Measuring your seat size

Traditional measurement, from nail to top of cantle

Traditional saddle measurements date back hundreds of years, to when the saddle seat was manufactured the same for all disciplines, and the shape of the flap simply changed to make the saddle into a different model. In these early days, a saddle was roughly a wooden structure with leather or material affixed to it with little padding and certainly a lack of distinct shaping. As the seat size was then always the same, the method of measurement of top of cantle to saddle nail was developed and held fairly true, giving riders and idea that they would be a certain size.

Improvements in saddle design changes the way the industry measures

Since modern manufacturing has improved, as well as the industry’s understanding of horse and rider anatomy and movement, the saddle industry has advanced significantly and we are now able to manufacture a wide range of seat shapes and styles. A dressage seat for example would be very deep with a very high cantle, whereby a jump saddle would be very flat with a very low cantle. Modern manufacturing has also enabled the use of sophisticated and varied seat foams and materials which will also alter the shape of the seat and cantle.

If you can picture a deep dressage saddle seat, and a very flat jump saddle seat, to obtain the same cantle to nail measurements we would either need to aesthetically move the cantle nail or badging, which then wouldn’t have a function, or a rider would then need to remember that they are a size “18” in Dressage, a size “16” in Jump, as a rider would then need each discipline saddle to be in a different size.

Within our range, some saddles do have less standard measurements, i.e. stock is Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. This can cause a great deal of confusion for riders as they regularly ask “well which is closer to a 17”? Therefore, to simplify it for riders, by large, the equestrian industry continues to badge saddles with the size most likely to match up to the riders expectations, much like knowing that you are a size “10” or a size “Medium”, in clothing. Much like not every size “Medium” measures the same in all areas, a size “Medium, 1 or 17” in a saddle will likely also not measure the same in all areas, but it is badged that way to meet rider expectations of how a “17”, Medium or 1” would feel on them.

As each saddle does vary within our saddle ranges, we always recommend that riders not only visit a store or saddle fitter to determine the right size saddle for them, but seek professional advice from a qualified saddle fitter who is familiar with our brands to ensure that the saddle is also suitable for their horse.

A guide to stock saddle v English saddle seat sizes

A stock saddle will feel and fit differently to an English style saddle, and therefore the seat sizes cannot be accurately compared, however the below is a rough guideline.

  • 40 cm/16" to 42 cm/16.5" = Small stock saddle
  • 42 cm/16.5" to 43 cm/17" = Medium stock saddle
  • 43 cm/17" to 44 cm/17.5" = Large stock saddle
  • 44 cm/17.5" to 46 cm/18" = Extra Large stock saddle

Please note that these measurements are approximate, and should be used as a guide only.