Saddle fitting experts???...Lots of links to pictures...help! ;)
I am quite familiar with how to go about fitting a jumping saddle but am new to fitting dressage saddles (my old dressage horse was a very, very easy fit). The new boy is not quite as easy as a fit and I think I need some help. LOTS of links to pictures in this post sorry, just wanted to provide as much info/pictures as possible for good advice. I also cross posted this to the dressage board...
*He is 16 hands, has tall withers, broad shoulders and a decently "normal" width back.
*I have 2 saddles I am trying out on him. The first one is my Stubben saddle. Very comfortable for me and seemed to fit him nicely through the back but tight on the side of his shoulder blades. Here's 2 pictures of the Stubben just sitting on his back http://i1044.photobucket.com/albums/...les9712026.jpg
*Here's the Wintec just bare (by the way, it does have an adjustable gullet and currently has the black (medium?) gullet in. The Wintec seems to clear his shoulder area a bit better but doest seem to allow as much room through the spine area?: http://i1044.photobucket.com/albums/...les9712027.jpg
**Big time cookies to whomever took the time to look through all that! I really appreciate it So what do ya'll think? I think the Stubben is the overall better choice but am a bit concerned about the tightness on the sides of his shoulders, I can *very* snuggly fit my hand in between his shoulder and the saddle. The Wintec doesnt seem to clear his spine/back as well which I thought was a concern? But am not sure how much of a difference I would get just changing the gullet to the medium-wide size (which I dont have but am more then willing to get)?
As a final note please excuse the dusty Stubben and ugly/dirty blue pad with flip flops LOL. I am pregnant and have *obviously* (and shamefully) been slacking in my tack care since I've not been riding.
Both saddles when all "padded up" in the pictures are padded with a a Roma wither relief pad (seen here http://www.doversaddlery.com/roma-wi...nt/p/X1-19456/) and a little knit pad (my old trainer always called it a knit pommel pad but I genuinely dont know if that's correct or not?) but instead of laying it across the withers I chose to lay it across the back of the saddle to try and even out the saddles.
Maybe someone has some better padding options/thoughts that might work better for this whole saddle fitting situation?
I also could not open your photos.....but saddle fit is saddle fit whether its western, dressage, all purpose or jump. All the padding up you are doing will blow out a good fit, not help it. Try wearing 3 pairs of socks and then walk in your shoes. As Joyce Harmon says, "saddle pads make great cat beds".
I couldn't see any of your photos either ( must have taken a long time to load them all, too ).
From my own dressage saddle-fitting experience, a snug fit over the shoulders is a red flag. As you progress your horse on your dressage journey, his shoulders will get even more filled out, so starting with a saddle that's snug won't help him at all.
There are so many different brands, I'm sure you'll find the perfect one eventually. Take your time to get a really good fit, not a "kind of ok" fit.
Again, without seeing the photos, try your potential saddles with the girth tightened and a rider aboard. If the fit is iffy when you just lay it on his back, you'll get a lot more info about wither clearance and whether it's going to ride forward or backward on his shoulders if you have someone about your size actually sit in it. Your horse may also have an opinion on the matter! My Arab hated stubbens and would show it clearly as soon as your seat hit the saddle.