The Western Saddle

The Western Saddle

Updated on 11/5/17, Originally posted on 3/31/12

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

We know that God has given the horse its strength and clothed his neck with thunder.  The Lord God has created this great big creature.  Read these next verses form the Bible about the horse and how God describes this magnificent creature.

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, that are used for different types of riding.  In this Creature Tip we will talk a little about the Western Saddle.  There are even several 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 lots of different saddle brands too, 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 for you as the rider, 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 all.  Knowing the parts of a Western Saddle will even help you know how to correctly measure the saddle, because not all saddles have a size on them.  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 straight across and not slanted, to the center of the Pommel where it starts to slant out.  Do not touch the tape measure to the Pommel, but rather just behind it.  Draw an imaginary line in your head.  We drew a red line in the photo below to demonstrate the imaginary line and the yellow line represents the tape measure. Make sure that the tape measure is mostly level and horizontal from the Cantle to the back of the Pommel (see photos below).


The saddle in this photo does not have much of a slope to the Pommel, so you could touch the tape measure to the back of the Pommel if you felt like it for this type of saddle.  Remember don’t measure past the seat stitching on the Cantle or you have gone too far and measured the seat bigger than it really is.

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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