I'm not really sure where to start with this, so I'll start somewhere and hopefully the picture will become clear.
Basically, this is an Aussie saddle I've had for a while. It fit my mare ok, but was just a smidge too narrow for her [it's "wide", according to it's manufacturers] - it slid around quite a bit, but never caused her any physical issues. She always seemed comfortable and never sore.
She passed away, and I got this new horse.
This saddle seemed to fit him acceptably, but I felt like it might be a smidge wide.
However, I figure that, since he's a 10 year old who's NEVER been in real work [just 10 minute walking rides maaaaybe once a month], he has a lot of muscle to build. His back was in a terrible state -nearly swaybacked- when he came home and it's been improving with each week.
Initially, due to his back, I had added a folded-in-half baby pad right over the middle of his back to stop the saddle from bridging [which it had been doing].
Then, yesterday, I took him on his first trail ride/ride longer than 20 minutes...and his shoulders were CLEARLY very sore today.
I didn't think to check if he still needed the shim pad before our ride, so that might have been a factor.
But I'm thinking that maybe I should have you guys look at the fit to see if there's something I'm missing.
The interesting thing is that when he came home initially, his loin area was quite sore. As he's been here, he's no longer sensitive at all over his loins but now he behaves like he's sensitive around his heartgirth area.
So I'm kind of wondering what might be causing these issues and what I can do to solve it... I hesitate to start looking for a new saddle because his musculature is changing on a practically weekly basis, but if there's something that more muscle won't improve, I should probably be aware of it...
Here's the back we're dealing with...
From the back
From the side picture, it almost looks like it's too narrow in front - like the front is higher than the back?
But the saddle clearly shifts down when I mount up - goes from barely 3 fingers of clearance to a solid 2 [which is great improvement - when he came home, we had barely a finger of clearance, without a wither pad, when I was mounted].
Maybe a slightly thicker pad would help? I use a dressage pad with this saddle usually, but perhaps something slightly thicker would be more suitable now?
I think maybe his withers are throwing me off a bit - my mare had no withers at allll and this guy...well, he definitely has withers!!