Fitting saddles to horses can be lengthy, expensive process. However doing it right will save your horse's back and you'll have more relaxed enjoyable rides. Here are the 3 main steps you need to take when properly fitting a saddle to a horse:
1) Saddle Gullet size
The most important area to consider is the saddle gullet and saddle tree size. To ensure proper saddle fit, make sure you work with a saddle fitter to get it right. An ill fitting saddle can cause back problems for your horse and a sour horse that does not enjoy being ridden. When you put the saddle on the horse.
Please note: there are correctional saddle pads available if the saddle to top forward and back too much. No saddle is 100% perfect especially as horses tend to change size as they grow so it is a bit of trial and error, make sure you work with an experienced saddle fitter to find what works best for you and your horse without a saddle pad underneath to check the wither clearance. The saddle panels should sit naturally on the horse's shoulder blades with the general rule of 4 fingers between the pommel and withers. Make sure your saddle is not positioned too far forward or back. It should sit so that the girth can be fastened easily just behind the horse's front legs. Common mistakes include riders putting their saddles too far forward, putting pressure on top of the withers.
2) Saddle Length
You will also need to consider the length of the saddle from the front of the pommel to the back of the cantle. Make sure you discuss saddle brand options with your saddle fitter, as they can recommend saddles makers for shorter backed horses or longer. Certain saddle brands tend to focus on one unique style and specially in either longer or shorter saddle makes.
3) Rider Seat Size
The saddle needs to fit both the horse and rider. Once you've established what brand, size etc you need for your horse you need to decide on actual size for the rider. Both for comfort, balance and to ensure rider weight is distributed evenly. Read our guide to finding the correct rider seat size here.