Pony got the all-clear to go back to work. The chiropractor said his pain points were consistent with poor saddle fit, particularly in the back (sore on both sides of spine where saddle would sit, ribs out on both sides in the same area). But that doesn't make sense with the sudden severeness with which his injury set in (literally fine in a lesson one day, could barely walk the next day).
So I'm posting these saddle pictures for critique. First, some background information that I'm going to pretend is useful but is probably just me throwing myself a pity party.
1. Saddle 1, purchased from and fitted by a reputable saddle fitter. Discovered months later that it had terribly rubbed his withers (mane grew out white there).
2. Saddle 2, honestly I can't understand why I thought it would fit him when I saw it in the store. It was ridiculous on him. But it fits Teddy and Moonshine well, so no loss there.
3. Saddle 3, the saddle that finally made me realize his first saddle didn't fit at all. Seemed way too big on paper, but he loved it. He went SO WELL in this saddle. And then one day it started slipping forward. Originally at the canter, but then it slipped forward no matter what, and no matter how tight I got the girth. So, that didn't fit any more.
4. Saddle 4, the one in the pictures. Seems like maybe a tad too much rock in the very back, but surely that couldn't be causing this pain? He goes just as well in this one as he did in saddle 3. FWIW please note that the flocking is VERY soft (see pic of me squishing it); not sure if that's a bad thing or not.
Pony has a short, wide back and no withers. I rode him today with a cushy bareback pad because I'm obviously worried that maybe his saddle IS hurting him. But riding him bareback all the time can't be great for his back either. I'm tearing my hair out over here...
This is WAY too narrow all-round - gullet, channel, the whole thing. It's sitting far too high in front, placing the lowest part of the seat - where you will feel most "at home" - too far back. It looks like about a medium or maybe even medium narrow whereas he is at LEAST a wide!
I have one that's very similarly shaped and for a long time a Wintec Wide fit her well, and then she lost most of her excess weight and slimmed down to a wide plate (one size narrower than the Wintec Wide goes) and now it doesn't fit anymore. People keep recommending a Thorowgood T8 Cob for her, and I think that would be a good starting point for this guy too.
@Bluee yedpony that saddle is too narrow.
It's a nice saddle, though.
Pony is super cute, but, frankly, super overweight. It's hard to do, but I would look at a feeding program that will help him shed some fat.
A saddle person once told me that if you have to choose between a saddle that puts too much pressure on the shoulders, and one that puts too much pressure on the loins (as that one would), choose the shoulders. Horses sore up much faster with pressure on their back than on their shoulders.
WRT to his weight, I have had vets tell me he's a little fat, and that he's fine; farriers tell me he's a little fat, and that he's fine; trainers tell me he's a little fat, and that he's fine; etc. So I take it all with a grain of salt now.