Saddle Sizing 101 - What size saddle do I need?

We get it, It's confusing

This comprehensive guide will help you navigate French Used Saddle's stock to find what's best for you.

Here at French Used Saddles, we want to make your saddle searching as easy and concise as possible.  We've spent years reading stamps and studying the brands so you don't have to! When in doubt, reach out to us for personalized recommendations. We can analyze photos of your horse, saddle stamps, and your personal experience to match you with the best saddle.


The saddle's seat is measured from either nail head on the skirt to the center of the cantle. This measurement is standard across all brands. It's best to judge your own seat size by what you've ridden comfortably in before. A 17.5" seat would be considered average for most adults.

Most riders are comfortable sizing half a size up or down in either direction. If you usually ride in a 17," a 16.5" or 17.5" are still worth considering. Deeper seats tend to feel tighter, so size up.


Flap sizing varies from brand to brand, but the length is fairly standard. I have included measurements of every saddle's flap in their listings. Length is indicated by a number: 00-5. The larger the number, the longer the flap. The taller you are, the longer flap you'll want. A "2" flap is average for most adults. For example, tall & leggy riders should consider a 3-4 flap. 

The letters that follow the number refer to the advancement of the flap, or the "forwardness." This is how far forward the flap reaches in front of the saddle. If you ride with shorter stirrups or have long legs, you'll appreciate a more forward flap. 

In most brands: N = Normal/average.  A, AA, AAA = Forward (the more A's, the more forward).  D = straight (not forward).

CWD uses their own letters:  L = straight (not forward).  C = standard/forward (comparable to "A" in other brands).  F = very forward (AA, AAA)

Butet uses numbers, not letters, to indicate advancement.  .0 = straight.  .25 = slightly forward.  .5 = forward. For example: 2.5 is an average length with a forward flap.


The tree and panels have the most variation from brand-to-brand and saddle-to-saddle. The general rule of thumb is that 4"-4.5" is narrow, 4.5"-4.75" is medium, 5" and greater is wide. This is an imperfect way to indicate tree size, as every saddle brand & model will have the "dots" in a slightly different spot, so have an open mind to measurements that are close to what you're looking for, as they still may be great fits. 

When trying a saddle to your horse, you should be able to fit 3-4 fingers between the saddle and the top of your horse's withers.

Panels are perhaps the trickiest part of a customized saddle to read. When "Pro" or "trainer" panels are indicated in the description, that means that saddle's panels have NOT be customized. Thus, they can fit the most horses and can be shimmed or padded however you choose. For the versatility, they are the choice of professionals or those that have multiple horses to ride! 


All of these specifications are of course somewhat subjective. The best saddle for you is the one you & your horse are the most comfortable in. That's why we included a 7-day trial with all our saddles! We would never want our customers to be left with the wrong fit. If the saddle you've tried isn't the right fit, never fear! Take lots of photos (girthed up with no saddle pad) and email them in, we'll use the information to determine a better fit. 

For any further questions, please don't hesitate to reach out! 

With Love,

French Used Saddles