The bars on western saddles help to distribute the rider’s weight across the horse’s back. They’re the two internal structures that run the length of the saddle. They fit over the wither, back, ribs, and loin. While there are quite a few different types of bars, the most common two are full quarter horse and semi. They determine the bar angle and width of the saddle.
Difference Between Full & Semi Quarter Horse Bars
These two terms are used to describe saddle tree sizing. The measurement is the distance between the bars at the gullet. Keep in mind that each saddle maker will have slightly different measurements. These will give you a rough idea though!
Full Quarter Horse Bars – 6 1/2″ to 7″
Semi Quarter Horse Bars – 6″
The full bars will fit a wider back horse with a bulldog-style body. They usually have a flatter back, mutton wither, and broad shoulders. On the other hand, semi is for your average horse. They could be classified as regular or standard. Most fit Appendix horses and Thoroughbreds. Other bars include Arabian, gaited, Haflinger, and draft.
It’s important to have a good fitting saddle, so make sure to do your research! The Horse Saddle Shop has a saddle recommender tool to give you an idea.