I think my new saddle's a winner! My test ride today went swimmingly. Willow always wigs out a bit when I put a new saddle on her; she's pretty sensitive. So she had to jig for a few minutes when I first got on, but before long she settled into a big-strided walk. I realized I had the stirrups a hole too short, but I decided not to mess with them lest Willow go back to jigging.
The trot was a little tight at first, too, but again Willow relaxed quickly and moved out in a nice, swingy fashion. Because of the too-short stirrups, I didn't bother trying to sit, but I can tell this saddle has a very comfortable feel.
The canter was what all but sealed the deal for me. I started in right lead, where Willow tends to want to lean and galumph. This new saddle has bigger knee rolls than the Kieffer (in the Kieffer's defense, it was too small for me, so my knees tended to poke over the knee rolls). I found the knee rolls on the new saddle really helped me to help Willow to stay up in front. They gave me some much-needed leverage. For the first time in right lead canter, my seat felt secure enough to really influence each stride. And the left lead was just plain awesome.
Tomorrow I'll drop the stirrups a hole and see how that feels. If the longer stirrups feel right, then I'm going to keep the saddle. If the longer stirrups feel too long, then I'll probably swap the saddle for an 18.5" seat. Dressage Extensions has a generous test ride policy, by the way.
We had sunny skies and highs near 80 today, so I gave Willow her first bath of the year. Then I hand-grazed her for 45 minutes. She found a big patch of clover and pigged out. It was a good day.