The link between you and your horse is the saddle. A saddle that doesn't fit properly can make riding uncomfortable and lead to sores on your horse. You should choose a saddle that fits both you and your horse comfortably and is appropriate for the riding discipline you prefer. Knowing how to measure and fit an English saddle properly is crucial because they differ slightly from Western saddles. This guide will give you the details you need to measure an English saddle for the most comfortable and productive riding position.
Why Proper Seat Fit is Vital?
The importance of choosing the proper saddle size extends beyond your and your horse's safety. The comfort of your saddle affects both your mobility and the efficiency of your riding. And for top performance, a properly fitted saddle is necessary. The ideal saddle size will improve performance for both you and your horse.
What is an English saddle?
The majority of English riding disciplines, including hunting, show jumping, dressage, fox hunting, and trail riding, use English saddles. While English saddles must be designed differently for each riding discipline, they are all made to give the horse the most movement freedom possible.
English Saddle Components:
The seat and gullet of an English saddle must be measured separately.
- The seat, or uppermost portion of the saddle, is where the rider sits in the saddle and is made with comfort in mind.
- Under the seat, the gullet is designed with the horse in mind. To ensure a comfortable fit and the movement required for the horse to perform well in the specific riding discipline, the size of the horse is taken into consideration when fitting the gullet.
When determining the ideal fit for an English saddle, both the seat and the gullet are crucial.
How to Take an English Saddle Seat Measurement?
- The measurement of your thigh from your knee to your buttocks is the most accurate way to determine your seat size.
- Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your buttocks touching the chair's back. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle.
Measure your thigh from the back of your knee to the back of your buttocks using a measuring tape.
The Saddle's Gullet Selection Procedure:
For the comfort of your horse, choosing an English saddle with a properly sized gullet is crucial. Generally, the size needed can be determined by standing above your horse and looking down onto its back. A medium gullet is typically required for a medium-sized horse.
You can measure your horse's withers if you are unsure of the proper gullet size for it. A flexible but firm wire should be used, and it should be positioned over the horse's withers two inches behind the shoulder blade. The wire should then be bent so that it rests against the horse's skin over the withers.
The next step is to trace along the inside of the wire while making sure not to bend the shape you just created. Lay the wire on a piece of paper (or more, if necessary). Withers and gullet measurements are provided by this technique.
Please consult a professional if you're unsure of your horse's proper gullet size.
English v/s Western Saddle Sizes
An English saddle seat size will typically be two inches larger than a Western saddle, as a general rule of thumb. Consequently, you will probably require a 17.5" English saddle if you ride with a 15.5" Western saddle. Since this is not a precise calculation, you should always measure and test it first to ensure the fit is correct.
How to Check the English Saddle's Fit
Make sure your new English saddle fits you and your horse properly before putting it to use. Instead of putting it on a saddle pad, test the fit on a sheet or very thin towel. A properly adjusted saddle shouldn't even touch the horse's spine.
Once you've established that the saddle fits your horse correctly, you need to make sure the seat is comfortable for you as well. To ensure that you feel centered and in control, sit on the saddle. For a comfortable fit, you should have two to four inches of space in the front and back.
For both you and your horse, a properly fitted English saddle offers a smooth ride and efficiency. You will find the best English saddle for you if you start with the measurements and then test the fit to suit your preferences.
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