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Tack-saddle size question

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  • Tack-saddle size question

    My friend has purchased 2 dressage saddles, used. They were sold as 17.5 inch seats, and now measure a 17 inch seat. Is there a good reason for this? Like maybe some saddles of the same brand are off 1/4 to 1/2 inch? I don't understand why a 17.5 saddle measures 17" from mid cantle to the button near the pommel. On 2 different brand saddles.

  • #2
    My guess would be that the seller did not know how to correctly measure an English saddle, and was more of a western saddle person.


    • #3
      I have had a saddle that was stamped 17.5 measure 17, one that was stamped 17 measure 16.5, and one that was stamped 18 measure 17.5. I have also had numerous saddles stamped 17 or 17.5 actually measure a half size larger. Whats stamped on the saddle is not always accurate, one must measure to be certain.

      So, someone either the seller or the buyer, is measuring incorrectly, or the seller didn't bother to measure, just going by what 'they were told when they bought it'. You'd be amazed how often that happens.

      Having said all this, on some saddles I have found that it actually can be tricky to measure correctly (center of badge to top/middle of cantle) and can easily have a .5" difference. I have had more than one saddle that had not only a large oval badge, but also a thickly padded very rounded cantle. I personally measure from the center of the badge to the center of the cantle (if its thickly foamed to the center of the thickness), but if someone were to measure from the front of the badge to the back of the cantle, I've had some saddles that could easily add an inch if measured thus.

      Finally, I am a chronic measurer, its part of my day job to deal with measurements and accuracy counts, but I did run into some trouble once. My SO gave me a handy little roll up tape measure. It was poorly designed and the little tab you use to pull it out did not count as part of the measure, the measurement started awkwardly .5" behind it, and the print was smudged so it wasn't terribly apparent. I measured all sorts of saddles and things for at least a month before I realized this, and was a .5" off each time.
      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


      • #4
        I have found that the size stamped on the saddle really does not matter when it come to fit. I think that some of it has to do with metric vs us (imperial system) of measurement and also where you place the edge of the ruler.

        As someone stated before if the person measuring does not know where to put the ruler it would pose a problem,also because there is no standard to tree making it can be difficult to know where to place the ruler. I have been taught center of the button to back of the saddle and I do not always get the same measurement stamped on the saddle. However the majority of the time it matches. That being said the deepness of the seat and the rise of the pommel will contribute to the fit therefor not all size 17 dressage saddles will fit the same.

        That it why it is always a good idea to ride in a saddle before you buy it. I test rode a Schleese Jane Savoie in an 18 and it swallowed me alive same with a prestige 18. I finally purchased an 18 Author Kottas 18 however my last saddle was an Thornhill Germanina and it was a 17 and it fit like a glove but I have been told by many a Thornhill 17 it more like a 17.5. So now when I am saddle shopping I just tell the fitter that I can be any where from a 17 to a 19 depending on the saddle.
        Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.
        -Auntie Mame


        • Original Poster

          Thanks, I see that saddle size is not really consistent, and mine are not the exception.


          • #6
            depends on the cantle angle and the depth of the twist and a number of other factors like button placement and accuracy of the manufacturer. A high cantled, deep seated saddle may measure 18 inches and fit like a 16.5 inch. I am comfortable in a 17 inch wintec Pro, which is a pretty flat seat, but in the Passier, slightly deeper seated, I need a 17.5; in the Windsor which is even a little deeper, I needed an 18 inch and the Schleese one that was stamped 17.5, was way too big for me from the start and when measured, was nearly 19 inches.

            So yeah, always ride in it before paying for it.
            "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF