Bought my Stubben Parsival A/P long before I got my first horse.
From a Dover sale catalog it cost me $600 that I sold a fur coat to get.
It has fit everything I owned from then (1985) on until my current horse.
I still have it and wish it fit the new guy because it has always been totally comfortable for me.
Oh well, at least it gave me the excuse I needed to get him a custom saddle.
Your student may need a bigger sadddle not because her butt is bigger than yours, but - according to my saddle-fitter - saddle size is based on length of thigh.
So her 5'7" is longer in the thigh than your 4'11" - unless you have freakish long legs
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015
I bought my first saddle when I was 14 using babysitting money. Of course I knew NOTHING about saddle fit so saying that I used it for several years on all the horses I rode really has little meaning!
I think that if she were to buy a used saddle with a medium or medium/wide tree it would likely fit a lot of horses and if she buys it used and maintains it, then she could resell it later for a similar price.
I got my wintec jump pro, and I still don't have a horse of my own. I did have my own reasons though.
My first reason is that most saddles put me into a chair seat and I have sensitive knees and plantar fasciitis in my left foot so I needed something that fit me. At the time I was exercising a horse for a friend. Along with that I got it at an amazing steal, and while its the "older" model, its still a great saddle.
Now it is sitting in my room however I am also looking at getting my first horse soon so I will need it. The adjustable gullet is a nice option along with the cair panels.
Telling a worrier to relax is counterproductive. Then we worry about relaxing.
I bought my first saddle (a Crosby Corinthian, for the steep price of $750!) well before I ever had a horse, and it seemed to fit almost every horse I rode well enough. Mind you, I was only lessoning 2x/week, and who I rode varied...
In fact, I used that same saddle on my first horse of my own, and would probably *still* be riding in it if my second horse hadn't been a shark-finned skinny TB who was his own special flower.
Of course, my _current_ horse has had a series of expen$ive saddles (and is now in a custom Paul Selvey), but he's a special flower, too...
None of the saddles I bought before I got my horse (or even the 2 after) fit well. They were an enormous waste of money. I was going to suggest half-leasing one of your horses to the girl so she feels like it's "her" horse and perhaps that will curb the desire to have one of her own.
I bought my first saddle long before I got my first horse. Convinced my mom that buying a saddle of my own would help me ride better. Bought a used Crosby Prix de Nations practically new for $500. medium tree. It worked well enough on most of the schoolies I rode and even fit the horse I ended up leasing. I loved that saddle and after 2 years maybe longer, I sold it along to someone else for what I paid for it.
I also bought my saddle before I bought my horse. Why - none of the lesson saddles fit me - my saddle is a 17.5, the lesson saddles were all 16's. Like Showjumper28, I bought a Crosby PDN, stlll have it, still use it and it fits everything I ride, with the addition of some padding on some.
One local barn highly encouraged all their students to buy their own saddles
Whether they were trying to prop up the local tack shop, or didn't have enough saddles for their students I will never know.
I would help her search for a good used saddle, one that is a steal of a deal. It will take some time, but eventually she'll find one that is a good investment. We bought a well used Crosby from a fellow cother, for a student of my daughters as a gift to her. Money well spent, the kid had her own saddle to clean and take care of, and it fit her.
Worst case, the saddle can always be sold on if it doesn't work out.
"My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.”
― Anna Sewell