OK – I polled some of the other SmartPakers with wide-backed horses, and here’s our collective advice:
– We’ve had a few people who’ve had success with CWD for wider horses, so it may have been the particular model you were trying. Additionally, one of our buyers noted that the New England CWD rep just stepped down from his position, and the rep from the New York region had been helping out, so that may explain some of the gaps in service.
– If you liked the fit of the CWD for you, but it just didn’t fit your horse, you may want to consider a Devacoux or Voltaire, both of which are quite popular among our H/J friends looking for wider-tree saddles. Country saddles also have a wider-than-average tree, and they’re wool-flocked, which makes customizing to your horse much easier.
– There were a couple votes for Antares saddles (http://bit.ly/1e3Mstf), which you can get custom made. I personally have had success with my custom Antares (just has custom flaps, the tree is standard) on my 16hh AQHA gelding (he too is more Appendix-looking, even if his papers disagree!).
– M. Toulouse has a lot of great options with their Genesis system that offers an adjustable fit basically on the fly! That’s a good advantage because then you can adjust the tree if your horse muscles up as you’re competing more. The Denisse has the Genesis: http://bit.ly/15RjnRN, and the less expensive Annice does not (but it does still have a generous wide-tree option): http://bit.ly/15RjpJn
– Last but not least, a super-affordable brand that you may want to consider is Wintec: http://bit.ly/15RkFw7 Their saddles are quality, and look quite nice, but they aren’t as serious of an investment, especially if this is a first purchase for you.
If you do decide to try a new saddle, don’t forget that SmartPak offers free shipping on all orders over $75, free returns on all sized items (including saddles) and a generous, risk-free test ride program – check out the third tab on our saddles page: http://bit.ly/1e3MEc3
I hope something in there is helpful! Give me a shout if you have any other questions, and good luck! – SmartPaker Sarah
Rider, Runner, Stuff-Riders-Say-er, SmartPaker