The only reason we use all these lovely fancy saddle-cloths, saddle-pads, and numnahs, other than to keep our saddles clean of course (and promote our generous sponsors!) is to protect the horse’s back. There are various great shock-absorbing, pressure-alleviating materials on the market to make things as comfy as possible for our horses, so WHY do people allow this to happen?! I’ve seen this sort of thing at all levels, from hunter trials to 4*, and very recently at 3*. If the rider ever puts their weight in the saddle, there’s the potential to create a pressure ridge across the horse’s back, leading to soreness, the very last thing you want!
They’d be better off with no saddlepad at all, at least then there would be no edge under the saddle panels. Sometimes the saddlecloth is simply too short (sponsors’ cloths are often to blame) but in many cases it’s simply a case of the cloth/pad needing to be fitted further back. It should always finish clearly outside the panels, and NEVER underneath them, and the presence of a half-pad (which sometimes confuses the picture) makes no difference to that golden rule. Seeing this drives me MAD for the horse’s sake!