Sit on a hard, wooden chair much as you would a saddle. Keep your back straight and your rear end away from the chair back, with your ears, shoulders, hips and heels in a straight line from top to bottom.
Make a mark directly in front of your crotch and directly behind your bottom and measure that distance. That should give you an approximate size of how your body is going to fit in a saddle when you go to your local tack store or look online.
Once you get to the tack store, sit in individual saddles as if you were on your horse to determine if they fit and if they are comfortable. A well-fitted saddle for you means that you should be able to place 3 to 4 fingers between your crotch and the saddle horn, and a full palm’s width between your bottom and the top of the cantle. Sitting directly in the middle of your chosen saddle allows for proper balance and coordination when you’re riding.
If you’re searching online for your Western saddle and you don’t know which size is right for you, look for the saddle’s specifications – saddle length in inches – using the measurement you obtained sitting in the chair to determine if there is sufficient space between your body and the saddle’s horn and cantle.
Remember, a saddle that is too small for your body can pitch your forward over the horn and cause you to be off balance. A too-large saddle can result in you leaning too far back and your knees and heels coming in front of your body’s core. This kind of unbalanced seat can also result in instability in the saddle.