what does "ride Aussie" mean? just ride in an Australian saddle, or will you also start posting and using a different type of bit and bridle?
That's a bit racist isn't it??
I was momentarily confused by 'ride Aussie' because that's like saying 'ride American' ~ you lot probably have just as many English riders, Western riders, no name brands... as us, so 'ride Aussie' is... ride however tickles your fancy!
But sorry to get... carried away OP. Saddles. We're talking saddles. Yes, I missed the part about not having a horse yet. Agree with others, that it's best to wait until you've got a horse, so you know what size he
is. All you can know for sure till then is your seat size.
Stock saddles(what Aussies call your 'Aussie saddles'
) are built on a more English tree. They're shorter in tree length than Westerns(re seat size) & so can be much better for shorter backed horses. They were designed to be able to be used on a range of horses - stockmen would have a string of horses, so the horses weren't so overworked - but as with Westerns, that's not to say any saddle will fit any horse, by a long shot. But I do think Stock saddles are generally a bit more accommodating for horse fit adjustments than Westerns. Especially if they have an adjustable gullet.
For any saddle, for length, it should not interfere with the shoulderblades. It should leave them free by a couple of inches or so. The tree or weighbearing area should not extend back past the horse's last rib, onto the lumbar spine. The angle of the front of the saddle needs to match the shape of the horse. *In a changeable gullet saddle you can adjust that easily yourself, to fit more horses, or your horse's changing shape. The panels also should sit evenly against the horse, front to back and not too close to the spine - at least an inch either side. Stock & many English saddles, being well padded underneath, can usually be easily adjusted(reflocked) by a saddler to provide more even weightbearing & more spine clearance.
One thing about Stock saddles, that seems to be more common than not, I guess being that they were designed for security - stockmen to stick to their horses during hard bush riding, they do tend to be narrowish and have longer bars - sticks to the horse, but maybe at expense of pinching his shoulders. So on that note, I'd guess that if someone offers 'standard' and 'wide' in a saddle, the wide is more likely to fit more horses comfortably. You need to find out what those lables mean exactly tho, what's the actual angle of 'wide'? Unfortunately it's not universal among saddlers - like 'QH bars' doesn't mean the same in Westerns.