How to Measure a Western Saddle

Updated April 17, 2017

Measuring a Western saddle is an important part of buying a new or used saddle. Not only do you need to know what size saddle to buy for yourself, you need to know what size saddle will fit your horse the best. An ill fitting saddle for horse or rider can cause multiple problems, most of which can be quite painful. Learn how to measure a Western saddle and get the best size saddle for you and your horse.

Use a measuring tape and measure the seat of the saddle for your size. Hold the end of the measuring tape on the top of the cantle (the centre of the back of the seat) and measure to the front of the seat at the pommel, or horn. Make sure to stay in the centre of the seat.

Read the numbers on the measuring tape at the front of the seat. Generally, most adult saddles measure from between 14 to 17 inches. Certain types of saddles can be larger or smaller. Barrel racing saddles are meant to fit snug while roping, and Western pleasure saddles are meant to have more room to move in the seat.

Move to the front of the saddle to measure the gullet, which will determine what type of bars your saddle has. Start the measurement at the bottom of the front of the cantle and measure to the other side of the bottom of the cantle, going straight across. Most Western saddles have either quarter horse bars or semi-quarter horse bars. Saddle makers may vary in this facet, so let them know what the gullet measurements are when ordering a saddle.


Western saddle measurements are different than English saddle measurements, and seat sizes will vary greatly. Your seat size in an English saddle will not be the same as it is in a Western saddle.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
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About the Author

Since 1997 Jenny Carver has served as editor and freelance writer for many offline and online publications including,, "Hoof Beat News," "Import Tuner" and others. Carver owns a custom automotive shop where she has been doing paint and body work, custom interior work and engine building for over 11 years.