I've tried close to a dozen different saddles on my horse (english and western) and was wondering how this one fits. It is a A-fork/Wade type tree custom built by a man named Leroy Shockey and we have owned it since it was made in 2001. My horse is 3 and I've just begun to ride him so he still has room to grow, he is 14.1 and at least half QH. My issues with fitting him with other saddles has been either it fits his withers and back great, but too narrow for his shoulders. Or alternatively plenty of shoulder space but too wide up top and drops down on his withers. I don't think this fit is bad but it doesn't look perfect either, I still have a lot to learn about saddle fitting. Thanks in advance for the opinions and advice. :)
I might anger many people here but I think buying a saddle to fit every individual horse is like buying a car to fit your tires. Saddles of good quality outlast most horses. Western saddles have thick pads under them that can be used to fill in where the saddle doesn't fit exactly. Until I joined this forum I had never heard of buying different saddles to fit each horse.
I rode 20 different horses this year that ranged from a 3yo TB filly that had to stand twice to cast a shadow to a half-draft that was 3 ax handles wide. I used the same saddle on all of them. Some I used two or three pads with and some I only used one. Some I rode all summer and never ruffled a hair and some I would have had to do something different with if I had to ride them longer than a month.
I think the saddle in the picture fits fine although it would be better if you had taken the picture with the pads you planned to use under the saddle. It's like trying on shoes without socks.
I see your point kevinshorses, but I don't think people feel they need to have a custom saddle for every horse they own. IMO saddle fitting in the past has been overlooked at times and these days people are becoming more aware about what they can do for the health and comfort of their horses.
I've done a number of saddle fit critique threads before and everyone always asked for photos of the saddle without a pad, as that's the only way to tell if it truly fits without any "help".