Wadesville, Indiana (812) 985-5550

Saddle Fitting

Saddle fit is critical to your horse's physical and emotional well being. If your saddle doesn't fit, your horse cannot perform to its potential, any more than a human athlete can achieve top performance in a pair of ill-fitting shoes.

The basic Buena Vista saddle will fit most horses of the gaited breeds just fine without any modification. The saddle panels are padded with wool flocking, which will conform to the horse. In some cases, however, the panels should be custom shaped to fit a particular horse. Occasionally a special tree will need to be used. It only takes a few minutes to measure your horse's back and be sure that your new saddle will fit.

How to measure for your saddle

Take a flexible ruler or an 18 inch long strip of lead, such as you might find at a stained glass shop (a piece of heavy aluminum wire or 1/8 inch copper tubing will work in a pinch). Do not use a springy wire, such as a coat hanger.

Lay it across your horse's back at the point where the front of the saddle rests. Be sure you get far enough back (a lot of people place their saddles too far forward). When your horse steps out with his front foot, his scapula (shoulder blade) will rotate to the rear. Have someone fully extend one of your horse's front legs, and you can feel with your hand the rotation of the scapula. With a piece of chalk or masking tape, mark the point of the furthermost rearward rotation of the scapula. This is the point at which you take measurement number 1 on Diagram A below.

Measurement 1

Lay the flexible ruler or other measuring device across the horse's back at point one as outlined above; press it down firmly; then carefully lift it off and lay it on a large sheet of paper. Next, trace the outline of the ruler (inside edge) onto the paper.

Measurement 2

Move back 7 inches and do the same thing for measurement number 2

Measurement 3

Move back another 7 inches and take measurement number 3

Measurement 4

Finally, press the measuring devise down on the horse's spine, starting at point one, and transfer this measurement to the paper.

When you are done, the drawings should look like Diagram B below.

Photographs are also helpful. They should be both side and front view and taken with the horse standing on level ground and straight up on all four legs.


Horse Fitting
Diagram A
Fitting Strings
Diagram B
Wadesville, IN 47638 (812) 985-5550

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