Useful Tips

How to measure a saddle


Buying a saddle for a horse is a crucial moment. The easiest option (it’s ideal) is when you have the opportunity to try on a future purchase for your pet in the presence of your veterinarian. This ensures the right choice and saves the horse from back problems as a result of using the wrong saddle. However, such an opportunity is not always available. At the same time, the incorrectly selected saddle size for the rider will also bring a lot of trouble to the tandem, because too large or too small saddles not only cause discomfort to the rider, but also threaten the horse's troubles due to improper distribution of weight on the back.
We bring to your attention several recommendations for taking measurements from the back of a horse. These measurements will help you choose the ammunition that best suits the shape of your pet’s back. Here you will also find tips on how to determine the size of the saddle for the rider.
First, the saddle should fit your horse, and only then - to you. To determine your size, you will also need measurements. Initially, you need to determine what size of the lenok (frame) of the saddle your horse needs and suits her in the best way. A lenchik (frame) is the frame over which the saddle is going.

To take measurements from the horse you will need a piece of flexible wire about 17 "- 43 cm long. A clothes hanger is perfect for measuring the horse’s withers (part of the ridge between the humerus’s bones of the animal). Bend the wire in the middle and place two fingers on the horse’s back behind it vanes This is an ideal position for the saddle.

How to take measurements from a horse.

Now bend your wire around the withers at the edge of the shoulder blade. Fix the “V” shape through the withers and press the wire so that it firmly accepts the contours of the horse’s back, so when you remove the stencil, you could lay the wire and measure the distance between its two ends. You need this distance to get the right saddle size for your horse.
How to take measurements from a horse to determine the size of an English saddle
The sizes of the English saddle baskets are always given in centimeters. A narrow ribbon is 28 cm (for horses with a really high withers, the standard for such horses is approximately 29 cm). The average ribbon is about 30 cm and is usually suitable for horses with a withers slightly above average, and the wide ribbon is 31 cm for animals with an average withers. Extra wide 32 cm lenght for horses with a low withers. If you have a horse of a heavy (or draft) type, then the size is extra-wide and most likely you will need a 32 cm lenok size.
Almost all high-quality English saddles have dimensions in centimeters, however, many cheap saddles label sizes simply as "medium", "wide", "extra-wide". It is important to remember that the dimensions of the lenok must be indicated by the manufacturer on the saddle, because if you put a few saddles, then you can no longer measure the lenok.

How to take measurements to determine the size of a western saddle.
Toadstool western saddles are usually of two sizes: medium and wide. They are referred to as "semi-quarter horse bars" or "full quarter horse bars". There are also special arabic horses.

How to choose the right saddle for a horse

It may seem rather strange to many to raise the old and well-known saddle issue. But do we really know much to be sure that we are saddling correctly? Have you ever thought about why you really need the saddle to lie perfectly and fit the horse?
I don’t argue, we all read in books and heard from the trainers the basic rules for “putting” the saddle on the horse’s back: that the saddle should rest on the withers, and the saddle should be placed no higher than the middle of the withers and no further than the last rib, that the girth is loose should hang at a distance of the palm from the elbow of the front leg. That seems to be all. But in reality it turns out the same as if all the people on earth were given the same boots, say, of the 41st size, and said that all that needs to be done in order to put on shoes and walk is to use a spatula, to put on socks and properly tie shoelaces. And the size, the rise of the foot, the shape of the foot, gait features, skin sensitivity, taste preferences, in the end?

The main task of a saddle for riding is not so much to create maximum comfort for the rider, but to protect the back of the animal. When riding bareback, the main weight of the rider falls on the ischial bones, and the saddle redistributes the load on the saddle benches, the total area of ​​which is greater than the area of ​​the rider’s body parts in contact with the horse’s back. Therefore, in spite of the increase in the total mass on the horse’s back, the pressure on the unit surface of its back decreases.

Thus, the saddle makes riding more comfortable not only for you, but also for your pet. After all, if the rider during the training will feel discomfort, he will be able to adjust his landing himself, put on more comfortable clothes, choose a softer saddle. The horse, on the other hand, has a shorter attention span than the rider, so the pain and discomfort become dull after some time, but somehow anyway subsequently they have a negative effect on her health and work efficiency.

The lower part of the saddle, which is in direct contact with the back of the animal, is of the greatest importance to him. Indeed, during the movement, the horse bends at its sides, actively moves its shoulders, lowers and raises its back, and accordingly uses for this purpose a mass of muscles that “lie” under the saddle. It, despite all the innovations and improvements in the technology for creating ammunition, remains a fairly rigid structure.

The trouble is that people often buy saddles primarily for themselves. This is evidenced by the fact that the main selection criterion for the majority is the numbers 16, 16.5, 17, 17.5, etc. But these are the parameters of a saddle on a rider, but certainly not on the back of a horse! It is good if buyers are interested in whether the saddle is suitable for a high withers, but this does not solve the problem, because the withers and backs of horses are not only of different heights, but also of shape.

In order for the four-friend’s back to be strong and healthy, and your sporting activity to be effective, you must be able to choose a saddle according to the size of the lenochka, be able to determine whether it matches the shape of the horse’s back, be able to correctly position it and correctly use “auxiliary” accessories such as cinch , calipers and shock absorbers.

