We recently worked with our client, Lydia, to fit her horse and herself to the perfect used saddle. Stewart is a 7 year old Quarterhorse who participates in Hunter Under Saddle and Equitation. Lydia had bought a saddle from another shop and it wasn't quite right. Turns out, Lydia had the right size for her, but the wrong fit for Stewart!
In the first photo, Lydia is sitting in a 17" Devoucoux Oldara with a 2A flap. She was concerned that the seat was too small and felt like the flap was wrong. Initially it does appear that she has limited room behind her seat in the saddle. However, upon closer inspection, the stirrup leather isn't hanging vertically and the saddle is forcing her leg forward - she lacks the straight line from hip to heel - and her seat backwards.
Doing a little more research, I had Lydia send me the second photo of the saddle on Stewart's back. Incorrect saddle fit on Stewart was forcing Lydia out of position. Note how the saddle sits higher in the pommel than the cantle, most likely because the saddle is too narrow. This is pushing Lydia's seat back and her leg forward.
After looking at some photos of Stewarts back I sent the Lydia the saddle in the third picture, above. This is a CWD SE02 with a 17" seat and a 2L flap. Same seat size, equivalent flap size. You can see the dramatic change in her position because the saddle now fits her horse and allows her to have a balanced position where she is not fighting the saddle. She how has a vertically aligned stirrup leather and there is a straight vertical line from knee to toe and another from the hip bone to the ankle. She now appears to have more room behind her seat, since she is not being forced to the back of the tack by a too high pommel on a too narrow saddle. Finally, not to leave Stewart out of the equation, our final photograph (below) shows the CWD on Stewart. You can see the saddle sits horizontally level from pommel to cantle.
Lydia was close but not quite right with her first saddle choice. Initially, she picked a saddle that had the potential to fit her well, but because it didn't fit her horse correctly, it didn't fit her correctly. Now she has a saddle that works for both of them!