Schleese Saddlery Service

Custom English Dressage & Jumping Saddles

Guidelines for Optimal Fit to Protect your Horse!

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9 Point Checklist:
Click on each title link to read the full version. Links to full versions will become available as we publish our material in our monthly email publications ... please revisit our page monthly to access new links OR visit our Schleese Educational YouTube Channel and watch all the videos at your leisure.

  1. Balance: The center of the saddle (seat area) should be parallel to the ground while on the horse's back. Click on the video to hear why balance is important.

  2. Wither Clearance: Clearance at the withers should be 2-3 fingers for normal withers, whereas, mutton withers will have more clearance and high withers will have less clearance. Clearance should be all around, not just at the top.

  3. Gullet Channel Width The gullet should be wide enough not to interfere with the spinal processes or musculature of the horse's back (3-5 fingers).

  4. Full Panel Contact The panel should touch the horse's back evenly all the way from front to back; some panels may be designed off the back end to allow the back to come up during engagement.

  5. Billet Alignment : The billets should hang perpendicular to the ground so that the girth is positioned properly and not angled either forwards or backwards. The girth will always find its position at the narrowest point of the rib cage behind the elbow.

  6. Saddle Length: The shoulder and loin areas should not carry any weight of the saddle and rider. Rider weight should be on saddle support area only.

  7. Saddle Straightness: The saddle should not fall off to one side when viewed from back or front. The tree points should be behind both scapulae (shoulder blades).

  8. Saddle Tree Angle: The panel tree points should be parallel to the shoulder angle to position saddle properly.

  9. Saddle Tree Width: The tree width should be wide enough for saddle to fit during the dynamic movement of the horse.

Check out the video to the left on
Saddle Length.

Check out Dr. Johanna Robson's (DVM) video
on proper saddle fit!
double click on video to view full screen