One of my neighbors is very new to horses and recently was given an older mare with a previous injury and some amount of arthritis in her back legs (hocks for sure, maybe more extensive). She's fine for light riding, but gets stiff and sore if she's ridden all day, or at a fast pace. She didn't have any tack, and wanted to ride Western, so I loaned her a Western saddle, then she purchased a nice used Circle Y. However, her horse hates it, even though it seems to be an adequate fit. We think it's because she tends to ride very behind the horse in this saddle.
She's been looking for a different saddle, and found a really cheap "English" saddle yesterday at a swap meet, then brought it by for me to look at. The leather is in pretty good shape for the age, but it is a cut-back style saddle. It's stamped "lane fox, made in England" and doesn't carry any other marks. I know Lane Fox is the type, not the maker. There's no maker's mark that I found. The main objection I had to it was that the panels are very thin and hard, and look like they weren't ever designed to have much flocking. I think the lack of padding and the seat shape are going to be very hard on her horse, but I told her it might be ok with a thick wool or sheepskin half pad if there's room.
I've never used a saddle like it, and am not very familiar with them. Does anyone know anything about these saddles? Did they tend to have little/no flocking, or is it just that old? I wouldn't ride in it personally, but do you think she's going to hurt the horse with it?