It seems like you are getting the help you need, but I saw your horse’s shape and wanted to share my saddle fitting advice with you-- here is my horse http://www.pinterest.com/pin/525584218986735530/
yes he is quite fleshed out right now, but he was not always. he has really difficult to fit back. i tried about 10 saddles on him, including getting his tracings and measurements and sending them to Trumbull Mtn and getting their saddles on trial-- none fit.
i know that you said County was out of your price range-- its out of mine too (thank god for my mom and dad)-- but what i ended up with was the new model County Sensation, with skidrow panels and gussets. when you look at it, it fits perfectly, but even so, we both seem to prefer it with a mattes pad. to be fair, the county rep i’ve worked with told me upfront that due to his unique back, even with the custom saddle he might need the mattes. my vet/chiro made the same comment. but its not like the sheepskin pad is masking an ill fitting saddle, it sits perfectly on his back, and he goes fine without a sheepskin. its just that the drop from withers to haunches is pretty substantial and with weight in the saddle it feels more level with the sheepskin. this is the FIRST saddle that does not pinch his shoulder or sit close to his wither!! totally worth the explicit amount of $.
What I learned: I have always had high withered horses and i went to a college where saddle fit was of great importance in the riding program, so I thought i was pretty well versed in saddle fit. my horse’s fitting issues had me stumped and its because no one ever said BOO about length of points on a saddle.
essentially, because of the drop behind the wither and his particular shape, a saddle with average length points, even thickly gussetted, was going to sit too low in front without extra padding. so this new model County sensation has longer points made for this type of saddle fit issue.
this is kind of how i understood the effect of points on saddle fit:
imagine that you have really ridiculously long lower legs, and you’ve found a stool that allows your feet to lay perfectly flat on the floor, knees bent at 90degrees. then a normal size person sits on this stool and their feet can’t lay flat on the ground. that normal size person is the average saddle on your horse. you are the perfect saddle on your horse. This explains why you might have the tree size, tree shape, gullet and gussets all “correct” for your horse by some standards of measurements…but maybe it still doesn’t fit right.
I hope this was a teeny bit helpful. I was riding my horse in an old stubben with a corrective mattes prior to this, which was working quite well for flat but started causing problems once we were doing more jumping. but, my horse is the princess and the pea. if possible, ride your horse bareback until you can get a saddle that fits. i rode Mick for 2 months bareback and just worked on hills, cavalletti, and transitions to build his topline.