Saddle Fitting

Precision for every horse's unique shape.

Saddle Fitting

No matter the design of the saddle, the proper fit is of ultimate importance to ensure horse and rider success and comfort.

A side profile image of a woman standing in front of a horse while holding the reigns, and Andrea Hicks standing beside the horse doing a saddle fitting.

To help us with your saddle fitting enquiry, we will require the following information:

  • Horse details: age, height, breed, condition, level of fitness, confirmation, any previous or ongoing injury/treatment, or significant asymmetries.
  • Rider’s details: height, weight, age, riding discipline, your riding level, the type of riding you plan to do in the saddle and any ongoing issues you may have that may affect your riding comfort or position, additionally if you have especially long legs or anything else that may be slightly unusual.
  • Photographs: for further information on these see our guide to taking photographs for saddle fittings:  /photos-for-a-new-saddle-fitting or /photos-for-a-saddle-adjustment
  • Budget available and timescale for a new saddle.
  • Sapphire Saddles has an experienced fitter to help achieve the best saddle fit. For local (Ontario, Canada) clients Julia Curtis, CSFT, CEMT, of Saddles2go.com, will work with you either in-person or remotely. For clients further afield, she will happily work with you remotely, either in conjunction with your own preferred saddle fitter or directly with you, the client.
 
Close up of hands adjusting a saddle on a horse.
Icon of a horse bit.

Saddle Fitting Requirements

To help us fit your pony or horse with the perfect saddle we will require the following: a template, photographs and some measurements. Please refer to “Taking a Template for Saddle Fitting” for assistance in completing the template, and to the guidance regarding the photographs needed for us to best understand the shape of your horse.

Side Profile Pictures

Your horse or pony must be on flat level ground standing as squarely as possible to the photo. Below are examples of correct side profile pictures with the horse’s head in the correct position and their feet visIble:

Side profile of a horse standing in a green field paddock.
Side profile of a horse standing in a barn.

Wither Pictures

Your horse or pony must be on flat level ground. Below are examples of correct wither pictures that look down and along the horse’s back.

Top-down image of the withers of a horse standing in a barn.
Back side profile image of the rump of a horse.
Top-down image of the withers of a horse standing in a barn.
Icon of a horse bit.

Taking a Template for 
Saddle Fitting

What you will need:

  1. A flexi curve (this can be obtained from most craft or art supply stores)
  2. A large piece of plain paper, 11×17 inches.
  3. The horse or pony to be measured standing on a flat, level surface as squarely as possible.

What you will be taking a template of:

The front arch of the saddle tree needs to be the same shape and width as the part of the horse’s back where it should be positioned. This position is 1-2″ behind the scapula (shoulder blade bone). We need you to find this point before a template can be taken.

See below for an example of a correctly placed Flexi-curve and drawn template.

How to take the template:

  1. Stand the horse on a flat, level surface as squarely as possible.
  2. Straighten out the flexi curve then bend equally in half, making a ‘v’ shape.
  3. Carefully place on the horses back just behind the withers. In most cases the sides of the curve should be 2” just behind the shoulder blades (scapular bones) pointing down vertically behind the elbows.
  4. Mould the curve on the back and get the exact shape of the withers and sides of the back.
  5. Before removing the flexi curve, check that you have measured in the same position on the left and right sides.
  6. Carefully remove the flexi curve noting which is the left and right side of the horse.
  7. On the large piece of paper draw around the curve following the edge that was in contact with the horse. Note on this sheet the left and right side of the horse.

Do not worry if the two sides look slightly different in shape, there may be a difference in the horse’s muscle. The saddler will take this into account.

Correctly placed flexi curve:

Side profile of a horse standing in a green field.

Flexi curve template:

Sketch outlining the flexi curve template.

How to take scapular to the last rib measurement:

Find the back of the scapular; this usually lines up with the front of the girth line if you were to draw a line straight down, and if in doubt it’s the bony part at the back of the shoulder blade. The last rib can be found at the end of the rib cage, and it usually curves slightly more forwards at the top, which is where we need the measurement from.

Image of a woman measuring the scapular to the last rib of a horse.

Ready to have your perfect saddle fitted?