View Full Version : best pad for too-wide saddle?

Nov. 28, 2009, 03:59 PM
I have a county innovation, bought used, and marked as a narrow tree. It has the skid row panels. The horse I ride is a 15 year old TB gelding, fit but in need of some back fat according to the saddle fitter. He's has round ribs but big withers, and is only about 15.1hh. When the saddle is stuffed, it fits him fine with a regular pad on the thicker side.

Since getting it stuffed to fit him over a year ago, the stuffing has compressed (mostly in the wither gussets and it's back to being too wide. Unfortunately, the saddle fitter I used is taking some time off for medical reasons and I haven't found anyone else nearby who isn't substantially more expensive. I'm hoping to buy him some padding to get him through the winter until she can come out again. I'm currently riding with a "pad stack" - a folded navajo pad, one of those regular cotton fleece full pads, and an ultra thinline I had lying around - but it's a little absurd.

When the fitter was here before, she suggested getting the Mattes correction pad if he didn't manage to gain some weight. They are enormously expensive, though, so I was wondering if there was a more affordable alternative. Whatever I use needs to be wither-shaped because oh boy is his back wither shaped. The saddle is also strangely large given how small the horse and I are, it's a 17.5. Oh, I half-lease, so really don't have any control over his back fat issue, that would be my ideal solution.

Cruise Control
Nov. 29, 2009, 07:26 AM
Get the Mattes pad. You will not be sorry. I bought an under weight and under-muscled Tb who my current saddle was too wide for. My husband got me a corrrction pad for my birthday on the advice of a friend who is in exactly your situation and it has worked out beautifully. No pressure points, no wither pressure, the sweat pattern under the saddle is uniform. I ride in with the mattes 5 days a week and also show in it.

Nov. 29, 2009, 08:46 AM
My tree is slightly too wide and the saddle fitter I had out recommended that a.) I buy a new saddle or b.) use the SaddleFitter pad from Thinline to take up the extra space.

Since I religiously had been using Thinline products already (and really liked them) I purchased that pad and it has been working out great. The sheepskin takes up the empty space and gets the saddle up off his withers and she had me add back shims to level out the saddle.

Said she prefers the thinline shims as compared to Mattes felt shims because they don't compress over time. YMWV.

Nov. 29, 2009, 09:19 AM
I have a PRI saddle pad that I used while waiting for young horse to fill out.
It was much more affordable than Mattes or Thinline, and it worked fine for me. It has velcro pockets with removable shims.
I got it at Trumbull Mountain - don't see it on their web site now. But I would give them a call.

Nov. 29, 2009, 09:31 AM
From what you describe the primary place the saddle needs to be supported is under the tree points in front. You will need to fill in the space with a material that does not compress too much, so that it can continue to support the saddle rather than compressing.

For this reason I would not recommend a mattes pad. It will just smoosh down.

Instead, I would recommend a prolite pad. For greatest flexibility I would get the saddle fitter prolite which has shims for the front and back. Pay particular care in shimming the front to make sure the tree points are supported. I got mine at www.advancedsaddlefit.com
I don't think that particular version of the prolite pad is on the website but if you call and talk to them they do have them in stock.

Also, Kate Wilson of Dutchess Bridle Saddle may come out to help you if she has other customers nearby. Give her a try at www.dutchessbridlesaddle.com; you will be at the very end of her mileage radius but you might get lucky.

Nov. 30, 2009, 04:36 PM
Just restuff the saddle. You probably just need the wither gussets fill out again. it shouldn't cost you much more than a pad would and it will guarantee to fit your horse.

Otherwise, I prefer the thin-line half pads or full pads with shimming options over mattes for the reasons stated. If you keep your eye on sales or E-bay, you can sometimes get a deal.

Nov. 30, 2009, 04:50 PM
The leather Tad coffin pads were made to supplement that.

Summit Springs Farm
Nov. 30, 2009, 08:04 PM
I have a lamicil, it costs less $60 and they r great !!:)

Dec. 1, 2009, 12:33 AM
Thanks guys, it's really helpful to hear what other people have used. The compression issue meupatdoes mentions is definitely something I was worried about, since if it happened to the wool over time I would expect other materials to do it too.

A friend has used Kate Wilson and really liked her, but looking at the prices she lists on her site I could get the mattes correction pad *and* pay the saddle fitter I used (and really liked) and it would still cost less than having her come down. So for now the plan is to pad for the winter and have it stuffed in the summer.

Dec. 3, 2009, 10:44 AM
I have a fleeceworks Perfect Balance pad, and I love it, you can move the shims around to make most saddles fit just about anything. IT comes with the front shims, if you need back shims there a little extra, but it washes up great and wears really well. -- I do use a baby pad under mine. I got mine over at farm house it was pricey, but well worth the $. 864-457-3557