View Full Version : western saddle size
10-16-2008, 10:54 AM
What is the best bars for saddlebred western horses. like arabians have western saddles with arab bars. Which is best Semi QH bars or full QH bars?
10-16-2008, 11:45 AM
I would think it would depend on the length of your horse's back. Some Arabians are so short backed, that they can't handle a regular 21" cutback english saddle and thus the reason for designing special trees for them. But, many QHs have a much longer flatter loin than even a large Saddlebred. I've always used regular QH western saddles, but then I've always had big long ASBs and don't really ride western enough to cause any soreness problems. Bottom line, make sure the back of the saddle flap doesn't come back far enough to rub the hip bone.
10-16-2008, 12:39 PM
The bars have to do with the WIDTH of the tree, not the length. A full QH tree is usually too wide for a Saddlebred and will sit too close to their back, rubbing the withers and spine, and tilting the rider forward. Usually a semi-QH tree will fit them much better. It's narrower so it'll sit up higher where it belongs.
An Arab saddle is short in length. I'm not sure what the bars (or width) are compared to a QH or semi-QH tree. I think most Arab saddles have a shorter cutback (or wither allowance) so you'd probably run into issues on a normal Saddlebred.
You could also look at saddles made for gaited horses. They are built more for a horse shaped like a Saddlbred and might fit better.
I'm considering buying a Wintec western saddle for trail riding and I would buy the semi-QH style.
10-16-2008, 01:39 PM
Most Semi QH Bar Western Saddle's will fit most ASB's without too much problem.However,not only do you have to consider the width of the tree but the gullet width as well,because some ASB's are wide in the withers.
10-17-2008, 09:29 AM
Vlayne, I know 100% that bars is length of saddle and TREE size is the width of the saddle, so you don't have it entirely right there. saddles with Semi QH bars will be shorter than full qh bars it has nothing to do with width
10-17-2008, 12:59 PM
Bars are the width and have absolutely nothing to do with the length, so vlayne is correct:
From Richard L. Sherer's "Horseman's Handbook of Western Saddles." Please keep in mind that there is no standardization of these measurements or names.
Regular Quarter Horse bars - gullet width: 5 3/4"
Semi-quarter horse bars - gullet width: 6"
Full quarter horse bars - gullet width: 6 1/4"-6 1/2"
Extra-wide quarter horse bars - gullet width: 6 3/4"-7"
Arabian bars - gullet width: 6 1/4"-6 3/4" (has a flatter pitch than quarter horse bars)
10-17-2008, 01:03 PM
show-trot,Vlayne is 100% correct.I have been in the tack business for many years and have sold LOTS of Western Saddles.The bars have nothing to do with the length of the tree.However,the legnth will vary with the seat size or style of the saddle.When I say "style" I am referring to the skirt such as a round skirt commomly found in Arabian Western Saddle's & Barrel racing Saddles.The bars have to do with the width of the tree and the Gullet size.In general, Semi QH bars have a 6 to a 6 1/2" Gullet and Full QH bars have a 7" Gullet size but some brands make Full QH bars with a 6 3/4" Gullet.Regular bars are generally 5" to 5 1/2" and some model's that have regular bars will have a 5 3/4" Gullet size just short of Semi.Nowadays you can have the tree and Gullet size made to your own specs whether you need a saddle with regular,semi,full or extra full bars.So Gullet sizes can vary quite a bit.There is also an angle issue from the front of the tree to the back of tree which vary with the Gullet sizes,but thats a whole nother part of saddle making that I will not get into right now.
10-17-2008, 01:20 PM
Thanks guys, I was starting to question my sanity. :blink: I worked at a tack store for about 3 years and I was SURE I was right, but hadn't had time to search online to verify...
