I do NOT know why I thought shopping for a western saddle would be easier than my dressage or jump saddles. At least my horse is shaped like a dressage horse and isn't freaky looking at a jump show. When I took Theo to his Vitor clinic, it was at a working cow ranch. Everyone thought Theo was gigantic. Everyone. That should have been an indicator to me that he's not the typical western disciplines type.
He doesn't exactly look like a QH or a Paint.
It seemed simpler since there was just the two options: semi or QH bars. And clearly, with those withers, he needs a semi-QH bars tree. Clearly. Easy peasy.
So my saddle showed up and I, with great excitement, tacked my poor dressage horse up. And realized I still can't tie a cinch to save my life. Fortunately someone that knows western tack was there to help me check fit and help me get my tack on safely. With her help, I was able to get things cinched up and hop on for a few minutes. I'd already ridden him in a lesson, so it was strictly a test ride. No need for a bridle. We jogged and loped around with just a lead rope to let me steer.
The saddle fit me well and fit his back well, but was too tight on his shoulders. I put my fingers under the front edge of the saddle and got a rather painful squeeze. Damn it. Such a pretty saddle, but no dice for the magnificence that is mi papi. Back it goes to Smartpak.
I'm going to order up this saddle's very close sibling that comes in a round skirt since the saddle looks big on Theo's short back. I'm also going to try a wide to see if we can give his shoulders some room without dropping the pommel right on his withers. If that doesn't work, I have to start branching out. There's a gaited version of the tree with extra room in the shoulders . . .
I hate saddle shopping.