“One of the complaints some saddle fitters have with panels that are not adjustable (foam, felt, air) is their symmetry. Wait... what? I hear what you’re thinking: “You talk about symmetry ALL THE TIME, and now you’re telling me that we DON’T WANT IT???” That’s exactly what I’m saying, in reference to perfectly equal panels. And here’s why:
THE GOAL OF THE PANEL IS TO MIMIC THE HORSE’S SHAPE. This creates comfort and helps keep the saddle centered. There are NO SYMMETRICAL HORSES on the planet.
Panels that are a different shape from the horse’s back, especially when built on a rigid tree, will create pressure points and areas of bridging.
A knowledgeable Fitter is able to add flocking to the low spots and remove flocking from the high areas to create even pressure throughout the panels.
I’m not saying that symmetrical panels don’t have their uses. For example, a rider or trainer who uses their saddle on multiple horses, with differently shaped backs, would do best with a symmetrical saddle and personalized pad/shims for each horse. However, in my experience, a horse fares best when they have their own fitted saddle, and the rider keeps up with regular fittings.
We get the best results from our saddle when we PREVENT problems, not solve them after they’ve become an issue.”