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FITTING FEE for either English OR Western riding, the cost is $165.00/HORSE, + Trip fee. The average time it takes me is an hour and a half, and the final report will be about 4 to 5 pages long. 


FITTING FEE for both English AND Western riding, the cost is $215/HORSE + Trip fee. Doing both generally adds 30 minutes to an hour to the fitting time and a couple hours of extra time spent drafting and editing the final report, which will be around 7 or 8 pages. They are extremely thorough! 

MILEAGE FEE TO YOUR BARN:  $1.50 per mile 1 way from Gresham, OR 97080, with a minimum cost of $25.

Trip fee can be split between multiple participants if there is more than one person interested in saddle fitting at a location. I can usually do 2 to 4 horses in a day, and travel to no more than 3 barns in a day. 

Saddle fitting with Leah generally takes anywhere from 1 to 2 hours in most cases, and is very thorough. She will take measurements, check your horse for sore spots, and check current saddle and pad fit. She carries about a dozen western saddles, about 30 Right Fit Saddle Pads for sale or demo, and a handful of Pro Shoulder Freedom cinches that can be sold at the time of service. She does not typically have English Saddles available for sale or demo. 


The fitting will be followed up with a very thorough written report that includes all of the pertinent measurements, saddle and pad recommendations, as well as a list of saddle brands/ types to avoid based on your horse's conformation. It will also have lots of pictures and online links to informative websites, supplemental reading material, or saddles for sale (if saddle shopping),

In some rare, or very complex cases, saddle fitting has lasted up to 3 hours. However, that is very rare, and they usually required multiple ride tests for multiple saddles, complex shimming solutions, or needed to fit multiple saddles for different riders. 

We can schedule a date and time to visit your barn, usually within 3 to 6 weeks. She usually schedules them Fridays and Saturdays starting around 10:30 or 11am, however she is physically available to saddle fit any day of the week, if a different day is specifically needed. 

Accepted Payment Methods:

  • Cash

  • Zelle

  • Personal Check (with photo ID)

  • Venmo or PayPal with 3% transaction fee


I get a lot of inquiries from people farther than 200 miles. When I'm able to, we can usually arrange for a "Saddle Fitting Tour." This typically consists of 3 days (Friday-Sunday) where I see 2 horses on Friday night, 4 horses on Saturday, and 2 horses on Sunday. I need a barn to host me for the weekend, and a place to plug in my camper. I also need a person to manage all the appointments, and correspondence for the weekend. In exchange for doing that job, your trip fee is waived. I need a minimum of 7 people, maximum of 9. Typically I get 8 on the schedule, and the rest irons itself out. The saddle fitting prices are the same as above, but the trip fee is ~$90 to $110/person, depending on the distance. This compensates for the overnights, and bringing my business partner along to drive me, and assist with the saddle fittings. It's a lot of work! 

If this is something you are interested in, you don't necessarily have to get all 8 appointments by yourself, but if you know of 3 or 4 people, I can help with advertising, and that usually fills the schedule. I do not go farther than Washington or Oregon at this time. I do keep a waiting list of people interested in each direction, within these boundaries. Please contact me if you are interested in this option. 

"I have an appointment scheduled, what should I do to prepare?"


1. Anticipate the fitting to take around 1 to 2 hours, and the majority of the time the horse will be in crossties, or otherwise tied/held. If the horse is likely to get antsy, it's totally fine for them to have a hay bag. We will probably do some hand walking in circles, but no performance work is needed. Towards the end, if we have a saddle and pad setup that works, we may do a ride test, or more depending on the situation. 

2. There is lots of standing, and putting the saddle(s) on and off again as I go through my mental check list of saddle fit problems. Due to a chronic back injury I usually have the owner do the heavy lifting. Although I can pull saddles down, and set them on the saddle rack if we are rotating through a couple different ones. 


2.  If the horse doesn't tie, or crosstie, it might be a good idea to maybe have a buddy or someone else available to hold. I tend to teach as I go along, and it's harder for you to see what I'm doing if you're holding the horse. I don't typically tie horses to my truck, and have no way of tying them to my cargo trailer.


3. Similar to Veterinary or Farrier visits, it is preferable for the working station to be free of debris, well-lit, and relatively flat. A concrete aisle or matted area is a bonus!

4. It would be helpful if the horse is clean, dry, and the hair is slicked down like a summer coat. If they aren't already wearing one, it helps to apply a rain sheet/blanket a couple days prior if we are in the rainy season. That makes visualizing the muscular and skeletal structure of the horse easier. 


5. I drive a big Ford F-350 king cab truck (sometimes with a camper for long-distance jobs!), and I work out of my 14 foot cargo trailer. If there is a barn aisle I can either pull up to where I can use the door on the right side of the trailer, or I can back up to the barn and work out of the back of the trailer, that would work just as well. If/when possible, you might clear vehicles from the area where we are working, that is preferable but not required. Just know that the truck has a horrible turning radius, so it's not good in tight spaces, but I'm skilled at backing it up when the camper isn't on.

