Proper Saddle fit has become quite a hot topic. That’s a positive development since poorly fitting saddles cause problems for both horse and rider. However, the increased emphasis on proper saddle fit has caused many people to go on a quest for the “perfect” saddle for their horse.
Let us take some pressure off. There is no such thing as the perfectly fitting saddle. A horse’s conformation changes throughout its life, and even throughout the year as their exercise level and nutrition varies. Buying a saddle to precisely fit a horse at a moment in time often results in a poorly fitting saddle at a later date.
The good news is that it’s not necessary to have the “perfect” saddle for a horse to have a comfortable fit. Proper saddle fit isn't an exact science. Think of the working cowboy. Could he afford to buy a different saddle for each horse he rode? Not on cowboy wages. And yet, if his saddle caused soreness for the boss's horses, he wasn’t a working cowboy for long. He needed a high quality, well-built saddle designed for the physical type of horses he rode. That's proper saddle fit.
That’s what you need, too. With a suitable quality saddle and a variety of saddle pads, you should be able to ride many horses of the same physical type. Such a saddle should comfortably clear a horse’s withers, allow for free movement of the shoulders, be the proper length and shape for its back, and be well balanced to provide good weight distribution. That's proper saddle fit. If you ride horses of different breeds or significantly different sizes, then you'll need to invest in multiple saddles.