Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Barrel racing saddles tend to be shaped like a check mark - a sharply sloping front going directly to the cantle. As a guy, that is NOT what I want. For a woman, I still think it would push most folks against the cantle and put the weight on the rear.
It is tough to find a western saddle for a short backed horse that still has a flat 'sweet spot' for the rider to sit in. You might try looking at used saddles - and some on line stores have used saddles for sale. Older saddles seem shaped better, to me.
English/Australian saddles tend to be shorter, and you can find them with some curve instead of the flatter bars used in the trees of most western saddles. You give up some security on the trail with an English saddle, but a lot depends on where you ride.
From what I remember of Utah (I went to school in Logan 30 years ago), I'd probably go with an english saddle. In southern Arizona, with rock and cactus everywhere, I don't ride off property in an english saddle. I'm not good enough to feel secure, and I'm too old to fall on rocks and cholla cactus!