Oh, the agony of saddle shopping. We have had a synthetic saddle, roping saddle, cutting saddle and English saddles. I am so glad we have tried out so many saddles. As new horse owners it is an important lesson. The roping saddle was great for ponying baby horses and cattle work. But to ride young horses you need a lighter saddle that fits the horse. A friend lent us two older trail saddles to try out. After some restoration my husband was ready to try one out. The saddle fit tiny horse and tall husband like a glove.
The only shortfall was the large girth. We needed a smaller one for our Bean, but were still ok to ride. My husband was able to ride very well on the trail.
The trail saddle has a smaller horn and large forks to hold you in. The broken in saddle was easier on the rider and the young horse. Softer leather, wider stirrups, slimmer seat all helped the rider feel more connected with the horse. Buying used or borrowing a used saddle to find one the fits is worth it. Rather than spending big bucks on a new saddle that needs to be broken in. For trail riding used or borrowed is the way to go for training young horses.