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Home > Used Western Saddles > Measuring, Describing, and Knowing Your Own Western Saddle

How to Inspect, Measure, and Describe Your Own Western Saddle

Don't know how to measure a saddle seat? Not sure what kind of tree your saddle has? This article is for those of you who already have a saddle, aren't sure how to find out about it, and need help. Even if you're not looking to buy another saddle or sell your own, it's still very handy to have all the information you can.


This procedure is used by our saddle experts in our consignment program to gather information and specifications of each saddle. After you've gone through this process, you can easily use our Used Saddle Blue Book to get an estimate of its value.


1. Locate the manufacturer. Manufacturers usually have their insignia on the saddle. Most are on the left strap holder or on the fender. Some also put it on the stirrup strap.


2. Look for the model number: this too is on the left strap holder or under the fender. This will tell you alot about your saddle.



3. Determine what style of saddle: trail, endurance, show, ranch, roper, cutting, reining, barrel, gaited, mule, draft, trooper, etc. Not sure? View our handy article here.



4. Tree size is determined by the angle of the gullet. Semi QH Bars/ Reg QH Bars have a higher pitch and Full QH Bars are a flatter pitch. Our saddle experts use our downloadable gullet templates to get an accurate measure.



5. Tree material is determined by flipping over your saddle and looking between the two sides of fleece; you will be able to see the tree. Fiberglass covered trees have a string-like material wrapped around the tree or wood. Rawhide covered trees are wood covered in leather. Ralide trees are a flesh to blueish color and do not have a wrapping. Flex is a rubber-type material.










6. Seat size is measured from the top of the cantle (at the stitching), where the leather and seat material are attached, to the pommel or under the horn, right above the hole of the seat.


7. Seat material is usually made of suede - which feels "grabby." It helps hold you in your seat. Smooth leather is another option, which is more slick. Grain-out leather is a bit more rough than suede.
8. Cantle height is determined by using two measuring devices: a straight edge and a retractable ruler. Use the retractable ruler to measure like you would the seat size and then use the straight edge down on the deepest part of the seat. This will give you your cantle height.
9. Swell width is determined by measuring the whole way across the swell or the area under the horn.
10. To measure the post and the cap, use a straight edge to measure from the bottom of the post or horn, to where the cap begins or when it starts to slant out. To measure the cap, just measure from one side to the other, left to right.


11. Rigging is determined by double dee or ring and single dee. If there are two dees then it is a double; if there is one, then it is single. If they are fastened into the skirt leather, then it is "in skirt." If they are attached to extra leather straps that are connected to the tree then the rigging is reinforced. If there is one dee in the front and one dee in the back and connected to the leather straps connected to the tree, that is double dee reinforced. For more information about different types of rigging, click here.


12. To measure the skirt length, measure from the complete back to the complete from of the skirt.


13. Weigh the saddle.


14. Go through the saddle with any extra features it may have like the kind of tooling, how the fleece looks, any silver and where it is located.


15. You may use our Used Saddle Blue Book to get a good estimate of what your saddle is worth.
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