Making Sure Your Saddle Fits: How to Measure a Saddle Seat

The saddle seat is of extreme importance to the rider. Without the right size and fit, riders can either feel uncomfortably squished into the saddle or so loose in the saddle they feel as if they are falling. While saddle shopping is fun, it can be stressful if you do not know the right measurements. With this guide, you will learn how to measure saddle seat with confidence.

Why Do You Need to Measure a Saddle Seat?

A saddle is a big purchase and most horse owners consider it an investment. Before purchasing a saddle, you need to make sure it is going to fit your backside, or riding a horse will be very uncomfortable.

Measuring can be a daunting task if you have never done it, but you should not let it intimidate you. Now that you know the importance, let us dive into how to go about measuring the saddle seat of any saddle.

How to Measure an English Saddle Seat

English saddles are measured in inches and this is how they are sold. Many people mistakenly believe you can measure any saddle using the same methods and this is just not correct. Measuring an English saddle is very different from measuring a Western one.

When you measure an English saddle, you will need to place a measuring tape (metal is best) at the center of the pommel and then stretch it out straight to the backside of the saddle. Make sure you do not bend the measuring tape or the measurement will be inaccurate.

It is important to note that English saddles go up in size by 0.5", so do not forget to measure up or down if you find yourself being a few centimeters over or under the next saddle size. Once you have measured the English saddle seat, you will also need to measure your upper thigh length to determine which size to purchase.

Saddle Seat

How to Measure a Western Saddle Seat

Western saddles are measured in inches just like English saddles. The difference lies in where you place the tape measure. When measuring a Western saddle, you are going to measure from the back of the horn to the top of the cantle. Most Western saddles are going to range in length between 12 and 18-inches.

You can also choose different widths of seats, depending on the shape of your backside. Petite people will need a narrower seat than those who are larger. Choosing wisely will help you to remain comfortable while riding your horse.

How to Tell If a Saddle Seat Fits Properly

No matter the saddle, there are some easy ways to tell if the fit is correct. You do not want to spend a long ride in a saddle that does not fit you correctly. Remember, saddle sores are a real thing and should be avoided. They often come from saddles that are too big, leading to a great amount of friction. If you notice any of the following signs, you need another size of saddle.

  • Do you slide too forward on the flaps or does your backside lift off the cantle? If your saddle fits well, you should have room at the back of the saddle and in front of both knees. The saddle should put you in a natural position.
  • Do you find yourself sliding forward or backward? You should never slide around on the saddle. As mentioned above, this can lead to very painful saddle sores. A saddle that is too large will not leave you feeling secure during a ride.
  • Do you find your balance is off? If you find yourself feeling unbalanced during a ride, it could be because of your saddle. This issue especially happens with a saddle that is too big.
  • Do you find yourself constantly tipping forward or backward? If so, this means your saddle simply is not fitting as it should.


Now, you know how to measure saddle seat with confidence. Following the above steps will allow you to measure a saddle and get a precise measurement every time. Make sure to always measure and keep your measurements handy for purchasing the right saddle to meet your needs.

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