Originally Posted by Barry Godden
The cut at the front is for a high withered horse. It was probably a saddle for a well schooled, well behaved horse used by an expert rider probably for fairly advanced dressage or perhaps showing.
^^ Actually, not necessarily.
It is a cut-back, used to show Tennessee Walking Horses. The 'cut back' area is for extra shoulder room so the horse can gait freely, and not be hindered like some saddles do. Most cut-backs are ridden without saddle pads.
Yes, for showing, but for gaited horses.
Dressage? Nope. Never seen a dressage person use a gaited saddle.
I wouldn't throw an amature on here, nope-nope. It's practically like riding bareback, but just so happens to have sturrips. The sturrips swing quite freely, so you have to have a good leg/seat position in order to ride it.