I have a Custom Saddlery Icon Flight for my big-moving 15.2 Lusitano. We both love it, and Mr. Sensitive lets us know *immediately* if he doesn't like something.
Our Custom rep was fabulous to work with, and I highly recommend the company and the product.
Second this. I have a 15.1 Lusitano with a very short back and a laid back shoulder. I had terrible trouble finding a saddle to fit him well and tried many. I have had good luck with an Albion SLK, but now he needs something wider, and I am waiting for my Icon Flight to be made.
I find that if he is out of shape, his withers disappear and I still have to resort to a crupper, even with a well-fitting saddle.
He is beautiful and very similar in shape to my Lusitano gelding. He will continue to change shape for at least a couple more years. That's a long time to wait for a saddle.
n.b. steer clear of Schleese saddles; I had one and it made my gelding terribly sore even with supposedly expert saddle fittings every 6 months. The conformation of these saddles at the withers does not suit the baroque breeds very well.
Cluck, my experience is very different than yours. I have a Wave with Flair, bought for a warmblood that I no longer have. I used it on one Lusitano that came to me with a Verhan that did not fit me at all. The Wave seemed to fit well but as he had a very short back and laid back shoulder, I decided to get an Obrigado for him and another one for my new Lusitano. Both horses are moving better than ever. The shorter backed horse's saddle has panels that are slightly shorter and curvier than the other - these new saddles were made for me and for the horses. Jochen measured me at EEE and I did the measurements on the horses. Am very happy with them!
Wicky, my experience is similar to Cluck. I had a Schleese custom that fit every horse I tried it on (renging from ponies to a 17+ hand Dutch warmblood), except the Lusitano. I had Jochen come to refit my saddle. After several tries (and a couple thousand dollars) he assured me that the saddle fit the Lusitano perfectly.
Not only did he hate it, but every other horse hated it as well. Other people who had previously loved the saddle could no longer ride in it.
I finally saw the light, got rid of the Schleese for less than I had paid for the "improvements" and got the Icon, which everybody loves.
Jochen tried to sell me an Obrigado, but after the bad experience dealing with him with my old saddle, I was not inclined to continue with him, especially not for $7000.
I had a saddle fitter out today who used to be a rep for County. My saddle has a V shaped head and she needs a U shape. He said even buying a wide or x wide County is not going to fit her well (maybe passable but not great).
My current saddle is stamped MN but I've always known it's big for a MN. He confirmed that it had to have been widened at some point as it's now fitting like a MW. He said he may be able to widen it even more but ran the risk of damaging the tree and it may still not fit, even if widened. He said widening the tree will barely change the shape of the head, which is the real issue. She's got a wide, flat back. It would also explain why the other two saddles I've tried that were wider don't fit well either.
He said the most likely saddles to fit were Black Countrys and Duetts. Since the Duetts are more in my price range right now (between having to sell my old saddle and a large income tax bill, BLEGH), that's where I'm going to start. If they don't work for her or I find them uncomfortable, I will try a Black Country.
Duetts are made for horses with wide, flat backs, good quality and reasonably priced. New with shipping would probably be $2k. He did the tracing so all I need to do is get in touch with Duett or Trumbull Mountain tomorrow to figure out the correct size. I want to be able to ride my horse, damnit!!
If your horse needs a hoop tree, you can find one from pretty much any of the UK saddle makers (as well as from Duett). Albion, Loxley/Bliss, Black Country, Frank Baines, Ideal, Lovatt and Ricketts and Hastilow all make hoop / Freedom head / dome / FWB trees. I'll also second your fitter's opinion of the Schleese for the round, broad horses. The tree points on these saddles are quite long, and tend to make the saddle "perch" on these types.
It is a little harder to tell with his head down but he doesn't look too curvy. Most "Baroque"t type horses we fit need a hoop tree and he most likely will need one. The Lovatt & Ricketts saddles have worked well for some of these horses as well as some of the Black Country hoop trees such as the Eloquence X or Vinici X depending on your price range. Some are deeper than others and the twist varies depending on what you try. Below is a link to one of the saddles I mentioned to give you an idea. http://www.trumbullmtn.com/store/new...ketts/ellipse/
Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm going to give his back a few more months to develop before I fit him for a new saddle. It will be good timing with everything else going on. I wouldn't want him dancing in something that doesn't fit!