What Is A Gullet On A Saddle ?

Many riders don’t know that horse saddles have different gullet widths, and it’s important to understand why your saddle needs to match your horse’s girth as closely as possible in order to maximize comfort and performance. 

A saddle is usually made of leather or synthetic materials. It is attached to the horse’s back by straps that go over the horse’s hips and around its belly.

A saddle has a girth or a cinch that goes around the horse’s belly and chest. A saddle has a seat, a pommel, and two stirrups.

Here, we cover how to measure your horse’s girth, what the different gullet widths mean, and how they affect the fit of the saddle on your horse.

What is a Gullet on a Saddle?

A gullet on a saddle refers to the space in between two panels of the saddle, and it’s one of the measurements you need to ensure you have when shopping for your next saddle.

Every saddle has its own unique gullet width, and every horse has its own unique wither width, so it’s important to get both dimensions correct when buying saddles or adjusting your current saddle.

The gullet on a saddle is the central opening that runs through the saddle’s seat and back panels, connecting to the straps on each side of the saddle.

Its width is one of the main factors determining whether your horse will be comfortable riding in that saddle. If you’re just starting out, you might think that all saddles have the same size gullet, but they definitely don’t!

Here’s what makes up your gullet width and why it matters to the horse and rider when choosing their next piece of tack together!

What is a Gullet on a Saddle?
                                    Image credit: Horserookie

The 2 Main Types of Saddles

There are two main types of saddles: English and Western.

English saddles are used for horseback riding disciplines such as dressage, show jumping, eventing, polo, and fox hunting.

A Western saddle is used for mounted activities such as trail riding, barrel racing, roping, and cowboy-mounted shooting.

The gullet can be seen as the opening in the center of the saddle between the pommel and cantle. In order to achieve optimal weight distribution, the width of the gullet should match that of your horse’s withers (the area where a horse’s back connects to its neck).

Understanding the Purpose of Gullets

The purpose of a gullet on a saddle is to provide clearance for the horse’s spine. A properly sized gullet allows the saddle to sit evenly on the horse’s back and prevents the rider’s weight from putting pressure on the horse’s spine.

Gullets come in different sizes to accommodate different horses, and some saddles even have adjustable gullets. When choosing a saddle, make sure you consider both your horse’s size and your own height.

The biggest problem with an improper-fitting gullet is that when the rider shifts their weight forward or backward, they put pressure on the part of the spine that isn’t being supported by the saddle – which can lead to pain or injury over time.

For this reason, many professional riders opt for a more expensive custom-made saddle. If you find yourself between two sizes and are unsure about which one to choose, go with the larger size as you will be able to adjust the gullet (if necessary) once it arrives at your home.

Many people believe that the height of the gullet is important, but it really depends on what type of riding you do. In most cases, a slightly lower gullet will work just fine because there should always be ample room for adjustment based on how much space there is between your body and where you place your feet in relation to the stirrups.

How to Choose the Right Type of Saddle for You

If you’re new to horseback riding, you may be wondering what a gullet is on a saddle. Gullet is the space between the pommel of the saddle (the front) and the cantle (the back).

It’s important to choose a saddle with the right size gullet for your horse. If the gullet is too small, it can put pressure on your horse’s spine.

On the other hand, if the gullet is too large, it can cause pain in the horse’s shoulder blades. The best way to avoid either scenario is by getting a custom-fitted saddle that matches your horse’s measurements precisely.

That being said, if you need to buy a saddle off the rack, there are some general guidelines as to which type will work best. For instance, dressage saddles have narrower gullets than most Western saddles.

Accommodating Different Horse Shapes and Sizes

The gullet of a saddle is the space between the pommel and cantle that allows room for the horse’s spine. It’s important to choose a saddle with the right size gullet for your horse to ensure their comfort while riding.

A too-narrow gullet can put pressure on the horse’s spine, while a too-wide gullet can cause the saddle to shift and rub against the horse’s shoulders. A properly fitted saddle will have a gullet that matches the width of the horse’s back.

To measure your horse’s back width, find its widest point at its withers (the part of its back where you would normally find a saddle pad).

The length of this measurement will be how wide you need to order your next saddle in order to get one with an appropriate gullet width.

Taking Into Account Other Features on Your Horse

When you’re shopping for a new saddle, you’ll want to take into account the other features of your horse. For example, if you have a wide-bodied horse, you’ll need a saddle with a wide gullet. Gullets come in different widths, so be sure to measure your horse before making a purchase.

The width of the gullet will also affect how comfortable your horse is while wearing the saddle. If your horse has back problems or issues with their spine, a wider gullet will provide more space between the saddle and their spine.

A narrower gullet may put too much pressure on their back and lead to discomfort.

Final Thoughts

Gullet is a space between the pommel of a saddle and the cantle. It’s important because it allows the rider to move their legs forward and back, which helps with balance.

Additionally, the gullet can affect how comfortable a rider is in the saddle. A wider gullet may be more comfortable for those with wider hips, while a narrower gullet may be better for those with narrower hips. Ultimately, it’s important to try out different saddles to see what works best for you.


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