I think I've figured out the correct stirrup set-up, and now I'm just tweaking the saddle pad. It really feels comfortable for me, no hip pain, I've remedied the knee issue from the first ride (and resulting ruffling of his coat as I kept adjusting in the saddle during our ride), and I still have a few more adjustments I could make for myself if I need to.
I rode with the Ghost wool pad without inserts for a few rides and then Sunday tried my Matrix without inserts. I didn't get it centered up into the saddle as well as I should have (resulted in pad shifting), but I will have to play with that next time.
Based on Prophecy's build the recommendation was to start without pad inserts as the panels have their own "inserts" for weight distribution and I'm not heavy enough to 'require' pad inserts as well, however they are a good idea for long term use and distances in general.
Monday night I tried out a friend's Skito (with the inserts) over in the arena next door. Another short ride due to loss of daylight and boredom, but it gives me an idea of how it feels with inserts in the pads and if it is still able to maintain levelness and stability side to side as well (one of the major issues with most saddles we've tried). It did hold the side-to-side level but seemed to perch it off his back a bit and caused it to be lower in the front (which can be fixed with shims). We'll see how the Matrix does when I add inserts back in next weekend if it is any different.
One of these days I'll get around to trying to mount from the ground and see how much shifting there is, but since the girth is actually a little shorter than he apparently needs, and tacking up is still a dance, I'll wait till I have my own saddle in hand and some more fitness. Being able to do so would be nice, in case there is nothing around to get me a boost on a trail. He really hasn't huffed and puffed much at all with our trotting or having him walk uphill to engage the butt so cardiac wise he is keeping himself in shape in the field...now to get the muscle tone!
All in all I'm feeling like the Ghost is a successful fit (and wondering why I didn't trust my gut earlier this summer to demo it). I will have a little bit yet to figure out on the best pad option for us, but I think this is a good saddle to get us going for 2017! As we get to true Endurance distances (50+miles) I will have to keep an eye on everything and make sure - but I know several others having much success in this brand for 50 & 75 mile rides.
Sunday I took the kids and Doug out to meet Prophecy (finally) and he snapped a few pictures of us on our short ride in the paddock.
Monday night coming back to the barn from the arena next door