Continuation to the article "How to choose the right saddle for a horse"

Choosing a saddle by the size of the lenok
To make the horse comfortable under the saddle, you need to know what size lenok (lenok is a wooden or metal frame of the saddle) it needs. To measure it, you need to take a piece of wire 42 centimeters long. The wire must be flexible and, at the same time, rigid enough so that it can be reliably measured. You need to put the horse right on a horizontal platform. In about 2-3 fingers from the scapula of the front leg, draw a vertical line in your mind, and, having put the wire on the horse’s withers in this place, bend it in half so that there is a length of 21 cm on each side (although in some cases the length of the segment is indicated - 22 5 cm).
the distance between the ends of the segment AB and gives the desired width of the lenok. To simplify the measurement of the length of the segment AB, you can redraw it on a sheet of paper, and fold it in half.
You can also circle the bend of the wire on cardboard and cut out a peculiar layout that is useful for choosing a saddle in a store. With the help of a wire, you can also take the size at several points of the back (professionals measure the back with special measuring instruments): 1 measurement - the highest part of the withers, 2 measurements - in three fingers behind the shoulder blade, where the front bow of the lenok is located, 3 measurements - the end withers, where there is the lowest place of the back, 4 measurements - the place where the saddle ends, 5 measurements - bend the wire, pressing it to the bend of the upper line of the back from the withers to the thoracic (18th) vertebra. It will be better if someone helps you and marks a dot or tape on this wire with a marker or tape (1, 2, 3, 4). Then you get a certain template. You can attach all these delays to graph paper and circle around them, indicating the points of correspondence.

There is also a standard classification of the sizes of the lenok: Narrow, Medium, Wide, Very Wide, Extra Wide, XX Wide, Custom. But the correspondence of these sizes to the indicators in centimeters may vary for different manufacturers. So, in the Wintec interchangeable system, very narrow corresponds to approximately 27-28 cm, narrow - 29, wide - 30, very wide - 32, extra wide - 33-34 (yellow, green, black, blue, red and white colors on Wintec Easy-Measure Gullet Gauge). And, for example, on the site .. I found another classification option: 28.5 cm (approx 11.25 ") very narrow, 30 cm (approx 11.8") narrow , 32 cm (approx 12.6 ") normal, 33 cm (approx 13") wide and 34 cm (approx 13.4 ") very wide. And although Wintec, which came up with a system of removable lenochki, has a special place in the saddle market and has a definite advantage in the eyes for those who are afraid to make a mistake in choosing a saddle, some equestrians do not like this brand, considering that saddles with such a design are unstable. One way or another, keep in mind that with the help of the lenght size you will not be able to choose the right saddle for sure. precisely at least one parameter, more chances that you will avoid one of the problems that is much better than nothing.

Uniform saddle pressure on the back
It is imperative that the saddle, being on the horse’s back, exert maximum uniform pressure. That is, when you sit in the saddle, your weight is correctly distributed on the shelves of the saddle from the front bows to the back and the unit of weight per unit area at all points of contact with the back of the animal is the same.

Continuation to the article "How to choose the right saddle for a horse"
The two most common drawbacks are when the saddle is unevenly attached to the horse’s back and has the shape of a “bridge” or “rocking chair”. In the first case, the saddle is too straight, and therefore the entire weight of the rider falls on the edges of the saddle, forming a "bridge" from the withers to the back. The saddle “bridge” enslaves the work of the shoulders and causes severe pain to the horse in the area of ​​the back bows. In the second case, the main weight of the saddle and rider falls in the middle, due to the fact that the shape of the saddle in the lower part is too round, and the front and rear bows do not fit on the back of the horse. And thus, the saddle sways on the horse’s back during movement, like a swing, and as a result can not only cause discomfort, but also lead to serious damage to tissues and muscles.
Another problem is the one-sided saddle pressure on the horse’s back. Most often this will happen with old saddles, and also because most riders (according to all equestrian rules and laws) ride a horse from the ground on the left side. From regular repetition of this procedure a) the saddle is shifted to the left and remains in the same position throughout the training session, b) over time, the saddle is bent, c) the rider becomes a habit of sitting on his left leg, d) the left side of the horse is injured. All that can be advised in this case is to protect the saddle and the animal and more often ride astride the stand.

Determining the degree and uniformity of the saddle fit is not easy, but possible. To begin with, you can try to determine it manually: put your palm under the saddle in different places and according to your own feelings, determine the pressure force, press on the front and back bow of the saddle to determine if it sways on the back of the horse. You can also determine this after intensive training: you need the horse to sweat under the saddle and then, having seated it and removed the tandem, determine the degree of pressure by the shape of the wet spots. Ideally, the wet spot shape should follow the shape of the saddle shelves. If the back is wet only in the middle or along the edges where the saddle was lying - this is a signal of a serious problem. There is another option for this test: put a sufficiently large sheet of paper under the tanning pad (which would cover the entire surface occupied by the panels of the lenok) and evaluate the saddle lying on the back of the animal by the nature of its “wear” after training.

The distance between the panels lenochka
The width of the space between the panels of the lench is also of great importance. The first thing you need to evaluate is the presence of space between the pillows, as well as between the saddle and the back of the horse. If you put a saddle (without a saddle strap) on the horse’s back and, standing at the front lenok, you see an even strip of light along the back under the saddle - everything is correct, if there is no such clearance, it means that the saddle is in some place in contact with the back, which means that it can not be used in any case! Such a gap is designed to ensure the free operation of the spine of the horse. This is extremely important, because the vertebrae should not be exerted the slightest pressure, otherwise it can result in a chronic disease. But this space should not be either too large or too small. If the saddle is narrow, then the panels will squeeze the spine on the sides, if the distance between them is too large, then the saddle itself will put pressure on the spine, dropping under the weight of the rider. Thus, the width of 3-4 fingers (about 6-7 cm) is optimal for the gap. To test this, you should freely place them between the panels and pass from the front to the back bows. The narrowing problem area is at the back of the saddle. Check this place more carefully.