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Saddle fitting is a very complex issue that is not always intuitive. The information available is often contradicting, and everyone has their own opinion. It is a very frustrating subject. I will try to shed some light on some common saddle fit issues that I see often. 




English saddle too wide for horse
Western saddle gullet too wide for horse


Both saddles in the images above illustrate saddles that are too wide in the gullet. This is characterized by the front of the saddle bottoming out over the horses wither, and putting excessive pressure on the hind trapezius. This fit issue is often accompanied by incorrect bar angles. A "wide" gullet is going to have a wider angle to the bars (90 degrees or more). 

3 finger rule: On a horse with average sized withers, a very general rule of thumb is you should be able to fit 3 fingers between the pommel and your horse’s wither, without a pad, not cinched up. This distance is a very rough estimate of what to check when you are on the ground. This is less applicable to horses with extremely tall "shark fin" type withers (Disclaimer; this is not foolproof, and it does not always ensure it won't hit the horse's wither when a rider is in the saddle, You will have to tack up, sit in the saddle, and have someone else check it to be 100% sure).  














Another helpful rule of thumb is the TOP of the front concho (on a Western saddle), or the "button" (on an English saddle) should be about level with, or just below the top of the wither on a horse with a low or medium wither. On a tall-withered horse, it should be 1 or 2 finger widths below the top of the horse’s wither.

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Correct concho height on western saddle
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When a saddle has too wide of an angle, the bottom edges of the bar will flare out and away from, while the horses sides drop out from under them. Most often, I see horses with an A-shaped back, thin bodied, with less than a 90 degree shape to their back, that are wearing a saddle with Full Quarter Horse Bars (often abbreviated FQHB). FQHB typically have a 90 to 95 degree angle of the bars at the gullet. Semi Quarter Horse Bars (SQHB) typically have a 87 to 90 degree angle. Thin horses with an upright build and narrow body usually need narrower angles. It's surprising, but 1 or 2 degrees really does make a difference to the horse! In the image below, the gullet width isn't horrible, as evidenced by a little breathing room under that pommel. More importantly, you could stick your whole hand under the bottom of the bar. Whereas it would be difficult to put your hand under the front concho, which is at the top of the bar. 


Notice the different angle at the base of this pommel, where it attaches to the bar? The angle on the right is too wide, and is is a good illustration of how the top of the bar drop and pinch the wither at the top. That is what's going on in the above photo of the Western saddle that says "too wide." When seeing this, it is very common that you might interpret the saddle as being too narrow, because it is pinching the withers tightly.

There is a difference between wide gullet and wide angle. It is important not to get caught up in the paradigm promoting the "wider is always better" concept. 

Tree angle matches horses shoulder
Tree angle is too wide for horse
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Another common saddle fitting issue that I see sometimes is bridging. So much misinformation is available, that I see people trying to correct it by using a saddle with a wider gullet. But this is not the proper correction and only causes other equally significant issues for the horse, as well as  problems for the riders' low back. 

**Definition of bridging: the saddle only makes contact with the horse in the front and rear of the saddle. It does not make sufficient contact in the middle. In severe cases, it is possible to permanently damage the cartilaginous ridge over the scapular bone and the overlaying muscles called the hind trapezius. At the rear of the saddle, the bar tips are pressing heavily into the underlaying back extensor muscle which damages the loin, can cause irreversible kidney and ovary damage, and can also potentially fracture the transverse processes of the thoracic lumbar vertebrae in some cases. These are horses that might stop to urinate a couple times during rides, because they have a terrible amount of pressure bearing down directly over their kidneys. See example of significant bridging below. 


















It is also important to note that not all bridging is bad! Each horse will behave and hold their body differently when under saddle, which might look different than they do just lunging without tack on, depending on what sort of work they are doing.

Each horse has a different amount of "potential lift" that can be seen when they round their back and move out, however that doesn't necessarily translate to what they do when under saddle! Some reining or roping horses might come up a couple inches when well collected, and other horses may actually drop their back under saddle, and there is no substitute for actually watching that horse and rider perform their intended task. 

Horses can also be affected by kissing spine disease (this can happen easily without the owners knowledge), where the tips of the vertebrae can be affected to different degrees. Sometimes the tips of the vertebrae may touch and rub, which is painful, in extreme cases that have been occurring for some time, it is possible for the vertebrae to become fused - in which case part of their back might not lift at all. There are LOTS of considerations when deciding how curvy or straight a tree needs to be for a horse! 

In a recent teaching module in my Saddle Fit 4 Life Academy, Jochen Schleese described how it is critical for each saddle to have the right amount of curvature for the horse and rider. And the correct amount is highly dependent on the horse's conformation, level of training, current level of conditioning, its intended riding purpose, the ability of the rider, and even the rider's weight can come into play.   

Saddle bridging
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