Does Your Saddle Fit Perfectly? How to Measure a Western Saddle Gullet

The gullet of a saddle is one of its most important features. Without the proper measurements, horses will become uncomfortable why wearing a saddle and could end up experiencing spinal damage. Knowing how to measure a western saddle gullet is essential for horse owners.

What Is the Gullet of a Saddle?

The gullet of a saddle is one of its most critical parts. The gullet is the tunnel that lies underneath the fork of the saddle and it is the part that rests on the horse’s withers. The gullet is what holds the bars of the saddle together and its angle determines how the saddle will fit a specific horse.

Improper Gullet Measurements Bring Problems

The height and angle of the gullet are essential for your horse’s comfort during a ride. If the gullet is too high with a narrow angle, the shoulders of your horse will become pinched.

If the gullet is too low, the saddle will press on the horse’s nerves and cause great discomfort. As you can see, a gullet that does not fit, whether too low or too high, is going to cause problems for a horse.

What Are the Industry Standards for Measuring the Gullet of a Saddle?

Unfortunately, there is no industry standard for measuring the gullet of a saddle. Because there is a lack of industry-standard, many horse owners become confused. Measuring with carefulness will allow you to ensure your horse will be comfortable with whatever saddle you purchase.

  • Gullet Measurements

When measuring the gullet, it is important you can place two to three fingers between your horse’s withers and the gullet. If you cannot fit at least two fingers between the withers and gullet, the gullet is much too low and the angle is not correct.

Consider the following measurements that are often found in saddles:
  • Regular quarter horse bars are 5 ¾ inches
  • Semi-quarter horse bars are 6 inches
  • Full quarter horse bars are 6 ¼ to 6 ½ inches
  • Extra-wide quarter horse bars are 6.75 to 7 inches
  • Arabian bars are 6.25 to 6.75 inches
measure a western saddle gullet

How to Check the Saddle Gullet for Proper Fit

Once you have determined which measurement you will need above, you must try the saddle on the horse. There are a few ways you can determine if there is a proper fit. Consider the following for the best results.

  • Look at the sides of the horse and the saddle and see how it fits. Are there large gaps? Does the saddle seem to slip to the side or does it stay seated on the withers? These are important considerations when deciding whether a saddle will offer the proper fit.
  • You will need to look at the saddle from the front. Make sure the gullet spans the withers fully. There should be a gap at the top of the withers and the bottom.
  • Next, slide your hand within the span between the saddle and the horse’s withers. Use your fingers to check the space and make sure you can fit at least two fingers, but no more than three. If you can fit more than three, the gullet is way too narrow. The gullet is way too wide if you cannot get two fingers underneath.
  • Finally, slide your hand all the way down the length of the withers and make sure there are no pressure points that could cause the horse pain.

Before purchasing any saddle or making sure the one you own fits accurately, make sure you follow the above steps. They will allow you to be sure your horse is going to be comfortable in their new saddle and will not experience any undue discomfort or danger.


The right gullet size is critical for your horse’s comfort and safety. If the gullet is not fitting properly, your horse could act out because they are in pain. With the information provided here, you will be prepared to make sure the gullet of your saddle is fitting as it should.

The gullet of the saddle, along with the bars, holds the entire saddle together. It is an integral part of any saddle and should be carefully measured. Now you know how to measure a western saddle gullet properly.

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