When I lost my gelding 2.5 years ago, I sold my Toulouse Annice because I hated it.
And now... I finally found a horse! Yay! She comes home Wednesday and I don't own a saddle anymore. Help.
She is an Appendix with an average wither, a big shoulder and a straight back. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of her back during out trial so I don't have any for reference at this point. I will post some once she is home. They rode her in a butet which fit ok in the wither area but was sloped up - pommel high/cantel low.
In the mean time, I'm hoping the COTH group help give me some direction to begin my saddle search.
I'm looking for used in the $1500-$2000 price point that will fit what I described. I like a narrow twist and need something that comes in a short-ish (think 13") flaps.
Where should I begin...brands/models to try....
Well, in my experience everything comes in a 13" flap just about considering I need a short 11-12" and everything I looked into were 13! I had a horse built like you are talking about and finding something for her was a chore. I ended up with a used Antares (which I unfortunately recently sold for no other reason than to have the extra money and of course now I have a new horse and need a new saddle!) Other than that I don't have a ton of suggestions. I tried a friend's Pessoa that was too curvy for her at one point. Comfy for me though. Not only was she a pain to fit, I am too! So what would work for one of us wouldn't work for the other.
We'd really need pictures to give you accurate advice...that being said, there are TONS of saddles that will fit an average width, straight backed horse. County is always a good bet, they have lovely saddles that you can find used for well within your price range. Lots of people like Stubbens, and there are a bunch of different models. Black Country, Smith and Worthington, Ideal...I would stick with high end brands that offer custom options, that way you know there might be short flaps floating around.
"On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."
My draft-x mare has a HUGE shoulder and a w i d e, straight back. Took us forever but a Stubben Genesis was the answer. It's a short flap, narrow twist, upswept panels. My horse takes an XW but an average width horse might be OK in Stubben's W, at least with the tree the Genesis is built on. I do think the older Stubbens ran narrower. Lots of them around for $1200-2000 used.
I have a TB that is not an easy fit. Luckily it only took 7 saddles to figure it out, however I lucked out because my friend had to go through 14 saddles for her mare and she tried them on my gelding at the same time. The Tad Coffin A5G is what fits my gelding and her mare as well. Both have average TB withers, broad shoulders and are complicated fits beyond belief. She was not a fan for herself when she first rode in the Tad, however I was. Now she loves hers. I am petite and prefer a a narrow twist as well, and while I'm vertically challenged, I have a longer hip to knee ratio for my leg length and I was able to find a model with short, forward flaps. The saddle is designed solely for horse comfort, not rider. I purchased mine from Nicole at MD Tack Exchange. The process was incredibly easy. The other advantage, Tad Coffin himself wants to make sure every horse is fit well and even if you do not purchase the saddle from him, (if it is one of his) he will help you with fitting and talk you through everything. I paid $1700 for mine and didn't blink. The best part (in my opinion) it even helped my equitation. The tricky part, it really frees up the horses shoulder and allows for a more natural movement so I had to get used to the larger stride my horse naturally had that I had never experienced. Give Nicole a call, she can talk you through saddles as well. I explained to her my needs, my horses needs and it turned out that the Tad saddle was what she suggested anyway. Hope this helps.
Try an Albion saddle. I had a horse built similar to yours, and like you I prefer a narrow twist. You can find a used one well witin that price range. They wear like iron and are wool flocked also, so can be adjusted a bit. Pelham saddlery has loads of used saddles and are easy to work with from a trial perspective