Trivia Challenge: Do You Know the Parts of a Saddle?

Do you know the parts of a saddle and how it can affect your horse? Quiz yourself and learn why each answer is correct from owner of CSI Saddle Pads, Donna Saddoris.

1. This is the skeleton of a Western saddle. It is designed to distribute your weight evenly across your horse’s loin muscles. They greatly depend on the discipline you and your horse participate in. 

A. D-ring 

B. Tree 

C. Girth 

2. True or False: The gullet of the saddle is the tunnel-shaped area under the horn and pommel that creates space for your horse’s withers. 

3. The ____ are the only part of the tree that are actually in contact with your horse’s back. 

A. Bars

B. Back cinch 

C. Fenders 

How’d You Do? Check your answers below! 

 1. Answer: B. Tree. The tree is the foundation of a Western saddle and can be made of fiberglass or wood, depending on the type of saddle. The tree is designed to distribute your weight evenly across your horse’s loin muscles and the purpose of the tree is to create a larger surface area to distribute weight and pressure. 

2. Answer: True. The gullet of the saddle is the tunnel-shaped area under the horn and pommel that creates space for your horse’s withers. If the tree of the saddle is too narrow or wide, you’ll notice it in the gullet area first. 

[For an easy way to test if your saddle fits through the gullet: Saddle Fit Seminar: Saddle Terms

3. Answer: A. Bars. The bars are the only part of the tree that are actually in contact with your horse’s back. The flare of the bars dictates how much shoulder room your horse has to move—or how much of the shoulder is restricted because of the tree. The rock of the bars is usually low, medium, or high, which indicates how far the bars are going to be away from your horse’s loin. Most saddles that aren’t custom-made are going to be a low rock, which is why several horses get sore in the low back area. 

For more help on testing for sensitivity or to learn more about proper saddle fit: Saddle Fit Seminar: Saddle Terms]

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