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 Fitting Your Saddle to You
 15" or 16" saddle seat?
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Atrayou
Advanced Rider



USA
381 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2006 :  12:32:23 PM  Show Profile Send Atrayou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am wondering what size saddle seat I really should be using? I am 5'3 and I weigh 124 lbs....I do tend to flexuate 5 lbs sometimes less. So what size seat should I be getting I am looking at Western saddles.

Atrayou

Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2006 :  2:57:20 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would think a 15" seat should fit you just fine. I'd also go to a shop where they sell lots of saddles and just sit in a few. Even western saddles with the same seat size will feel different depending on the type... western pleasure, trail, roping, cutting, barrel racing, etc. And don't let the names fool you. I trail ride more than anything else but use a barrel saddle. I like the deep seat and the sense of security it gives me when going up & down hills.

Also, I've ridden in a 15" seat for most of my life. I'm 5'1" and weigh about 130 lbs. But I was comfortable in the same size of saddle when I was much younger and weighed 105 lbs. But that's been over 30 years ago.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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Atrayou
Advanced Rider



USA
381 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2006 :  7:49:02 PM  Show Profile Send Atrayou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks Red Hawk....I think my Fiancee is going to buy me a saddle for Christmas....I am thinking that a deep saddle seat was what I was looking for as I trail ride too! Is there really a huge difference between 15 and 16 inches do you think?

Atrayou
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2006 :  9:03:44 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Atrayou

Thanks Red Hawk....I think my Fiancee is going to buy me a saddle for Christmas....I am thinking that a deep saddle seat was what I was looking for as I trail ride too! Is there really a huge difference between 15 and 16 inches do you think?



All my western saddles have been 15". I have sat in a couple of 16" saddles, and I felt I moved around too much in them to keep my seat where it should be. I can only give you my own experiences in such things as they have applied to me. I don't know if it would be different for someone else.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown

Edited by - Red Hawk on 10/15/2006 9:05:24 PM
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2006 :  01:15:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You really have to sit in them. Some don't feel that different but others do. My sister's old saddle was a 16" and felt like a 14" because of how it was made. Also deep might not be best make sure you try it out.

I would say don't let him buy you a saddle. Instead tell him that if that is what he wants to get you let you pick it out withen the price range he wants. You need to sit in it to see if it works for you but even more important you need to make sure it is going to fit your horse. Ten to one if he just goes out and picks one out for you without any thought to what would fit the mare or you not sitting in it it won't work as well as it should.
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Atrayou
Advanced Rider



USA
381 Posts

Posted - 10/17/2006 :  1:56:47 PM  Show Profile Send Atrayou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh No we are going to make sure it fits my mare....first and formost I am looking for a saddle that fits her....then me. Not sure if that is the right way to go about it...but the more research I do I am reading that a proper saddle fit on the horse makes a world of difference in the horse's performance. So I more thne anythijng want her to be comfotable with the new saddle. I am still looking into the Wintec's.....they seems to be a good synthetic saddle and fairly light weight.
I do want to ride her in the winter months But I am wondering....to those of you that do ride out in the snow. Do you go out on snow machine trails or do you just go out in fairly deep snow and make your own trails? I have a camp ground across the road that is full of snow machine trails. They are pretty much used during weekends, that being the busy times. I have been out there many times getting my brush for Christmas wreaths last winter and found it to be very quiet...so I was thinking that would be a great place to go and ride her? Or My Fiancee' will take the snow blower and make a big circle around the pasture area....my concern with that will be the ice of course so I will use sand on it....but I would really love to get out into the woods and enjoy the snow covered trees. What about all of you do any of you ride outside in the winter?

Atrayou
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2006 :  12:28:47 AM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I personally would not use snowmobile trails. They go pretty fast and may not have time to stop for you. Also the noise may scary the horse apples out of her. If one does catch up to you and wants to get around you, there may be not good way to do that. Most snowmobile trails would not be open to horse traffice because of the high risk it would be for both rider and snowmobiler. My brother hit a deer on a blind corner and it nearly killed him. If that would have been a horse it would have killed him and probably the horse and maybe rider. I put this up there with riding a horse down the middle of a freeway, they are moving fast, can't always slow down in time and can really freak out a horse. And even if there isn't a lot of people there during the week I still wouldn't trust it. If you do decide to do this check the rules first. Most trail systems in heavy winter areas are closed to horses. Sadly many are closed to them in the summer months also, so double check that too if you don't know for sure about this parks rules.

How much snow do you get? Unless the snow is really deep you can ride in it with no problem. I wouldn't put sand on any path in the pasture and really not salt because that will kill the grass. The sand would probably be a waste of money but it will also alter the pasture and maybe not for the best. I ride on trails until the snow is too deep and then on the plowed camp road but this is personal trails on private land so no worry about crazy people on snowmobiles. I use Easy Boots with Ice studs which help with the snowballing and ice. If you shoe your horse have pads put on before snow so you don't get snow balling. Talk it over with your farrier about the best shoe and pad to use for riding in winter. If not you can use boots with studs. We also plow a very large area, we have to because of the amount of snow we get so by the end of winter it's much smaller. I also ride in this area. I try to ride nearly every day in the winter when I have a horse broke enough to ride in conditions like this. Even if it is just the 3/4 mile to check the mile.
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horsegracy
Beginning Rider

64 Posts

Posted - 12/27/2006 :  9:56:50 PM  Show Profile Send horsegracy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was also wondering what size of saddle to go to. Over the last several years I have gained some major wait. When I was younger I was 5'7" at 135 and road a 15 pretty easy. Now however I have gained. Now Im pushing 200 and don't seem to losing Im wondering if I should go to a 18. Right now I ride bare back cause I was going to loose wait and fit back into my saddle no such luck. I have a hard time sitting in saddles on the racks at the shop cause Im scared ill break those flimsy things. So I don't try many out.

