Several people have asked about the saddle I've been using on Thunder. This is not a surprise. I asked many of those same questions myself when I first saw it.
This is a Trooper saddle.It was made by Jack Haggis Saddlery.
Based on a military design and popular with the gaited horse crowd, trooper saddles feature a suspended seat that "floats" above the horse's back.
It looks high and tilty, but it feels surprisingly normal.
In much the same way, it looks like these stirrup buckles would rub your leg.
This particular saddle features Western rigging. The cinch buckles on the right...and ties on the left.
Although the saddle has a padded leather seat, Karen's has an additional sheepskin seat cover for extra comfort.
And let me tell you, it is comfortable. I did not expect to like this saddle, but I do. In fact, I like it very much. It's a well balanced, well made saddle, and I've very much enjoyed riding in it.