Originally Posted by Tnavas
I've always found that the close contact - the modern equivalent of a normal saddle pre the 'deep seat' saddles the easiest to fit and the ones that cause the least on going problems. My Bates Caprilli used to spend so much time being flocked up and having flocking removed I finally sold it and bought a less gusseted saddle - which I still have 20 years later and it seems to fit anything it sits on - plus I can change the gullet too.
The problem is that while CC seats tend to be flatter and more like older saddles, foam panels are nothing like as good or forgiving as the old flat wool ones. That's why so many showjumpers and eventers wear pads and thick numnahs - as they get fitter and their muscles more toned their saddles still fit tree-wise but the panels are nothing like. You end up with a not-very-close-contact saddle, though because they're smaller and lighter they're better for higher level competition. Maybe.
I see so many multi-use pleasure horses where a conventionally-flocked saddle would be a better choice overall. But that's just my view
PS. The main reason so many foam-panel saddles are manufactured is one of the worst - cost. They're a lot cheaper to produce than a flocked saddle as they use (slightly) less leather and panels need little skill to make other than the ability to use a sewing machine. So the manufacturer makes more margin per unit (well - they look cool, don't they?) and the horse suffers the consequences, a lot of times.