My daughter just bought one yesterday and rode in it this morning. We're sold. Of course, it could be a fluke , but our cranky chestnut QH mare was a complete angel this morning. Even walking her to the ring, she always stops and balks and pins her ears and it takes threatening at times to get her to the ring. She walked on loose rein this morning with her ears forward
The first thing we noticed under saddle was that she was not pinning her ears around every corner, and when my daughter put her leg on (she always pins her ears, sometimes swishes her tail and when the pressure is really on, she kicks out), she just WENT. Five minutes into the ride her lower lip was hanging. Her canter was so much better, and when jumping, even when the distance got wonky, she didn't get freaked out and overjump.
Of course, this also makes me feel bad that there was obviously something still wrong that this makes her so much happier.
It was really a weird morning. Again, this is based on one ride but it was an unbelievable difference. We're headed back out to try it on another pony...he doesn't have that many issues so the difference may be more subtle. But tomorrow we're putting it on the Bad Pony may be headed out to buy 2 more Thinlines this week. Stay tuned.
Well I have four thinline pads so I guess you could say I am sold on them. I wouldn't buy the ultra if I had it to do over again though. They rip too easily, most of the time at the withers. Nothing you can do but toss them in the garbage when that happens. I got mine off of Tack of the Day for $40, so its wasn't the end of the world to throw one away. They might have that promotion again someday.
There are some good books out there that can tell you how to do a decent, basic massage - it won't be nearly as in-depth as a trained masseuse would do, but it would allow you to do it multiple times over without spending all of your money. That way you could probably get the pad too...
If you're really concerned about saddle fit, I'd do that. But if you're pretty much sure it's still okay, then I'd pass on that and get the Ultra ThinLine pad. The pad will last far longer than anything else and you'll get more use out of it.
Find a reputable equine rescue and donate to them! Or if you know someone privately who has rescued an equine in need, offer to buy them some vaccines or a couple bags of grain or a trim or maybe a turnout rug on clearence--anything to offset the expenses that they are incurring because of their kindness. When we took in the very very sick mare and foal back in the summer, our vet donated about $1000.00 in time and meds and it was unbelievably helpful. Our farrier trimmed the mare for free and when I went to Southern States and told them about her story, they gave me a huge discount on foal formula, medicated shampoo, etc. If you're fortunate enough to have a little money to spare, help a four-footed-friend in need!
it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
OK, I work at the local homeless shelter, and I say, FABULOUS if you want to make a donation, human or equine... but it's perfectly ok to spend it on something you normally wouldn't too. It's a GIFT.
I really appreciate all the folks saying to give some/all to a good cause.
But it's completely OK to splurge sometimes.
Don't get me wrong, occasionally when I have a big ticket purchse, like a saddle, I sometimes throw up, and other times just think how ABSURD it is to throw that $$$ away when some of my students don't know where they will be sleeping tomorrow... BUT, I do what I can. And I can't do what I can (lessons) without the equipment. I try very hard not to spend foolishly, and to be a good steward.
Sorry, I've no real answer for your question... other than that His Princeness and the Pea would vote THINLINE as it's a dramatic change for him (in a saddle that fits!) and he's only as happy in a treeless as he is in the thinline-over-half-pad combo. And if someone offered me tomorrow one of the sheepskin thinline half-pads, I'd take it with NO guilt about my students... I don't know what that makes me... wishful and grateful, I guess.
Get the chiro out because they can help determine 1) if your saddle is causing your horse pain 2) if your horse could use a massage 3) if you need the pad or 4) if you need to spend the money on some other medical expense. That hits all of your questions!
VTO Saddlery is having their 25% off orders over $100 sale ... and I know they sell some thinline pads on there. Might be able to get more bang for your buck that way (use VTO's internal check-out and enter clearance in the coupon code). Personally, I practically never order from Dover ...