Full & Semi QH Bars on Western Saddle?

Discussion in 'Horse Management' started by HorseSlave, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. HorseSlave

    HorseSlave Well-known Member

    How do I tell by measuring if a western saddle has full or semi QH bars?

    Where do I measure from?

    MYTEE4EVA Active Member

    Good question!! I love western riding, but I find western saddles are the hardest & most confusing saddles to buy for your horse & fitting them. What is the differance with full & semi? How do you know which one you need? I'm interested in info on this topic as well, so come on you westerners out there help us understand so more people can get into this discipline, we need more threads. Sorry not hyjacking just bumping.
  3. Myaura

    Myaura New Member

    Ditto, I'm interested in knowing this too! Im wanting to buy a western saddle, but im holding off untill I know a little more about them
  4. Boo's Eclipse

    Boo's Eclipse Well-known Member

    Ok, basically as long as your horse is a pretty regular shape any size will fit, as long as it has good clearance above the wither (2 -4 fingers width) Doesn't sit on the top of the shoulder & restrict movement & sits well on the back, meaning it doesn't look too short or too long & also that it 'fits' to the horse & doesn't just seem to be plonked there (sits too high). As this will result in uneven weight distribution
    You can't really get a correct measurement once the saddle is made, but as a basic figure, Semi bars will measure around the 5.5" mark, under that & it will most likely have regular bars, above that full bars. If the measurement is over the 7" mark then it is an extra wide make. For a bare tree you would take .5 to 1” of those measurements, sometimes more, sometimes less.
    But really it's the height and the width combined that determines the best fit, if the gullet is too short it will sit on the wither & rub, while if it’s to wide it will sit too low on the shoulder & also rub on the wither.

    Below is a pic I took of where to measure, A to B is the bar width & determines if it is regular, semi, full or extra. & C to D is height.
    The angle of the bars & the rise of the pommel determines these measurements, but as I said if the saddle is already finished, your measurements won’t be exact.


    Another thing to remember is that the bars don’t only determine the width, but also how the saddle sits, this all comes down to the rocker (or the curve), twist & flare of the bars.

    Also good to remember that the name of the saddle in no way determines what bars are used, it only represents the fork on the tree.

    Most of our saddles are have semi bars, we find that these fit the majority of our horses well. From our heavy set QH’s, to my daughters finer set Q pony & even our Standy mare. Just make sure you buy a well made, quality saddle. As most good saddle makers aim for a general fit, rather than an exact fit, unless it is custom ordered.
  5. kiraSpark

    kiraSpark Gold Member

    Great info there, Boo, thanks! :)*

    We have five stock saddles and one western saddle, the semi quarter horse bars fit all our horses. We have only one full QH bar which only fits my OHs big wide quarter horse, and two regulars which only fit the narrower horses (stock horses and TBs and youngsters). We find the semi QH bars to be the most adaptable.
  6. HorseSlave

    HorseSlave Well-known Member

    Thanks for the replies :) I've just had a friend bring over a couple for one of my horses to try on, and I think she must be one of the small percentage who doesn't fit in the semi QH bars. She's really wide and flat in the withers and shoulder area, so looks like I'll have to keep trying to find full QH bars and nice wide gullet.

    **sigh** Back to the treeless, which I hate :(
  7. Ziggy the Piggy

    Ziggy the Piggy Active Member

    Hi Horseslave....Yes I've seen your Zoe, and I'd be very surprised if she'd be any less than a full Quarterhorse Bars...shes a chunky monkey!:D

    My half breed is full QH bars and your welcome to try it on her next time we meet up, that would give you an indication of the sizing.....be warned thought, I'll only throw it on once for you, after that your on your own....it's heavy!:)*
  8. Caroline

    Caroline Well-known Member

    Yes western saddles are so hard to fit.

    Three quarter bars tend to fit well covered Tbs, QHXs, Stock Horses, X-breds etc. Full bars fit round fat horses or real QH types.**)

    Get someone that knows about western saddles, NOT Europa or Horseland folk, to fit your saddle professionally.:)*

    Horseslave, ask around town for Harold Pitcher. Harold is a lovely quiet guy that makes western and halfbreed saddles. He is a legend and lives in Toodyay!! He can help you. I can get his number if you want it. Just PM me.:D:))
  9. HorseSlave

    HorseSlave Well-known Member

    Thanks for that Deb :)

    The saddle is actually for my other horse - surprisingly Zoe is an easy fit horse as far as saddles go - that's why she's such a pleasant and comfortable ride (even with the occasional leap thrown in :)).

    So is your half breed wide in the gullet? My half breed only has a medium chamber. (And it's synthetic so doesn't weigh a tonne - which I LOVE! :p)
  10. HorseSlave

    HorseSlave Well-known Member

    Mine is an interesting mix - Arab X some sort of Draught Horse... and rather rotund **)

    Thanks for that Caroline - I know Harold (he lives a stone's throw from me) and have had him make me stuff in the past. I don't want to spend a heap of $$$ on a saddle for this horse, as we only really do pleasure riding. I'd love a synthetic too, because of the weight factor - just can't seem to find one in the right size :(
  11. ChillOut

    ChillOut Well-known Member

    How about the wintec western in the wide version? I have one of those but have not ridden in it.
  12. Ziggy the Piggy

    Ziggy the Piggy Active Member

    Surprise, surprise....Mine is a Harold halfbreed, with full QH bars!!!! I had it custom made, and I love it!:)*
  13. HorseSlave

    HorseSlave Well-known Member

    Why haven't you ridden in it ChillOut? And yes, that is one of the saddles I'd love to try on my fattie pinto, just haven't seen one around :)

    (That's a mouthful isn't it... Wintec Western in Wide :D)
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2008
  14. Willah

    Willah New Member

    Looking for Harold Pitchers

    Hi there,
    I'm trying to get in touch with Harold Pitchers who seems a bit elusive. I had one of his saddles which was stolen last year and need a quote from him to get my insurance before I can afford to replace it!
    Can someone help?

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