The Western Saddle

The Western Saddle

Updated on 6/7/15, Originally posted on 3/31/12

Bible Verse: Job 39:19 “Have you given the horse strength? Have you clothed his neck with thunder?”

No, God has given the horse its strength and clothed his neck with thunder.  The Lord God has created this creature.  Read these next verses form the Bible about the horse.

19 “Have you given the horse strength?
Have you clothed his neck with thunder?
20 Can you frighten him like a locust?
His majestic snorting strikes terror.
21 He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength;
He gallops into the clash of arms.
22 He mocks at fear, and is not frightened;
Nor does he turn back from the sword.
23 The quiver rattles against him,
The glittering spear and javelin.
24 He devours the distance with fierceness and rage;
Nor does he come to a halt because the trumpet has sounded.
25 At the blast of the trumpet he says, ‘Aha!’
He smells the battle from afar,
The thunder of captains and shouting.

There are several kinds of saddles, besides the Western Saddle, that are used for different types of riding.  In this Creature Tip we will talk a little about the Western Saddle.  There are many different kinds of Western Saddles.  Western Saddles are designed for trail ridding, for Western shows, some for roping, others are for barrel racing, and so much more!  There are also many different saddle brands, kind of like there are different clothing brands for people.  Western Saddles come in different sizes to fit the horse and also they come with different seat sizes to fit the rider.  Most Western Saddles come with seat sizes ranging from 14 inches to 18 inches but of course there are smaller saddles, like a 12 inch saddle for small kids and larger saddles like a 20 inch or bigger for larger people.  You can buy Western Saddles with half inch seat sizes too; for example 16 ½” or 14 ½”.  It is important to find a saddle that will not only fit the rider but also the horse.  The best way to determine what size saddle you need is to go to a store and try them out.  Saddles at the store should have the size marked on them so you can easily look through them.  Knowing the parts of a Western Saddle will help you know where to correctly measure the saddle if the saddle does not have a size on it.  The correct way to measure the seat of a Western Saddle is to measure from the Pommel/Swell to the stitching on the Cantle.  To measure saddles with Pommels that slope forward a lot, line up a tape measure with the center bottom of the Pommel (do not touch the Pommel with the tape (see red line in correct photo), and measure to the stitching on the Cantle making sure that the tape measure is mostly level with the Cantle (see photos below).


The saddle in this photo does not have much of a slope so you could use the tape measure and touch it to the back of the Pommel but make sure it is mostly level with the cantle.  Also, make sure that you measure where the seat stitching stops on the Cantle and not past the stitching.

Besides measuring, another reason for learning the terms of a saddle is so that when your teacher explains how to pull yourself up into the saddle you will know what parts of the saddle they are telling you to grab hold of.  It’s always a good idea to be familiar with the parts of your saddle.

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