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Measuring A Saddle

Knowing the measurements of your current saddle can be very helpful when shopping for a new saddle.  For example, your trainer may say you need a longer or more forward flap, but  it can become overwhelming to determine an appropriate flap configuration if you don't know how long or forward your current flap is. Having an accurate set of measurements on your current saddle, as well as a side picture of you in your current saddle will aid immensely in your saddle search. Not only will having a set of measurements allow you to compare your saddle with saddle prospects, it will allow you to more knowledgeably compare prospects to each other.

First thing to start with is seat size.  Some brands, such as Butet, are notorious for measuring bigger than the saddle stamp indicates. So make sure the saddle you think is a 17" really is a 17". It could be smaller or larger. Dont forget to consider the seat width as well  - brands and models within brands can have dramatically different surface areas!  Now move on to the flap length and width.  Obviously the length will tell you how long the flap is, but the width measurement will give you a general measure of forwardness.  

Here's how to accurately measure a saddle:

  To determine flap width, and thus relative forwardness, measure horizontally across the widest part of the flap, as seen in the picture. We find with older saddles, a more accurate measurement is obtained if you let the tape follow the contours of the saddle more, versus pulling it snug.
  To determine seat size, hold the zero marker of the tape on the center of the cantle.  Pull the tape snugly and diagonally towards the logo button on the side of the pommel.  The measurement in the center of the button is you seat size.
  To determine flap length, hold the zero marker of the soft measuring tape on the top of the bottom arm of the stirrup bar. Drop the tape straight down, following the line of the lay of the stirrup leather. A short (1) flap is usually less than 13 inches, a standard (2) flap around 13"-13 1/2", and a long (3) flap between about 13 3/4" and 14 1/2". This will vary across brands and models as the cut of the flap and the stirrup bar placement on the saddle affect flap length.