Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: South Wales, UK
• Horses: 0
Sorry, chaps, but the clearance may look fine but that's not the issue. The problem is the saddle sits pommel-low, so the front/rear balance is off and it'll only get worse with a rider up.
You can't see if shoulder and front arch angles seem to match from the pics, but if they do I suspect the horse hollows behind the shoulder. The saddle has a felt or foam panel, probably non-adjustable, which means the only way to get it level is with a pad of some sort - I'd have thought converting the panel to a flocked one is pretty uneconomic. Be careful, though - a too-narrow saddle can often sit pommel low, depending on the horse's conformation, so you'd be better making a wither template to check against the arch width before you fit a shimmed pad. That should also give you an idea how much the horse is one-sided (and they all are, to a greater or lesser degree). Extra thickness of a pad, if the saddle is too narrow, will only make the arch tighter and more uncomfortable.
You can safely ignore the 3-finger (or 4 finger, or 5) 'rule' . It's not a rule at all, simply a very vague guideline someone made up. The rule is actually there must be clearance along the whole channel at all times.
Best of luck!