...bsms that English saddle you have is a bad type because of the narrowness of the flocking
17.5" Bates Caprilli Close Contact. I personally think the channel was too narrow. The rest of it fit Mia pretty well, but she had an A-frame back and I think it put pressure too close to the spine. However, it was not particularly narrow, nor was the shape of the panels unusual for a close contact English saddle. I've seen narrower channels and smaller panels.
Too narrow for Mia, IMHO: https://www.smartpakequine.com/pt/pt...e-contact-6089
I'm also not a fan of CAIR. The interchangeable gullets were nice, and it fit the curve of her back well. I also had their AP version:
It had a wider channel, but it also was flatter - what western saddles call "rock". Don't know if English saddles use the same term, but the AP version didn't have enough rock while the CC version was spot on. Sold them both when I decided a western saddle matched my personality, approach to riding and goals better.
I liked riding the CC saddle. Mia rode well enough in it, but I had to work on my position. Their AP version was too bouncy on her back, like trying to ride a basketball. If I ever buy an English saddle again, I won't be buying a Bates with CAIR. However, I think it is true that a western saddle is designed to distribute weight over a greater area than the tree of an English saddle:
...I was thinking something smaller for my daughter not just because I thought it would be a better physical match, but I was hoping there might be a psychological benefit for her as well. I think she'd be less intimidated by a smaller horse. Right?...
Smaller is less intimidating for about 5 minutes. Over a few hours, it is the personality of the horse that gives confidence. Our 13 hand mustang has intimidated more than one adult, although he is fine when going out on a trail ride. Lilly was 14.2 & 775, but very sweet. Trooper is 14.3 & 835, but does a good job of giving confidence because you have to WORK to come off him. If he can, he'll move to stay under you. The little mustang will take care of himself, but won't give a rat's rear if the rider gets hurt. In fact, he'd probably smile...