Master Saddlers
Association Certified
Saddle Fitter


Step One: Position the Saddle
Place the saddle slightly forward on the horse’s withers. Next, press down on the pommel and slide the saddle rearward until it stops at the resting place which is dictated by each horse’s conformation.

Step Two: Angle of the Points
The tree points should lie within ten degrees of parallel to the withers.

Step Three: Wither Clearance
There should be adequate clearance between the pommel and the top of the horse’s withers, approximately two or three fingers.

Step Four: Pommel to Cantle Relationship
Visualize a straight line parallel to the ground from the pommel to the cantle. In almost any saddle, if the cantle is even lower than the pommel, the saddle is improperly fitted.

Step Five: Seat Level
Visualize the same straight line parallel to the ground and look this time at the deepest part of the seat. This area should be level.

Step Six: Seat Length
The saddle should never go behind the 18th thoracic vertebra which is the vertebra corresponding with the last rib.

Step Seven: Channel Clearance and Gullet Width
There should also be adequate clearance over the spine and connective tissue throughout the channel of the saddle.

Step Eight: Saddle Stability
The saddle should remain stable and not shift excessively from side to side or from front to back.

Step Nine: Panel Pressure and Contact
Place one hand in the center of the saddle and press down to secure the saddle in place, run your other hand between the panels and your horse’s muscle, feeling for uneven pressure.

Step Ten: Horse Response
Throughout the whole saddle fitting process, monitor your horse’s response. The horse is the most honest indicator we have when fitting a saddle so pay attention to it and note any changes.


A Description of a Typical Saddle Fitting


Gina works with a rider on fitting a saddle comfortably. As a rider herself, she understands the feel and fit of a new saddle.

Careful measurements are taken of the horse’s back. From these diagrams, saddles can be ordered and custom fitted.

Gina measures the horses back as well as assessing the skeletal structure and muscle development. Every horse is different.
How it feels is important.
Gina and Yankee, a happy customer!
That’s a saddle collection! Gina travels with many saddles in order to fit a variety of horses and riders.
You have to know what you are looking at, too. Gina foxhunts and rides over fences right alongside the riders she fits in saddles.


Thanks to Holly Covey for these photos!

Gina Perilla - - Copyright 2011 all rights reserved