My horse and I have been together since high school. We first graduated from high school working mainly in the 3'-3'6 hunters, moved on to college where we studied equitation through our college's IHSA program, and now we have moved on for our graduate degree working in dressage/playing in eventing a bit.
We've gotten deep enough in that I think it is time to buy a new saddle. As we are starving graduate students, I'd like to not break the bank. I'm a little hard to fit as I need a fairly narrow twist and am long from hip to knee. My horse is easier to fit than me generally - needs a medium-wide tree and needs some wither clearance but not tons. I've had great luck buying used close-contact saddles and would love to go that route again if possible.
I would love some suggestions as to where to start.
I too have a long femur (thigh blocks can be an issue) and prefer a narrow twist. I also have withery TBs. Here's what's worked for me:
Albion K2 Genesis - Love, love it. Medium deep seat, medium blocks that have encouraged a more correct leg position for me. I'm riding better than ever. And it is, in the words of my trainer, "excessively comfortable." It's also a wonderful fit for the horse and the 295 head seems to have been built for TBs. My trainer is strongly considering getting one too after riding in mine, and her youngster has one of the biggest shoulders and most prominent withers I've seen - and he's moving markedly better in my saddle.
Keiffer Wein, an old one. I like the older models very much - shallower seat, minimal blocks (tiny!) and a nice long flap. I hate the new version- the twist is wide and it doesn't have the close contact feel the older saddles do.
Stubben Romanus: I love these saddles. Narrow twist and lovely long flap. They do not fit my TB, however, the withers just aren't cut back enough.
Passier Antares: Was on the short list but was beaten out by the Albion, b/c the Albion was a better fit for the horse. But the Antares is probably my favorite - I love the high-set, minimal thigh blocks - my knees would never bump or come over those - and the shallower seat and closer contact feel. Really nice. And lovely long flaps.
Wintec & Bates Isabells - These are comfy to me, because of the narrow twist, but they have short flaps and just don't work as well for me as the others.
Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.