Gullet Size ChartGullet SizeInchesNarrow6”Medium or Average6.5”Wide7”Extra Wide8”
Attach the saddle to your horse and sit down in the saddle. While riding, you should be able to fit 3 to 4 fingers in between the swell and your thigh. If you can fit more than 4 fingers, your saddle is too big. If you can’t fit 3 fingers, then your saddle is too small.
A standard gullet measures 7 inches and is the most common measurement found in saddles described as having “full quarter horse bars”. Any gullet that measures larger than 7 inches is considered to be wide.
Semi-Quarter horse bars usually have a 6 1/4″ gullet, and Quarter Horse Bars usually have a 6 1/2″ to 6 3/4″ gullet. Designed to fit the average horse, one of these two widths will fit approximately 80% of horses comfortably. Full-Quarter horse bars usually have a 7″ gullet.
The gullet is the tunnel underneath the fork and rides over the horse’s withers. The design of the fork and the angle of the bars of the saddle tree determine the width and height of the gullet.
When a saddle is too wide in the front, it can sink down over the withers. This takes the saddle out of balance by making the pommel lower than the cantle, which in turn carries more pressure over the front of the tree (at the withers/shoulders) than a saddle with a properly sized tree.
Scientists have measured sit bone spacing for large populations. On average, men’s sit bone width ranges between 100mm – 140mm (give or take a few mm to round), and women’s range between 110mm – 150mm.
Here are six signs to watch for which could indicate that your saddle doesn’t fit your horse.
Gullet Measurement Basics
Measure from the top of the piece of metal that holds the stirrup down to the edge of the bottom of the flap. That’s how you’ll get the flap length. To measure the width of the saddle flap, measure horizontally across the widest part of the flap.
The pommel is the front of the saddle and has the horn sitting on top of it. A saddle with full quarter horse bars will typically measure 7 inches across the gullet. A saddle with semi-quarter horse bars normally has a gullet measurement of 6 3/4 inches.
WHAT IS THE CORRECT WIDTH? Just slightly wider than the horse’s spinous processes. For “most” horses, a 3.5 inch wide gullet channel is plenty. At the withers – unless your horse has none – you can usually feel the bony spinous processes and get a good guesstimate of the width of the spine.