Choosing a saddle for my new girl

I am looking for a new-to me-Dressage saddle for my girl but should I be looking at wide saddles or xw saddles? I have a collegiate ap mw saddle that I like I am sure won’t fit her because it fit my last petite Morgan so well but I may get the larger gullet and see if it will be wide enough for her since I already have it.

Here is a pic.


Are you able to work with a Saddle fitter? They will be able to guide you a lot better than anyone on the internet could. Saddle fit is SO important.

She is gorgeous, and in spectacular condition!

And as @Lunabear1988 suggested, try to find a saddle fitter to work with.

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Could you explain how it works using a saddle fitter? They just come out and measure and give suggestions?

My independent saddle fitter comes out, measures and draws a template. She normally has some saddles with her to try.
She will also give me suggestions on ones to try if she doesn’t have something that works.

Another option is that you can make your own tracings and send them to some of the larger shops that do remote fittings.

Aiken Tack Exchange has a certified saddle fitter and had been great to work with.

Pelham Saddlery has a huge amount of dressage saddles and does remote fittings.


My saddle fitter comes out, measures, and draws a template consisting of six separate measures from wither to last rib, plus a curve along each side of the back. She uses a curve to trace these onto cardboard. I use these to go saddle shopping.

Since I’ve had these, I only buy locally. I go see a saddle, turn it upside down, and pop the tracings into it. That lets me eliminate saddles that will never fit. I also now know what small amount of bridging my fitter can eliminate with a reflock.

If I was going to shop online, I might mail a copy of the wither gullet tracing and of the horizontal rocker panel tracings to the vendor and ask them to pop them in and send me a photo.


As far as MW versus W, there’s no consistency in what that means between brands. You need to try the actual saddle on your horse or with tracings and then on your horse.

It’s like buying women’s pants. Sure, the label says Size 10. That means exactly nothing until you try them on. Even higher end chain stores like Banana Republic vary a lot in sizing just between different models of pants. Even between different colors in the same model.


Hard to tell with a photo. We have a draft cross in the barn that looks wider than my morgan but he isn’t. My guy is much wider because he has HUGE shoulders… I agree to find an independent fitter who will help you navigate your choices.

In my very limited and new experience with saddle fitters, they come to you with a bunch of saddles, and you have as many saddles as possible available for them to try, and you try them all on the horse and evaluate fit. Where the rubber really meets the road in this enterprise is with saddles that have flocking ports so the flocking can be adjusted right then and there.

Particularly if this is a young horse or a horse just starting in work, their back will change as they age/get fitter, and the ability to change the flocking as the horse changes is critical.

Knowing what I know now, I would never buy a saddle that didn’t have flocking ports and could be adjusted easily.

The saddle fitter I am most familar with is a representative for a high end saddle maker; but she happily evaluates and adjusts fit on other brands of saddle. So while I understand the recommendation for an independent fitter, some maker reps are more interested in what works for you and the horse.

Hi! First of all, your new girl is lovely! Congratulations!

I just had a saddle fitter out two weeks ago to fit my Morgan gelding as we are starting our dressage endeavors. She came out and did a ton of measurements, asked after his veterinary history, what I notice when I ride, and any concerns I have regarding saddle fit. She also watched him move and gave me a list of possible saddles that might work for us. I’ve since been scouring the internet and the first trial saddle should arrive today!

If you’re remote, and due to some area’s virus restrictions, some place are attempting to do remote fittings to help clients. That might be useful?

Good luck!

Basically you want only wool flocked. In my experience some wool flocked come with a slit already in place for making flocking adjustments and some don’t. However the saddle fitter just makes her own to do the adjustments.
Foam panels cannot be adjusted. You would need to use a shimmable pad or have new panels put on the saddle.
There is also air flocked (Cair).
Some of these saddles also come with an adjustable gullet.
I personally prefer wool flocking. However my current horse prefers a Voltaire which is foam.

My prior horse outgrew his wool flocked dressage saddle. Even if I had the tree widened his back shape changed enough that it would not have fit with flocking changes.
I have have found that as I have improved my dressage riding what I need in a dressage saddle has changed.
Foam and wool both have their pros and cons.

IMO The most important thing is making sure the tree shape and size is correct for the horse and that it is comfortable for the rider.

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