How To Measure A Saddle Seat Size? 4 Easy Ways

A saddle is such costly equipment, and it is not easy for riders to successfully take control of it right on the first attempt. But things will not turn out to be that much of a challenge when you know for sure which saddle seat size fits you the most.

In this post, we will reveal to you all the intriguing tips on how to measure a saddle seat size for people who have just taken up horse riding.


Measure A Saddle Seat Size

First, let’s go through some basic information about the saddle seat, shall we?

General Information about Saddle Seat

There are two common saddle seats: English saddle seats and Western saddle seats.

What Is Saddle Seat Style?

English riding consists of many horse-riding styles, and the saddle seat is one of them. Riders back in the day were inclined to exploit the features of some horse breeds to the fullest, thus coming up with this exclusive style.

Originating in England, now, this type of horse riding has been modernized into other advanced forms in the USA, South Africa, Canada, and even many European countries.

The purpose behind the invention of the saddle seat style is to demonstrate the trot and the vigorous gait of the horse. In fact, many new riders often confuse the disciplines of the hunt seat and saddle seat in terms of attire and sitting position.

Formation Of A Saddle Seat

Unlike other saddles in English riding disciplines, those favored by saddle seat riders are quite exceptional.

These exclusive saddles consist of a cut-back pommel bringing a higher neck set of the horse and withers, as well as a flat seat and little padding. To improve the extravagance horse’s front-end movement, the saddle should be put further back on the horse.

How To Measure A Saddle Seat Size?

Basic Knowledge

Before we get to the main points, we would like you to bear in mind that a saddle with a suitable size will not only benefit you but also give your horse a huge advantage.

To be specific, the seat size is the sole crucial factor for you to have full control over the ride, whereas your horse will need to get on well with the tree size, gullet size, and saddle width to support you.

As mentioned above, the saddle seats originate in England and later were significantly developed in some Western countries. And in this day and age, there are two kinds of saddle seats for you to choose from: the English saddle and the Western saddle.

Despite this, most of the time, riders who fancy English riding have a strong liking for English saddles. Why? Because it is the traditional type of saddle seat, many riders get used to using it. The diversity of saddle design depends on the English riding disciplines like dressage, jumping, and endurance riding.

Let’s take an example if you are going to attend dressage, you should choose a dressage saddle. Why? Because they are created to bring the riders a closer sense between them and their horse, so they can acquire better signals.

What’s more, an English saddle cantle is different from that of the Western saddle. As a result, the measurement outcome will be larger. Usually, the seat of Western saddles is 2 inches smaller than that of the English model. For instance, if you happen to have a 16-inch Western saddle, then an English model of the same size will be around 18 inches.

But overall, these are the only visible differences. Basically, English saddles are not much different from those of Western-style. So, we will spend more time focusing on it, then have a quick run-through of the Western saddle. Let’s start now.

How To Measure An English Saddle Seat?

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This is how to measure an English saddle seat size:

  • Make sure that your thighs and the floor are parallel by sitting on a flat chair. Bending your knee at 45 degrees and your buttocks are in contact with the back of the chair
  • Ask your friend to use a tape measure, and run it along the outside of the thigh. From the end of the knee to the back of the hip.
  • Note down the final result
  • Convey it into a saddle seat size, which is provided by the manufacturer.

English saddle size chart:

Your saddle size Your measurement
15-inch saddle Less than 16.5-inch
16-inch saddle From 16.5-inch to 18.5-inch
16.5-inch saddle From 18.5-inch to 20-inch
17-inch saddle From 20-inch to 21.5-inch
17.5-inch saddle From 21.5-inch to 23-inch
18-inch saddle More than 23-inch

How To Measure A Western Saddle Seat?


When choosing any saddle, you have to notice that it has to be your right size, so you can ride your horse with a comfortable seat. What’s more, a saddle should be designed to assist the horse to carry you and reduce the risk of its injury.

Western saddle seats are no different. And this is a simple guide on how to measure a Western saddle seat.

  • About 4-inch below your hips, calculate your thigh circumference
  • According to the size-converting table given by the brand, you can transform your measuring result into the desired saddle size. There are some common conversions, for instance:

You are suggested to use a 16-inch saddle if the circumference of your thigh is 24-inch. With a 25-inch circumference, a 17-inch saddle will suit you best.

  • Check for the recommended seat spacing by measuring the spacing between the cantle and your back, or the fore of the seat and your thighs. The appropriate gap of your back and the cantle should be around 12cm

Western saddle size chart:

Your saddle size You measurement
13-inch saddle Less than 16.5-inch
14-inch saddle From 16.5-inch to 18.5-inch
14.5-inch saddle From 18.5-inch to 20-inch
15-inch saddle From 20-inch to 21.5-inch
15.5-inch saddle From 21.5-inch to 23-inch
16-inch saddle More than 23-inch

What Else To Consider When Determining Saddle Seat Size?

A suitable gullet size plays a crucial part as the saddle seat size does in bringing you a wonderful ride with saddle seat style.

Gullet sizes come in abundance, so getting one that suits the width of your horse might be quite easy. There are four common sizes that are usually used: extra-wide, wide, medium, and narrow.

To precisely measure the size of your horse’s back, you should have a look from above. Typically, all the horses will require a gullet with medium size, whereas bigger breeds like draft horses or Warmbloods will suit the extra-wide or wide saddle.

On the other hand, for some smaller breeds like Thoroughbreds or Arabians, the best option is the narrow width. Therefore, in general, the size of a gullet will be determined by your horse breed.

If you are uncertain about the appropriate size of your gullet, you should ask for pieces of advice from local horse professionals or horse trainers.

Bottom Lines

We have provided you with a thorough tutorial to determine the size of a saddle seat. Riding horses is a truly relaxing activity for you to ease your mind and body in a busy life nowadays. Hence, having a suitable saddle seat to use will help you to enjoy your ride at its utmost.

We hope that after reading this article, you now know how to measure a saddle seat size. Keep following our website for more intriguing posts.

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