shoulders. Some people say the dry spots are where the saddle is too tight and does not sweat. Some people say dry spots have no relation to the saddle. My supposedly too narrow saddle on the fleece pad leaves a fluffier spot right behind the shoulder, meaning, to me anyway, that that area is not being compressed and it allows movement. The rest of the pad shows even compression of the fleece under the panels.

Can anyone educate me with what you know? Send me somewhere?

I'm still looking to see if I can find a "better" saddle, but I have NO idea how to find the "right" width except eyeballing it.

http://www.viva-iberica.com/printable/F ... addles.pdf

Canyon
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Re: How to measure width in saddles

Postby Canyon » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:59 pm

Not a direct answer to your question, but Kitt Hazelton of Panther Run Saddlery has some good info on saddle fitting. Maybe some of her info will get you headed in the right direction -

https://saddlefitter.blogspot.com/2014/ ... LkT2CO_44w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOMTBgmKjBw

She used to post helpful info regularly on UDBB and/or COTH but then disappeared. Her Facebook page does seem to have recent info, though. I have never personally used her services, but she used to offer long-distance consultations.

Look through her blog archives if you have time. Maybe she has a more direct answer to your question.

Canyon
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Re: How to measure width in saddles

Postby Canyon » Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:37 am


Tanga
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Re: How to measure width in saddles

Postby Tanga » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:41 pm



Thanks. This one is most useful, but still useless. I used something I got at the dollar store that looks like a long foam roller with metal in it and made an outline of the front of both of my horses. When I put them side by side, even though they look like very different horses, they were almost the same. I'm going to try to find some local places with used saddles and take those and see if I can find something on trial.

It would sure be nice if there was some CLEAR measurement for all saddles so when I find something I like, I could transfer it to any saddle and know it would fit. I just can't see any way around actually riding in a saddle to make sure it fits otherwise!

piedmontfields
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Re: How to measure width in saddles

Postby piedmontfields » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:27 pm

I agree, Tanga, that you will need to put the saddle on your horse, do a visual inspection and then ride in it if it looks like it has potential. Saddles with similar channel widths do not necessarily fit the same.

For long distance fitting assistance, a friend worked with the Saddle Geek: https://www.thesaddlegeek.com
There are also a number of helpful articles on the site. Good luck.

Tanga
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Re: How to measure width in saddles

Postby Tanga » Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:48 pm

piedmontfields wrote:I agree, Tanga, that you will need to put the saddle on your horse, do a visual inspection and then ride in it if it looks like it has potential. Saddles with similar channel widths do not necessarily fit the same.

For long distance fitting assistance, a friend worked with the Saddle Geek: https://www.thesaddlegeek.com
There are also a number of helpful articles on the site. Good luck.


Thank you. Sigh. Just a quick visit to the site shows it has a lot of resources, but no specifics.

I feel like on my own I am learning more about width than any one or source has told me. It's actually disheartening, sad that there is no clear way to know what width it. I am not experienced enough to know that there IS no way to measure and know it, or no one is explaining it. Either way, you'd think someone would just say it. Ah!

I am finding channel widths and width in front aren't even close to the same thing. Basically all saddles should have a wide channel.

piedmontfields
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Re: How to measure width in saddles

Postby piedmontfields » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:03 pm

A few other thoughts from experience on a number of horses over the years (but I am not an expert saddle fitter). Really, this is just some learning from many years of leasing differently shaped horses (and working with a variety of saddles for each):

A good fit in the shoulders is usually easy to tell, because the horse strides better (has more reach). A bad fit can equal medium trot is impossible.

Many horses put up with too narrow of a saddle (and their back atrophies to fit it). When you switch a horse to a better, wider width for their body, there is often the sensation that the horse got taller because it is easier for them to lift their back fully. It can feel "wobbly" to the rider when you make this change, because the horse moves so much more completely.

A "wide" saddle in one saddle brand does not equal a "wide" saddle in another brand---unless you have already determined that your x and y brands are very similar.

A saddle that is too wide for a horse usually results in very obvious discomfort and a reluctance to go forward (it is resting on or too close to their spine). Often horses don't react to a too narrow saddle until you do a canter transition or something that changes the back shape. Then they buck, prong, etc. (or say "it cannot be done").

Some horses are so picky about saddle fit that you end up learning a lot very quickly; others are so tolerant that it is hard to tell what works best for them.

Sweat marks are not the be all end all, but I think they should be close. If I check fairly quickly on my mare after a workout in hot temps, there will be no dry spots at all--just a saddle shaped sweat mark under the saddle pad. Remember that sweat under a saddle often dries when we cool out at walk and the horse drops its back more.

I also think saddles can be like bits---some horses are incredibly picky; others are more tolerant. However, getting the right fit in both usually makes a difference to the horse/rider pair.


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