Finding the right saddle to fit your horse can be challenging, especially if you are looking at saddles that would need to be shipped to you to try. The best place to start is with wither and back tracings. You can then send these measurements to a tack shop and get a pretty good indication as to whether or not you are on the right track.
Wither and back tracings communicate critical information about your horse’s back such as the width of tree required and the type of panel configuration that will best fit your horse’s back. they also help show the
relationship between your horse’s back and withers.
Here’s what you need to make a tracing. These materials are available at office supply or art stores.
- A flexible curve — also called an artist’s curve or drafting curve. The 24″ length works best and ideally, buy one that is marked with inches. You can make do with a shorter one, but try to get one at least, but 18″. These are available at most arts and crafts or office supply stores. You can also use baling wire or a coat hanger, but these materials are a bit harder to work with and may skew the results because they don’t hold their shapes as well.
- A pencil with eraser and a permanent marker.
- Sidewalk chalk or painter’s tape in a color that will be visible on your horse in photos.
- A large sheet of paper — 11″x14″ is a good size
- A camera/phone to take photos of your horse’s back from several angles. Unless your horse is small, something to stand on.
Keep in mind that different saddle companies may ask for slightly different measurements but these videos give a good overview of what you need to do.
Here are two videos that provide instructions on how to make a tracing. If you are working with a specific saddler, ask them to let you know which measurements they need.