Measuring Your Horse & Saddle Fit

Measuring your horse and proper wire placement:

 MUST HAVE FOR ORDER:  1. I need to actually see two pictures of your horse with the wire in place,the first one standing at the shoulder with a full shot of the horse, the second standing in front of the horse at the shoulder looking down the back.   2. I need to actually see the wire tracing on paper, with the measurements. (You can just take a picture of it and email or send it in a text message to me.) 3. Every non-Paso Fino owner needs to do the hand exercise explained on “DOES MY HORSE NEED A GAITED SADDLE? (PLEASE SEE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW)  There is a video below with Tony showing how to do a proper measurement as well.  (just in case you do not want to read all of this… lol)

Basically, what we’re trying to do here is get the correct angle of the fork of the tree.

First, get a wire 16 inches long. Make sure it’s a heavy ROMEX wire…the kind they use for electrical work, you can also use coax cable or my favorite a good bendable ruler. The wire needs to be firm enough to hold its shape but not so flimsy that it moves to easy.  PLEASE DO NOT USE COAT HANGERS THEY DO NOT TAKE GOOD MEASUREMENTS.   The wire should lay smooth on your horse and not dig into them or be pointing outward.

Fold that wire in half, 8 inches on each side of the bend. Make an upside down “V”. Place it over your horse’s withers, where the front of the saddle would sit, pointing straight down. Follow an imaginary line down to make sure it’s behind the horse’s shoulder by about 2 inches. FIND THE SHOULDER BLADE! (You can do this by having a friend lead your horse while you feel for the shoulder movement. Have a piece of masking tape ready to “mark” where you feel the shoulder blade move. I have a picture below that shows how HIGH the shoulder blade sits.)

Carefully, remove the wire and lay it down on a piece of paper. Trace the INSIDE of the wire curve. Measure the length across the bottom of the wire. That’s one of the measurement we need. Next, you measure 3 inches straight down from the point of the triangle and measure across right there. This will give us the gullet width. Do not measure 3 inches down the side of the wire. This is wrong. Refer to the picture below.  Please do not take a picture of the ruler on the wire, we are not sure how far down you are.  We want to make sure your saddle is made perfectly and that is why we ask you to do it this way.  So your tree sits perfectly on your horse.  I promise it is easy to do.

Example pictures of your horse. One from the side, one from the front shoulder. This will help us get the curve of the tree to follow your horse’s back. Refer to the pictures below to see the way the pictures should be taken. Don’t just take a picture of the wither.

If you have any questions please call, text or email me.


The off shoulder picture should have a good view from the shoulder to the back with the wire in place, making sure we can see the wire.
Place your wire for tracing here, making sure it is free from the shoulder.
The profile picture should include most of your horse. This will give CTK a good look at your horse. Please make sure we can see the measure wire in place. This will also help us to make sure you have it in the right place when you did your measurement.




A proper wire trace onto paper. We will need to have a picture of your wire trace to send to CTK. The top number is measure by going 3″ down from center then drawing a line straight across. The bottom line is drawn straight across and a measurement is also taken there.




Does my horse need a gaited saddle?

If you know you have a registered Paso Fino, Rocky, Peruvian, TWH, etc, then you don’t need to ask this question. Of course, your horse needs a gaited saddle. The question comes up when a horse owner does not know the breed of their horse, or it is a mixture of one or more breeds. REMEMBER, WE CAN MAKE SADDLES FOR GAITED AND TROTTING HORSES. There are other saddle companies that understand this “twist” concept…But, they are few and far between. Always ask about it.


There is an exercise I do where I place my palms flat on the horse’s back, where the panels of the saddle would lie. I learned this from watching a Gaited Horse Clinician named Larry Whitesell.

Click HERE for a link to a video that he does on his DVD set. Thank you, Larry, for allowing me to use this wonderful observation on my site.

Larry does not know me and I am not affiliated with Larry at all.
You can buy his DVD Clinic at this link: When you get to this page, click on his DVD link.

My left hand is AT the withers, where the front of the saddle tree would be. (DON’T PUT YOUR LEFT HAND ON THE WITHERS) My right hand is toward the loins, where the back of the saddle tree would be. (DON’T PUT YOUR RIGHT HAND ON THE SPINE) Hands are about 12 inches apart. If both hands are on the same plane, then the horse needs a “gaited tree.” If the left hand is at a steeper angle than the right hand, the horse needs a “trotting horse” tree…like a quarter horse tree. These saddles have a “twist” in the tree that follows the back of the “trotting” horse.

Hand placement to check for twist