Let me start with this. A good fitting saddle is one that takes all of the rider’s weight and distributes it evenly over the entire tree, which is the skeletal system of the saddle. This article will go over a few key things to look for to make sure your saddle fits your horse.

The most important element is ensuring that there’s even distribution across every part of the saddle.

A proper saddle fit will have even contact with your horse’s back.

First Things To Check For Saddle Fit

Firstly, stand back and look at the saddle on the horse’s back.

A well fitting saddle will look level. If the front of the saddle is high, the tree may be too narrow. However, If the front of the saddle is low, the tree may be too wide.

The saddle should also not rock from front to back. Additionally, you should be able to slide your hand in the space between the gullet and the horse’s back.

Saddle Placement

The front of the bar of the saddle tree should sit behind the horse’s shoulder blade to allow for freedom of movement.

Never over tighten the cinch to compensate for poor saddle fit. If you are mounting your horse properly, and your saddle fits well, your cinch should never have to be more than a little snug.

Saddle Fitting | What If There’s Not Even Contact?

Many people think that if a saddle doesn’t fit well, they need to add more padding to the area that has more contact with the horse.

However, the problem is that when you add more padding, it doesn’t do anything to help redistribute the pressure.

Instead, do the opposite.

Take your saddle pad and thin out the areas where the saddle has too much contact to allieviate some of that excess pressure.

As a result, the saddle will sit down firmer and tighter for a better fit.

How Do I Know If There’s Even Contact Or Not?

Put a little Navajo wool blanket under your saddle, and ride your horse around for about 15 minutes to get his back sweaty and then pull the saddle off.

Next, pull the blanket off and then check to see if there’s any dry spots on it. Ideally, the sweat pattern will be even without dry areas that indicate pressure points.

If there are dry spots, then place the blanket on top of the pad you typically use (for reference) and thin out your saddle pad in those areas.

As a result, doing this should help even things out and provide a better saddle fit for your horse.

P.S. Make sure you check out my tip on how to make your stirrups more comfortable!

P.P.S. Now that you know how to fit a saddle to a horse, make sure you know the only proper way to put on a bridle.


Carson James
Carson James

Carson James' background is in Vaquero Horsemanship, and for the majority of his career, he worked on cattle ranches where he rode horses all day, every day. His knowledge comes from real life experience using traditional Buckaroo horsemanship to train horses and fix problems. He is now taking all of this knowledge and experience and sharing it with horse owners through his blog, his Insider list, and his Buckaroo Crew. He has a unique way of breaking things down where they're easy to understand, both for the horse and the human.