Edited by - horsegracy on 12/27/2006 11:03:44 PM
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ILoveJoe
Clinician



USA
2499 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2006 :  1:21:54 PM  Show Profile Send ILoveJoe a Private Message  Reply with Quote
http://www.dailyequine.com/forums/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=2362

This is the link I got from Chuck




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horsegracy
Beginning Rider

64 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2006 :  01:08:09 AM  Show Profile Send horsegracy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
that link makes life soooooooooooo much easier.
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puddleplasher
Clinician



USA
1296 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2006 :  12:13:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit puddleplasher's Homepage Send puddleplasher a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good candidate for a sticky, I'd say....

'plash

Pepper sez: "Don't forget the horse!!"
'Plash's Ride Log
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ILoveJoe
Clinician



USA
2499 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2006 :  09:08:59 AM  Show Profile Send ILoveJoe a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree, it would make a great sticky.




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farmgirl
Beginning Rider



116 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2008 :  8:56:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit farmgirl's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I would like to know my size for saddle
Do you go by the size or how it feels
I am small person
I need a new saddle but not sure if the one i have is
right for me.
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2008 :  9:29:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by farmgirl

I would like to know my size for saddle
Do you go by the size or how it feels
I am small person
I need a new saddle but not sure if the one i have is
right for me.



Check out this chart from the saddle shop.
http://www.horsesaddleshop.com/saddle-seat-size-chart.html

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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killybean907
Clinician



USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2008 :  07:07:08 AM  Show Profile Send killybean907 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love the stickies! The sizing chart that Chuck has on the saddle shop site is the best and clearest one I've seen. I am just under 5' 9" and at 145ish lbs. (yeah, it goes up and down ), I am a 16" seat.
The saddle brand and type DOES make a difference though if you are borderline on some of the sizes. That's where a nice saddle shop comes in handy where you can go and sit in a few. Unfortunately, Anchorage, Alaska does not have one.
Next best thing is Chucks shop!



It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years.
Karen-Anchorage, Alaska
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Tack_Collector
Tenderfoot



6 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  10:23:57 AM  Show Profile Send Tack_Collector a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm a smaller adult (5' to 5'1") and I've found three problem areas when trying to fit a western saddle:

1. Unless the saddle seat is built up with padding an/or a riser, a 15" or larger might very well still be too big. Slick seat saddles have no padding, so they will feel 1/2" to 1" larger than a padded seat, usually. You might need to go down to 14" in a slick seat. Saddle companies used to make some 14" ladies saddles with about a 3" or so cantle and fenders just slightly cut down. They were saddles for older teens and smaller women, as opposed to kid's or youth saddles. They had the quality and the look of a serious adult saddle, lol. Circle Y offers 14.5" in their upper end models of ranch saddles.

2. Saddle is too long in the seat, *and* the stirrups are also hung too far out in front. With that combo, I'm miserable. It puts me in a great position for riding a Harley, maybe, but not for riding a horse. :-) You can ride a longer seat, provided the stirrups are set back a little farther than usual. (Saddle seat English equitation has made a new art form out of this since the invention of the adjustable stirrp bar.) I've found that Tex Tan fits me better that Circle Y. I can actually ride the 16" Tex Tan flex and Imperial show saddles. The Flex I have is the 16" Hillcrest with the deep pocket, and the Imperials I've ridden are 16" but have a slightly built-up equitation seat. I can shorteh the stirrups enough without punching any new holes. I might have been happier with a 15" Tex Flex something but the store had a deal on the 16". I also tried a Circle Y 15" Flex, but the stirrups felt too far out in front for my liking.

3. Seatwork is everything. That's why you have to try sitting in the saddle, with the stirrups properly adjusted for you. The seat has to be the right length, cantle has to slope right, the "dish" or curve of it has to give you the right amount of room, the "dip" or low point of the seat has to be in the right place. One thing I've run into with older saddles, particularly ropers and some vintage show saddles, is the twist is too wide. Some western saddles are just too wide across the seat to be comfortable. They may work for tall riders, but I feel like I'm straddling a barrel and I can't get my legs around it. I think the modern show and pleasure saddles and most ropers have moved away from this and narrower twists are more common now. I don't see a lot of serious bullhide tree ranch saddles in my area. Local shops have mostly barrel, show, and flex tree pleasure models.
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  12:05:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Some great suggestions and observations, TC.

Mrs Hook ordered a Dakota with a 14" seat from Chuck at the saddleshop and I am pretty sure you can order different stirrup leathers.

Tex Tan said they would make a Tex-Flex with a 13" seat with full size leathers on a special order when we were talking to them at the Congress so I think if one is clear with what they want and are willing to wait they can get the combination that works for them.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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