Check the bar width.,
Check the bar slope.,
Check the bar flare.,
Check the gullet.
Remember when you checked your horse’s withers and topline? This is when that comes in handy. Place the saddle on your horse without a saddle pad/blanket. If it fits, the bars should be in contact with the horse down the entire length of their back.
If the bars touch only the base of the horse’s back but not the top, then the saddle is too narrow.
If the bars touch only the top of the horse’s back but not the bottom, then the saddle is too wide.
, The slope of the bar is the angle of the rocker against the angle of the horse’s back. A well-fitting saddle will have bars that mimic the angle of the topline. Therefore, the bars will be in contact along the entire strip of the horse’s back.
If the bars touch only the withers and the croup, then ‘bridging’ will occur and cause sores on the horse. This happens if the bars are too long, or if their isn’t a large enough slope to match the sway of the horse’s back.
If the bars contact the center of the horse’s back only, then rocking will occur. This happens if the bars are too short or if the slope of the bars is too great to mimic the horse’s back.
, The angle at which the bars turn upwards/outwards at the front at back of the saddle is the bar flare. If there is little to no bar flare evident, then the saddle may be too small for your horse. Make sure that your saddle has evident bar flare to prevent it from digging into your horse’s back while riding, causing sores or chafing.
, Place the saddle on your horse without a blanket or saddle pad. Look at gullet from the croup of the horse; you should be able to see all the way through to the withers. If you cannot, then the saddle is too small. Then, go to the gullet by the withers and place as many fingers as you can vertically in the empty space. A well-fitting saddle will allow for 2-2.5 fingers to stack in the gullet; more than that means your saddle is too large, while less means that the saddle is too small.