I have a 14.3h, slim built, Rocky Mountain gelding (owned him 2 years) that I trail ride. Averaged 4 to 5 hours per ride. He was experiencing alot of tenderness in his shoulder and back area. After taking off my Miller endurance saddle I would lightly touch those areas and his skin would shiver. Then we started noticing white hairs coming in on his shoulder blades, to the point where he had white circles that had grown in. We tried a few different saddles, one was an Imus, with the same issues.
We spent months searching online, reading reviews on forums, and asking friends about their preferences.
I finally ordered a Crestridge saddle, located in Missouri. We believed that even with a new saddle the tenderness might always be an issue for him. I sent Debra at Crestridge his measurements and photos that she asked for. (later after receiving the saddle she had me do a white towel test - riding him to the point where a sweat pattern of the saddle showed up on a towel to check fit). The Ovation model she sent me (with free shipping!) seemed to fit him well and was very comfortable for me. I also ordered one of her saddle pads.
It's been two months of riding him in it. The white hair spot is completely gone on one shoulder and the other side is almost back to normal. A few days ago we were at Flying R Ranch in West Plains, Mo and had ridden two 5 to 6 hour rides two days in a row. When I pulled his saddle off I touched his back, no shivering or twitching! I started pushing all over on his shoulders and back, still nothing! What a great day.
The saddle is very comfortable for me, with gel padding in the seat. I had been experiencing blisters and even had raw bar line marks on my rear from my other saddle. Not happening with the Ovation.
Debra did send out the first saddle with a horn when I had ordered an endurance style pommel. She exchanged it with no problem. That was a Sentry model I had originally picked out. That saddle was also very comfortable.
I have the Ovation lite, which is the cordura leather blend (only 18 pounds). I added a 5 inch cantle and cheyenne roll which makes me feel more secure in the seat and gives me something to grab behind me if needed. I can lift it with one hand no problem. She also offers a lighter version that is only 14 pounds as well as a full leather option. There are also other custom options you can add, like tooling or different stirrups, as well as other saddle models.
The lite version I have started at $995. Which for something I'm going to keep and use for years is well worth it. They are well built and I get alot of compliments on how nice looking it is.
If anybody is looking for a quality saddle that is comfortable for you and built to fit your horse, at an affordable price, check out Crestridge Saddlery online.