Sidesaddle Fitting - Western Sidesaddles

Western Sidesaddles by Crest Ridge Saddlery
Western Sidesaddles
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Sidesaddle Fitting

Saddle Fitting for Your New Crestridge Sidesaddle

Crestridge Saddlery builds each sidesaddle to order using simply taken measurements you provide.  

Measuring Your Horse

Step 1: Build the saddle fitting measuring tool.

Cut a sixteen inch piece of stiff wire that can be easily molded to fit your horse’s shape and retain that shape when removed from the horse. Coated wires such as ROMEX or soldering wire work well. Mark the middle of the wire at the 8 inch point with a marker.

Step 2: Mold the saddle fitting measuring tool to your horse or mule.

Stand your horse square on a level surface. With gentle pressure locate the back edge of the shoulder blade (scapula) with one or 2 fingers and keep them there. With your other hand place your measuring tool over the withers. Place the marked center point directly above the withers, with eight inches of wire to each side, and directly over where your fingers are marking the back edge of the scapula. Mold and press the wire down so that it makes a perfect outline of your horse's wither. It must make contact with the horse’s skin on both sides immediately on the back edge of the shoulder blade.

Free movement of the scapula is essential for a properly fitting gaited horse saddle

Step 3: Measuring your horse or mule

Carefully remove the measuring tool from your horse or mule so that the shape of the animal is maintained by the tool. Lay the diagram on a sheet of paper and trace the wire as shown to the right.  We use the measurements indicated by the two dashed lines. From the center of the wire measure straight down 3 inches and then side to side. This gives you the gullet measurement. Then measure from wire end to wire end straight across and this gives you the bar width through the shoulder. Record these 2 measurements, as we will need them to determine the required flare, bar angle, bar width and swell height needed for a proper fitting tree for your horse or mule.


Measuring the Rider to Get the Proper Seat Size

Sit on hard hard backed chair, with feet flat on the floor, and your back touching the chairback. Measure from the chairback to the back of the bend at the knee. This gives you the combined length of seat and thighbone, which equals the surface space the rider will utilize on the saddle. If the rider is heavier than average, it’s a good idea to measure across the hips while seated.
Fitting the Saddle to Your Horse

Crestridge sidesaddles have built-in pockets between the fleece lining and the tree.  These pockets allow you to use shims and/or flocking to adust the saddle to the curvature (rock) in your horse's back.  When properly adjusted, the saddle will not rock on the horse's back or create pressure points.  

We can assist your adjusting the saddle if you provide pictures of your horses standing square and level with its head in a natural riding position.  Take three photographs as shown below. It is not necessary for your measuring tool to be on your animal for these pictures—it is challenging enough to get your horse to stand square and still without having to worry about a piece of wire staying in place. These pictures help us determine the appropriate rocker for your animal and to spot potential fitting issues, such as a prominent spine. Please do your best to replicate these photos.


Please do not send us photos that contain more than 1000kb (1mb) each as during your fitting E-mails larger than 4MB will not be delivered to me. Please send your photographs as .jpg files. I need to be able to flip from one to the other to accurately work with your information. Please do not send more photos than what we ask for. While we appreciate the albums of photos that we often receive, it is very difficult and time consuming to flip through duplicate images and odd angles.  If we require additional photos, we will request them.
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