The particular saddle I have for Mr. Big (Black Forest treeless) naturally wants to sit pretty far back. I've tried moving it forward and it moves itself back. It seems comfortable for the horse and I know it is comfortable for me. Sweat patterns don't indicate any problems.
But, since the saddle is back a bit, it puts the saddle bags back a bit, too. But, there also seems to be quite a bit of room in front of the saddle over his whithers before getting to the articulated part of his neck.
I've read that putting heavy saddle bags over the loins is a bad thing. But if I'm horse camping, my saddle bags are going to be pretty heavy--there is just no way to get all the heavy stuff into the pommel bags.
So, I thought, why not put the saddle bags up front?
I went out today and tried it. Didn't cinch up the saddle, nor load up the bags, but put the saddle on and then attached the bags to the front of it instead of the back of it. It seems to fit really, really, well. Basically, it looked like big pommel bags.
My gear is from Trail Max and the bags are really close together. I'm not sure it'd fit as well if the bags were as far apart as the Mrs. Old set are. But with these, it seemed to work.
Long lead in. Now, my question for the Good Folks on the Forum: As long as they seem to fit well, is there any reason not to use saddle bags as big pommel bags and put 'em up front? It gets the weight where it belongs and they don't seem to be in the way (I say without actually riding that way).