I'd like to hear people's experiences with short versus long/regular length tree points. I know some people swear by shorter points. What are the pros and cons of each? What type of horses do the short points work for?
its a really decision that really comes down to what suits the horse best. Both have advantages.
Generally speaking, short points give more shoulder freedom, naturally, as there is just simply less tree to get in the way of the horse's movement. This is a bonus for horses that have huge shoulders or range of movement. Its also helpful for very round horses, as the shorter the points, the smaller in point to point length the tree arch is and so there is physically less (sq inch wise) that has to fit the horse. Its just easier to fit a short pointed saddle because there is less to fit.
The drawback to short pointed saddles is that they tend to not conform as well as long pointed (again because there is less). Long pointed saddles, when they fit, tend to fit better. They slide and roll less, if at all. This can be a huge comfort advantage to the horse, not having the rider slop around up there. Not having to girth quite as tightly.
The other consideration to short pointed saddles is panel shape and depth. Since short points put the pommel closer to the horse (and the rider), there is, generally speaking, less room for padding/panels. Many times foam paneled saddles are short pointed, this is because you can get the same cushioning out of half the thickness of foam than of wool. Again, because of this space consideration, short pointed saddles often have wide twists, since there is less depth of padding, since you're sitting closer to the horse.
Long pointed saddles tend to be better sculpted in the pommel arch. They can be more shapely to accommodate uphill builds, with withers and big shoulders. They often accept front gussets more gracefully. There is more room for padding, so there are more fitting options.
Long pointed saddles are often (not always) wool flocked, and often can allow a narrower twist for the rider too.
Long and short points isn't so much a one versus the other, than a which is best for my horse.
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