I purchased my Bates Hunter/Jumper close contact saddle the spring/summer of 2011.
Horse was then 3 y/o.
Saddle fit lovely with a medium gullet bar and horse responded very well to it.
Fast forward to now and my mare is nearing 5 y/o and is changing shape as she muscles.
I had changed over to the wide gullet spring of this year but I am starting to wonder if this is too narrow due to high wither clearance. Though, saddle fits very well elsewhere still.
I opted to try both and see which is a better fit and here are my results.
Wide- 4 fingers of wither clearance without rider, 3 fingers with rider Extra Wide- 3 fingers of clearance without rider and JUST two fingers clearance with rider.
Note: My mare is a 50% DWB and 50% halter-type Appy.
Which would you chose? Saddle sits nicely both ways and horse has no discomfort..
it would be nice to see pics of her wearing the saddle girthed up with each gullet in. But one thing I would do is take the xwide gullet and put it on her back right where it would be if it were in the saddle. Put it all the way down onto her back. then see if the gullet wiggles side to side or if it fits nicely down the sides of her back. if there is play then it is too wide. If it lays nicely against her side on both sides then it is a good candidate. Ignore hte wintec measuring tool, that thing is worthless.
One thing that I did was have my farrier "modify" the gullet plate for that funky, hard to fit gelding. If you're inbetween sizes or need a bit more of a hoop, the farrier should be able to help you out with this. Just be aware that it may void your warranty on the tree if you were to tell Bates you did this.