Fitting a Saddle
Reprinted from the Pintabian Ink Spot, Vol. 2, No. 1

To measure a horse's back, use a stiff wire or opened coat hanger to take three cross section measurements plus a backline measurement.

First, bend the wire over the back part of the withers (where the front of the saddle will be).  Next, bend the wire over the middle of the back (where the center of the saddle will be).  The last measurement would be made by forming the wire along the back from the withers to the rump, taking care to mark the spots where the cross measurements are.

Trace all the measurements on to paper and draw a straight line from withers to rump.  The difference between the top line and the straight line tells you the amount of drop in your horse's back.

An easy way to check how your saddle fits is to look at the horse's back after a ride.  The entire area under the pad should be wet.  Any dry spots are caused by pressure points.  A dry spot will become a sore and a sore will become a white spot.

Many times, a horse will tell you the saddle does not fit properly by displaying behavior problems.  A saddle that is too big will give you less trouble than one that is too small.  A pressure point, however, will go through two pads just as easily as one.

NOTE:  Special thanks to Lowell Hamrum of Hamrum Custom Saddle Shop for this article.  Lowell made a custom trophy cutting saddle that was awarded to the NCHA Horse of the Year at the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity in Fort Worth, Texas in December of 1995.