10-17-2008, 11:34 PM
Every brand of western saddle is different even when they use the same size descriptions. Every tree can be different from the same brand, especially wood trees. The best thing is to find a good professional saddle fitter or soemone else who really knows what they are talking about who can come with you in real life to a tack shop that will let you tariler your horse over and try saddles on in the parking lot. If you can't do that find a tack shop or catalog with a generous trial policy and be ready and willing to drive/ship saddles back and forth til you find one that fits.
A saddle fits when the tree is:
-the right angle for the horse's back
-the right width between the bars for the horse's back
-the right width and height to the gullet for the horse's back
-the right length of tree AND length of skirt for the horse's back (different styles or trees from different brands are different lengths, so brands offer shorter skirts for short backed horses like Dale Chavez does)
-the right amount of rock for the horse's back so that there is no bridging
Slight fit problems can be corrected with pads but pads can not make any saddle fit and horse.
10-20-2008, 06:09 AM
I use Circle Y arab saddles to show in. They fit my horses perfectly. They are inbetween the QH bars and Semi-quarter horse bars. It does depend on the horse though. I just get a used Circle Y with QH bars and it fit great on my big mare. I am looking for one more saddle and I will probably go with semi-bars or arab. QH bars have always been too big for my other horses.
10-26-2008, 01:51 PM
The forums at http://www.dailyequine.com/ are the best fourms I've found for western saddle discussions. There is a predominantly western tack shop online that has fitting templates and tips for saddle fitting. They do not advertise here, so PM me if you want the name, anyone. Give me a day or 2 to reply. I don't always have time to drop in.
I am seeing more detail and specs start to be given when a manufacturer or vendor says "full quarter" or whatever. Example:
bullhide bound hardwood wade tree, Full Qtr bars at 94 degrees w/ a 7.0" gullet, 7/8ths Montana flat plate rigging, 4" cap on a 3" rawhide bound post, 10 1/2" mulehide A-Fork swell, 4 1/2" Buckaroo highback cantle with 1 1/2" dish
Watch skirt dimensions, particularly length. Western show saddles are getting a little exaggerated there, sometimes.
09-30-2009, 11:41 AM
Semi quarter horse bars are probably the best for saddlebreds. The full quarter horse bars tend to be too wide. The Arab tree is too flat/wide for a saddlebred and doesn't fit at all. Length doesn't tend to be a problem with saddlebreds, but I prefer the shorter ones without the long skirts. I've been in the repair and tack business for twenty years and longer than that with saddlebreds.
It really does depend on your horse. My mare can wear a saddle with semi-QH bars, while my friend's saddlebred needs full QH bars. It all depends on how wide your horse's back and withers are.
10-21-2009, 05:59 PM
...and then the fight broke out, lol.
Makes saddle trees. Looks like the bars are those long pieces, after all, lol. >;-) SQHB and QHB and FQHB all imply a certain combination of gullet width and bar angle, as well as length and rocker to the bars.
So, we were all correct. Ding, ding, e'vrybody's a winner!! :-)
11-06-2009, 06:32 PM
Hi... new here. But I am about ready to pull my hair out with western saddle fit.
My Circle Y with semi-QH bars pinches his shoulder higher up; I can't even slide my hand under there. And he always looks cranky when adjusting this saddle.
My new-to-me Crates with Arab bars fits well in the shoulders and clears his withers nicely, but tips up significantly in back (a good 3 inches), which I think is a sign of being too wide. Also, he has dry spots after working on either side of his spine. Of course, he works nicely in this and is not cranky.
My hubby's Abetta with regular QH bars (not semi) fits him well and lies flat. But Abetta does not make show saddles... Difference in gullet width between the Abetta and the Crates is 1/8 inch. So is it the bars?? And is Circle Y Arab different than Crates Arab?
Any thoughts? He's a small ASB, just 15 hands, and built kind of like an Arab with low, wide withers, which is why I went with Arab bars. I just have no idea what to try next. We just started out conversion from saddleseat to western, and he's progressing nicely, but I don't want to work him in a saddle that doesn't fit. I've read articles online until my eyes went blurry!!
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