Besides the front bars flaring and the rounded skirt what other differenced are their in reg saddles vs gaited. In my recent saddle searching she says some QH riders are using gaited saddles. I had previously heard that was not a good idea.
In my world saddle fit is not breed specific. A 17 hd walking horse/gated horse can have the same as a 14 hd non gaited mule. You are fitting the rock and twist of the bars, be it standard bars, AZ bars, heavy AZ bars which are lighter than Standard bars and etc. There are many different kinds of bars and thousands of different kinds of saddle trees. As in the one tree manufactures tree catalog they have listed over 16 different QH bar sizes, over 16 different semi-QH bars sizes. Many of the horse today, as in years gone by should be using rounded skirts. This helps with the distribution of pressure along the bars of the tree, reduces shearing forces along the skirts of the saddle. Look at many pictures from the 1800 to 1940 and you will find most saddle had rounded skirts and thin blankets under the saddle, if any blanket at all. If a saddle is fitting property all trees should have a slight tip up at the rear of the tree. As to the front of the tree, you may or may not need a flare. What you are looking for is equal distribution of pressure/full contact of the saddle tree along the back of the horse from the withers to the back of the saddle tree. You also need to check and see if your horse is A-symmetrical in the shoulder area. Most horses are not symmetrical. Stand on a box at the tail of your horse and look down the center of the back to see this. Adjustments in the saddle tree may need to be made for this condition. There are two parts to saddle fit: The fit of the tree/saddle to the horses back, the balance of the rider on the horse back. A third point that may be made is the balance of the legs bone column to the hoof. Pads I will not get into that here but to only say what we have discovered in research and pressure testing saddle pads and saddle fit. If is a saddle tree and the completed saddle fits the horse all you need is a very thin wool pad to protect the lining of the saddle. Just my thinking.
Thank you again Ray. Although saddle fitting is not rocket science I find it is. I have done many hours researching saddle fit and I still need help. Everything you said makes sense and I understand it all. Our mare has had accupunture and chiro on her, the last chiro was just 3 weeks ago and although not a saddlefitter she saw the problem. So yes the mare is off and my hubby is a heavier rider and I am sure is not as balanced as he needs to be, she is also his first horse. I think I will try to find a qualified saddle maker or try to get my hands on some trees. Thank you very much, really appreciate your good advice!
Oh and our saddle is a Crates, round skirt and wide tree, 17" seat size.