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Hi Annette - I ride in an OrthoFlex Dresseur - same tree and very much the same as the Endurance Cutback. I've had this saddle for eight years, and have ridden many different horses with it. Mine still has the old panel system, but it works great with my mare, who is an Arab, 15.1, relatively narrow, with a prominent wither and a medium length back. We do 25 to 30 milers currently - working up to 50's next year. Her back and girth area are always clean as a whistle when it comes off - no lumps, bumps or soreness. And another thing about those neo-girths they sell. The last one I had lasted through 7 years of hard riding and it is still useable - just got a little frayed around the edges when the puppy chewed it. I have never had a galling problem with these girths and they are truly built to last. I would say the same about the saddle. I also find it very comfortable - no lumps or bumps on me, either (except the ones I'm supposed to have!).
I have used this saddle with several horses and it fit well with some, acceptable with others, and absolutely didn't fit one. It seems to fit horses of all back widths, but length is critical. I know the new panel system is more forgiving on shorter-backed horses, but mine absolutely didn't work on a short, blocky Arab cross I rode for awhile. Like most saddles, it seems to sit most securely on a horse with some kind of withers sticking up. I have used it with success on mutton-withered Fjords, but a crupper is definitely in order. I am average sized - 5' 7", 135 lbs, but I think that the weight distribution factor would benefit the horse no matter what your weight, as long as the saddle is balanced properly on the horse. I have never had a problem with my OrthoFlex needing shimming because it was tipping too far to the front or back. The panel system seems to take care of this when you sit down on it.
I'm sure others have different experiences with OrthoFlex, but from my viewpoint, the cutback/dresseur is a good bet for a horse with any width back, with decent withers and medium to longer length. The new panels may compensate somewhat for the length factor. I'd recommend a test drive!
Good luck with your search -
Chelle and 'Dy
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