Posted 2019-02-09 11:38 AM (#7421618) Subject: Gullet size
I’m getting ready to order a new saddle. The maker had me get a wire coat hanger and measur my horses wither to get the gullet length and bar spread. My horse is built like a tank and pretty round. I’m not very knowledgeable with saddle fit and that something I would like to change. If I were to guess I would of ordered an 8 inch gullet thinking s he would need because she is so stocky. Well after taking the coat hanger measurement, she measured to be a 6.5 gullet and 14 inch bar spread. I guess I’m asking how the gullet measurements work. And hopefully I measured her correctly! Probably a dumb question. But just found it interesting
Posted 2019-02-10 8:35 AM (#7421691 - in reply to #7421618) Subject: RE: Gullet size
Married to a Louie Lover
Not dumb at all! In fact, thank you for asking!
There are many many measurements that play into the fit of a saddle, gullet is arguably the least important, but most often cited because it’s really the only one we can halfway get a reasonably close measurement on once the saddle is constructed. And even then, I feel you have to know what you are looking for to be accurate. If I know a saddle maker has made a saddle in a 6.5” gullet and a 7” gullet I can probably determine which one a saddle is with a measuring tape. If I have no idea what size I’m looking for, it’s kind of a crap shoot. More and more saddle makers are stamping sizes on their saddles, either the gullet size or the tree or a serial number they can look it. It’s way more accurate than trying to measure.
So there’s that.
Keep in mind the gullet is responsible for keeping the bars in proper position over the horses back. So if it’s too wide the bars will sit too low and be over a portion of the back that they are not made to fit. Then people add thicker pads, shims, etc. Just because we can add padding or thicker socks to a pair of boots that are too big, or put a belt on a pair of too large jeans doesn’t make them fit right or be as ideally comfortable as they could be.
All of our roping saddles are 6.5” gullets on various bars. Our roping horses are not small critters. Personally, I feel anything over 7” takes a really mammoth horse. Most makers do not go over 7” - ads you see for 8” gullets are usually mis measured. The exception is Martin’s Axis tree, which is a completely different fitting theory and is apples to oranges against other trees. There are a handful of others, but again, exceptions to the rule.