Originally Posted by unclearthur
You can safely ignore any 'rule' regarding clearance at the pommel. The rule is actually 'clearance right along the gullet'. There's no specific finger-height requirement.
I don't see how anyone can say the saddle is too narrow or too wide from your pictures, since there are none that show the shoulder/front arch angle and without that it's all sheer conjecture. What the first picture shows is the saddle balance biased down at the pommel (ie. It's lower than it should be). That means when you ride it's likely you have to lean back slightly to counteract this, but that depends on how the horse's back profile changes as it moves (dynamic balance, as someone else pointed out).
The pommel might be sitting low because (i) the saddle's too wide and it's dropping straight down or (ii) the saddle's too narrow and it's slipping back to a narrower point of the horse or (iii) the saddle's the correct width but the panel is the wrong shape and not giving sufficient support, usually over the muscle directly behind the shoulder which is often poorly developed. Perhaps you can see why it's a difficult issue to diagnose online.
It's a major design fault of many close-contact saddles that they don't allow for the very common 'hollow-behind-the-shoulder' problem.
I think the rear panel issue is much less of a problem than the front and only needs consideration if the front can be corrected, which might be possible if tree-width and panel shape are both suitable and the saddle is flocked rather than foam or fibre filled.
Sorry for the long post but I wanted to correct a few misconceptions and try to explain why, in this situation, a single problem might have a variety of causes.
Hope that helps :)
Yes gullet clearance is most important. However the last Schleese saddle fitting clinic said no less then 3 fingers at the withers. If the saddle is sitting to low at the withers then you are causing serious issues with your horse. I recently bought a new saddle, the gullet clearance was perfect. But it sat WAY to low on her withers(2 fingers) and she had it on less then 5 minutes and was telling me to get bent. So new saddle is being sold, Schleese saddle is being ordered. They seem to be the only saddle that fits her correctly. Plus its my excuse to get the eagle cross country i've been drooling over