How to Measure a Horse for a Saddle? Everything you need to Know

If you made it here, you’re getting excited about taking a ride on your horse. We know how thrilling horseback riding can be, so we won’t waste too much of your time today. Now, with that being said, we want to show you all about how to measure a horse for a saddle.

Why? Because saddling up is not always as simple as it sounds. This is especially true if you’re new to the world of horses — so if you need to measure a saddle for your horse you’ll want to pay very close attention.

We’ll be breaking this down for you in a step-by-step way, and will try to be as detailed as possible. Even if you’re new to all of this, don’t worry, because we’ll have you up and riding in no time at all.

How to Measure a Horse for a Saddle

Step 1

The first step you’ll need to take is one that requires brushing up on your horse anatomy. Saddles aren’t universal, and this based on the fact that horses tend to have different arches in their backs: withers.

So when it comes to measuring your horse for a saddle, a lot of this actually comes down to measuring your horse’s wither.

What do I need?

If you want to get this done on your own, you really don’t need that much. All you really need is:

  • Wire
  • Paper
  • A marker or pen to create markings

Then, once you have this, run the wire down your horses back, and allow the wire to dip into the wither. Once this is done, you’ll have a wire that contains the shape of your horse’s wither.

From here, all you need to do is trace the wither onto the paper that you have, and you can go ahead and give that a measure.

2nd Step

Once you have the wither on your horse’s back measured out, it’s time to move onto the next step. In this case, most saddles are designed to fit most backs, but please be aware that if your horse has a shorter back things won’t work too well.

What do I need?

For this step, all you really need is the saddle and a tape measure. Start from your horse’s shoulders, and run the tape along your horse’s body all of the way to the hind legs.

Once you have this measurement, you can begin comparing it to the length of your saddle.

3rd Step

The next step is all about you. We know that we’re learning about how to measure your horse for a saddle, but we also need to spend some time on you. This is due to the fact that every rider needs a different seat, so we’re going to show you how to find the perfect seat.

Measure your leg length

The first thing you’ll need is your leg length. This is the length of your thigh, from your hip bone down to your knee. We would recommend sitting in a chair, as it will make this easier, but here is a quick look at what this will look like:

  • For Less than 16.5 inches you’ll want a 13-inch saddle
  • Up to 18.5 inches you’ll want a 14-inch saddle
  • If your legs are 20-25 inches, you’ll want to test out a 15- to 16-inch saddle
  • If your legs are over 25 inches you’ll want to opt for an 18-inch saddle

Now, you can also use your weight as a measurement for saddle size, but getting your leg measurement is going to be a bit more accurate.

4th Step

Now that we’ve gone over the basics, we want to set some time aside to go over the actual fitting process. Keep in mind that you’ll be learning about how to measure a horse for a western saddle, but the same rules essentially apply to other saddles.

What do I need?

All you need here is the saddle. Once you have your measurements prepared, and you feel as if everything will fit nicely, it’s time to test things out. So, you’ll want to place the saddle on the horse’s back without any padding.

This will show you if you need to make adjustments, and if the saddle does not sit flush with your horse’s back, it’s back to the drawing board.

Also, once you’re on the horse, if you can’t fit about 3 or 4 fingers underneath the saddle, you’ll need to make some adjustments as well.


Saddles may seem universal, but at the end of the day having the right measurements is very important. Not only will this make sure that your horse is comfortable, but it can give you a far more comfortable ride as well.

It may seem a bit overwhelming, but you should be able to get the measurements and information you need within a few hours. Also, always be sure to use the a great saddle pad for horses. Like we said earlier, if your horse is uncomfortable, you’ll be uncomfortable as well.

Now that you know how to measure your horse for a saddle, you’ll be riding in no time! Thank you for your time.

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