A custom saddle is an investment, but one that will hold its value over time. It is also a tool for a person to do a job, be that working stock, packing, starting horses or just riding to ride. Being a tool, a saddle should be appropriate for the job you intend to do and fit both you and the horse.
I would hazard a guess that the majority of horses have not had a saddle that really fits them well and the same can be said for riders. These fit issues can explain a variety of behavioral and performance problems in horses, also performance and pain issues for riders.
To give this some perspective, I use the analogy of a pair of boots or shoes that don’t quite fit. If they are a touch big, you can wear a heavier sock and they will work. If they are way too large, you could make up the space with more socks, but you would not have much feel for what you are doing or exhibit much grace in your movements. At the other end of the spectrum, if they are the tiniest bit small or tight, you are going to be in pain at some point. At this point, most people will either get the offending footwear fixed, or get rid of them for a pair that actually fits. Horses rely on their humans to make these adjustments and are constantly giving you feedback if you are willing to listen.
I am a firm believer that the bottom of a saddle needs to fit the top of a horse and the top of the saddle needs to fit the bottom of a person. That being said, there are some horses that are put together in a manner that no saddle will fit well. It isn’t their fault, just how they are constructed. And to be clear, there is not one saddle configuration that will fit every horse. I get asked that question frequently and respond with another shoe analogy: If I was a shoe maker and only built one style, in one size, and expected it to fit everyone, you would think I was crazy.
In constructing a saddle I use custom made, rawhide covered, wood trees. For leather I use Herman Oak or Wicket & Craig. I use real sheep skin fleece. Hardware comes in stainless steel or brass. All of my stirrup leathers are twisted, wrapped and set. All my saddles come ready to ride with latigos, cinches, stirrups, saddle strings, rope strap and horn wrap as part of the base price.
If you have any questions about a saddle feel free to contact me and we can discuss what you may have in mind. My contact information is on the contact page.