What Size Dressage Saddle Do I Need?

Dressage saddles differ from Western saddles in multiple ways. They are smaller and lighter, allowing the rider to maintain the perfect level of contact with their horse at all times. This type of saddle allows a rider to remain centered in their seat, so they can perform the steps involved in Dressage Testing. When it comes to dressage saddles, the right size is paramount. Consider the following, if you are wondering what size dressage saddle do I need.

Why Is the Size So Important for Dressage Saddles?

Dressage saddles, like all other types, must fit precisely or they can become a danger to both horse and rider. If the saddle is too small, it will be very difficult for riders to get comfortable. If the saddle is too big, the rider cannot maintain proper contact with the horse and their directions may go unheeded. With the right fit, both the horse and rider will feel comfortable and secure during testing.

Important Points of Dressage Saddle Fitting

Before purchasing a dressage saddle, it is imperative to know what you are looking for in fit. Consider the following to be able to choose the perfect saddle for fit and comfort.

  • The saddle should allow for at least three inches of scapula movement in the horse. If it is too high on the withers, the horse will not be able to move its shoulders correctly.
  • The saddle needs to sit leveled, and the center point of the seat should be centered between the pommel and cantle.
  • The cantle on a dressage saddle should sit higher than the pommel by virtue of design.
  • There should be enough clearance under the cantle. If you cannot slide two and a half to three fingers under, this means the saddle is not fitting correctly.
  • Check all the point angles to ensure they fit correctly with the horse.
  • You will also need to check for consistent pressure under the panel. If any areas have too little or too much, the fit is not correct.
  • You will also need to check for proper gullet clearance.
  • The length of the saddle is also an important consideration. The saddle should start between the horse’s withers and end at the last rib.

Finally, make sure to pay attention to your horse’s response. Make sure they respond well while you are riding and offering direction. If the horse seems uncomfortable or out of touch, the saddle could be to blame.

Dressage Saddle

How to Measure for a Dressage Saddle

For a dressage saddle, you will need to measure for both rider and horse. It is important to get an accurate measure so the saddle will sit correctly on the horse and offer you the right room in the seat.

First, you will need to measure for the seat size. Get a chair and sit with your legs bent at a 45-degree angle. Take a measuring tape and measure down the length of your outer thigh, from the hip bone to the knee. This will be the measurement you go by for your saddle seat.

Next, you will need to measure for your horse. You will need to perform a wither tracing using a gullet measuring tool or a firm, yet flexible wire. Measure across the curvature, ensuring the right measurements are recorded.

It is also wise to measure from your horse’s wither area to the last rib, to ensure the saddle will be the right length. With these measurements, you should now be ready to pick the perfect dressage saddle for you and your horse.

Tips for Shopping for a New Dressage Saddle

After you know the measurements you need, shopping for a dressage saddle becomes easier. Consider the following tips to make saddle shopping easier.

  • Choose a durable material. There are leathers and synthetics that both offer durability.
  • The tree is important. Many dressage riders prefer a flexible tree for freer movement.
  • The stitching is also a critical component. The stitching must be made of heavy-duty materials that will hold up well.
  • Make sure the stirrups are wide and flat for your comfort and support.
  • The saddle seat should be nice and deep, allowing riders to remain in a perfect position.


Now, you know how to determine what size dressage saddle do I need. With the right measurements and hints above, you should be able to find the perfect dressage saddle to meet your needs and those of your horse.

A dressage saddle should allow your horse to have plenty of free movement while putting you in the perfect position for controlling your horse. With a beautiful dressage saddle, you will be stylish and will feel at one with your horse during every dressage test you go through together.

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