I have a 15.3hh 15 year old quarter horse/paint/tb gelding that I want to start riding again this spring. Shortly after I purchased him, my trainer recommended a semi-qh bar saddle. I purchased a Wintec western saddle and used it, mainly because my trainer thought it would fit him and I didn't know anything about saddle fitting.
I recently got a western saddle fitting dvd from my library, and it got me thinking about saddle fitting. So today I hauled my saddle out to him to check the fit. Here's where my questions come in.
I placed just the saddle on his back in the correct position, with the tree behind his sholder blade (I always put it too far forward, I think). My horse has high-ish withers, and could not fit 2 fingers between the pommel and his withers. This usually means the tree is too wide, right? I ran my hand between his back and the bars of the saddle. The pressure was pretty consistant in the front of the tree (I'm not sure how tight it is supposed to feel though, but near the back of the bars I couldn't feel much pressure at all. I forgot to check how level the saddle was, but when it is cinched up, it is visably slanting toward the withers--a lot. All of this lead me to believe the saddle was too wide for him.
I put my 3/4" thick saddle pad on under the saddle, and it changed a ton. The pommel had maybe 4-5 fingers between it and the withers (estimated, as the saddle pad was shoved up in the pommel), and the bar area near the front of the tree felt tighter (again, I'm not quite certain how tight it is supposed to feel). It looked like my saddle might be to narrow with the pad--maybe my pad is too thick?
To sum it all up, I'd love to make sure my guy is comfortable in his saddle. I'm not sure if that means a different pad or even a different saddle. I have been considering starting a bit of english riding with him eventually, so maybe a wintec english with the convertable gullet might be a good option?
I don't know if pictures would help, but I could take some tomorrow if needed.