This is Chastain, a 16+ hh American Saddlebred Gelding. He is my rescued horse and the one I want to learn Side Saddle riding with. He has a soft back. Since he is flexed to the left, it looks worse in this photo...
..and since his mane is covering his high withers, it does not look so bad in this photo. In reality, it is somewhere in between.
This is Chastain's withers tracing. I had to use baling wire because - well that is all I had. I would have taken pictures of me doing this with the horse...but I was too busy convincing Chastain the wire was not the enemy and that I still loved him! Yes - I used some ugly Christmas wrapping paper to make the tracing because it was the only paper I had that was wide enough!
I thought Chastain was an extremely wide horse..but now I think I was wrong. Someone will have to help me here - but is 19 inches wide? It sure looks narrow to me.
I knew Chastain had a very pronounced wither, but maybe it was either his general size or the soft back that made me think he was so wide. A pronounced wither seems to be a good thing for getting a better fit with a sidesaddle.The reason I took the tracing after I bought the saddle is to have something to send to a sidesaddle broker if the one I bought will not work. Many American Saddlebreds are very fine boned and narrow. I actually have a 4 year old built this way...but he is way to young to learn the sidesaddle now. The saddle I bought is also so overstuffed that maybe it would work - if that problem was worked on...but if not - I will be on the search again.