DraftyAiresMum, I'd worry about your saddle touching the withers with a rider on. It doesn't look like there is more than the tiniest amount of space between the saddle and the withers in front. But of course any clearance is enough, and you might be light enough it doesn't drop any more when you get on.
I did the check with my fingers when I got on Fly. I made her stand and tried to stick the tips of my fingers between her and the pad. I could easily get them in the very front (where I pulled the pad right up to the sky before tightening her cinch), but after that (with me on her) I couldn't get my fingers any further, unless I really REALLY tried then I could get them in a tiny bit. Is that normal? Of course when I'm off her, I can easily get my finger tips between her and the pad very easily, no problems.
Is this normal?
I also took some pics like BSMS requested. I turned up the exposure so hopefullt it helps. BSMS is this a good enough angle? I hope so.
It appears from your pictures that since your new saddle is shorter, you are avoiding the part of the horse's back that goes uphill/downhill. Your saddle now appears to sit level. If I were you, I'd continue riding with the pad in the photos and see if you run into any problems. Everything looks good.
Oh really? what part is this exactly? I can continue riding her with this saddle like this. It's great that I took pics for reference. I think a really short saddle like this could possibly be very beneficial for Fly because she has a short back.
I'm not sure what the issue is with the cinch? You have room to tighten it more if you need to. It also is above your horse's elbows so won't interfere with her movement. Those are the only issues I know of. If a saddle has a real slipping problem, it can help to use a shorter cinch that tightens to just above a horse's elbows.
Well my fitter said my Classic Equine cinch (used in these pics) is 4" too long and I should drop down to a 28" (which is what the Billy Cook cinch that came with the saddle is at). I felt them both and I just much prefer the stiffer resistance on the Classic Equine. Plus I like the colour better.
The saddle was slipping yesterday because of that 30" pad I was using. I used my pad today and it felt like I was in my old saddle again in terms of how solid it was. 100% it was the pad from yesterday. I didn't tighten that cinch any tighter today than yesterday.
I disagree slightly with
and the issue of a downhill horse. It's not the saddle slipping forward that is a concern, that is most often not caused by downhill build but rather from a horse that has a large barrel, short girth groove, flat shoulder and wither. I've ridden several downhill horses that did not have issues with the saddle sliding forward down hills, because they had a big shoulder and wither that prevented the saddle from sliding.
I've ridden several horses built level that had terrible problems with saddles sliding downhill, and it was due to the above mentioned problems.
Of course, the worst nightmare horse (I have not run into yet, thankfully) would be one that was built downhill and also had a tiny girth groove, wide barrel, flat shoulder and no withers.
For me the issue is that in your daily riding if your saddle sits downhill, all your weight will be concentrated onto a small portion of the horse's anatomy, right behind the shoulders. This can make horses sore. That is why I would shim a saddle to make the saddle sit level, not for rider comfort or to keep the saddle in place. That is why I shim my horse's saddle pad. She has no issues with the saddle sliding forward. I just want to keep my weight evenly distributed over the entire saddle and not concentrated onto the front.
That makes sense and I agree with you. Are the shims you use for your horse stand alone shims or a pad with shim pockets?
I picked up a set of 2 shims last night when I was at the tack shop and wondering if these would do the trick. Obviously i would just stick them between the pad and saddle. How you get them to stay to the pad is beyond me. I will take a pic shortly.