How to Measure a Western Saddle for Cantle Height

The cantle of the saddle will function correctly regardless of the height, but a saddle with a higher cantle will help hold the rider in place more effectively. The cantle of a saddle can be measured using a ruler.

Function of the Cantle

The cantle is the back part of the seat of the saddle. Its purpose is to help hold the rider in the seat, provide additional comfort and support for the rider. The cantle also anchors the bars of the saddle tree in place inside the saddle, which helps maintain the integrity of the saddle. Cantle height tends to be a personal preference issue rather than one that affects the function of a saddle.

Measuring the Cantle

You will need a straight edge ruler and a retractable tape measure to properly measure the cantle. If you do not have a retractable tape measure, any long straight board or object that will create a straight line from the pommel to the cantle will work. The pommel is the front part of the saddle and the part that the saddle horn sits on top of.

  1. Stretch the retractable tape measure out from the center of the pommel to the very back of the cantle. The tape measure should be running straight through the center of the seat. Make sure it is in as straight of a line as you can get it.
  2. Locate the deepest part of the saddle's seat.
  3. Place the base of the straight edge ruler in the bottom of the deepest part of the seat and measure the distance between the seat and the spot where the straight edge and the retractable ruler meet. 
  4. The distance between the line created by the retractable ruler and the deepest part of the seat is your cantle height measurement.

Author

Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.