My new saddle is here, and boy is it gorgeous!!!!!
I rode in it on Wednesday for the first time and it is a great fit for Mac, it seems. I'll ride in it a couple times more just to be sure before I declare victory, but I can report that there was no side-to-side rolling, which is the problem I was having with the Crestridge. Also there's an appropriate amount of flare so there's no digging into his shoulders or the loins at the back of the saddle. There is an inlaid bicycle seat, but it is still hard on my bony butt and I don't see a way around that except getting a seat saver if I wanted to.
I got a 15" seat for lots of reasons. 1) The first western saddle I had was a 16" and it was too big, 2) the Crestridge that I got was a 15.5" and it was just right snug-wise, but it had a really padded seat and I would have been happy with a bit more room, and 3) I was afraid if I went any smaller then I'd have crotch problems like I had with a painful dressage saddle. Joe suggested I actually get a 14.5" seat, but I was worried about it being too small. I did sit in other friends' saddles that were 14.5" and they just felt too small to me. Well, lo and behold, I probably could have gone to a 14.5" because this 15" feels a little roomy. It does have a nice sweet spot, though, so there is somewhere that my body just wants to go to be balanced, so that is good. Someone suggested putting bucking rolls on might take up a little extra space and give me a closer seat feel, so may try that.
I really like the Hope rigging on this saddle. To quote from their website, this rigging style "lessens the cinch pressure, and spreads the pressure down the side of the saddle. This makes it unnecessary to have a rear cinch..." The saddle felt very stable but I didn't have to overly tighten the cinch to make it so.
Mac seemed really happy in it and at the end of our ride there was a very good sweat pattern with even contact and no dry spots.
I'm going to hit the trails again today and tomorrow. :-) LOVE IT!