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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    19,862

    Default Spin-off: Mattes vs. Thinline vs. Skito pads?

    Dear residents of "hunter world"--

    I originally posted my query in the Endurance forum because Skito pads are used more in that world than in ours, but I'd like your opinions too.

    I'm trying to fit my middle--aged DWB whose back is dropping (Entropy sucks!), and as he is now developing shark-finned withers, I need to get him a high-quality riser pad. As he is also losing some muscle along his spinal processes, I'm also trying to avoid creating a bridging problem. I'm scared.

    For those of you who have tried Mattes pads or Thinlines with shims, are you happy? Does it worry you that the four pockets create a gap in padding right underneath the rider? The guys at Skito will make a wedge of foam (or perhaps felt) that covers the back 2/3rds of the saddle. That wedge sits over a flat 1/2 inch layer of their special foam.

    There's also an aesthetic/ "hunter uniform" question involved. I'm not sure that Skito will make a pad that looks appropriate in the hunter ring. That having been said, how do you dress your show horses who need specialized pads to make their saddles fit? Do you pile a Mattes pad on top of a fitted fleece pad? Do you show your horse in his specialized half pad? Or do you spend an arm and a leg to buy a fitted Mattes pad with the pockets for shims?

    Any other options out there that I haven't considered?

    Thanks for your help.

    -mvp

    P. S. I know, I know, no saddle really fits if it needs a riser pad. For several reasons, this is the option I have to make work at the moment.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2006
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    6,065

    Default

    I have the Thinline saddle fitter pad, and I LOVE it. My horse's "problem" is high withers, not a dropped back.. but the Thinline pad with Ultra Thinline inserts has made my saddle fit *perfectly*. I couldn't believe it when I put it on him. The saddle fitter had recommended a Mattes correction pad, but I wanted the benefits of Thinline. The effect is the same.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2008
    Posts
    138

    Default

    I second the thinline saddle fitter. I called a tack shop to order the Mattes and they told me the Thinline was better even though they did not carry it!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 11, 2008
    Location
    Windsor SC till Aug
    Posts
    1,410

    Default thread steeling... :)

    I'm going to piggyback on this thread because i have a similar question. I'm having a hard time finding a saddle to fit my narrow high withered boy... So i'm looking at these pads as well. I presently already use ThinLine pads, but do not have one for shims, so i'm leaning more towards that one myself.

    My question is, do they really "raise" it by enough to be significant? I cant get enough wither clearance for that lovely shark fin. My thinline pads are only 1/4 of an inch thick, is 1/4 of an inch going to do the job for those that use these? If not, do the mattes make them higher? And like the OP, is this going to cause any bridging issues?

    AHHHHH! I am just getting sick of spending money on things that arent working!
    Your Horse's Home On The Road!
    www.KaydanFarmsEquineTransport.com



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2003
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    700

    Default

    I used a skito pad on the shark-finned horse pictured in my profile. As the skito pad is under any regular hunter saddle pads - none were the wiser at the show.

    Another person at the barn also used it for her horse and it prevented the bridging problem she was having.

    With that said, while I love the skito pad, my trainer not so much.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2008
    Posts
    4,266

    Default

    Not in your discipline, but in case it's useful info, I have been using a custom setup for my crooked mare while she remuscles to become more symmetrical. She has a hollow behind one shoulder but not the other (there's more to it than that, but its a long story). I ride Western, and followed the chiropracter & vet's suggestion that I simply buy some Mattes shims and duct-tape them to the upper side of the felt pad I am using. I use two on the hollow side now, but can easily reduce it to one and then none as she changes shape.

    I would think you could do the same with your pad, as long as it isn't fleece on the upper surface (because the tape wouldn't stick well). The Mattes shims are about $10 for a set, and you can get several sets to stack them if you need, and place them exactly where needed.

    I have no problem with them shifting or moving, and my horsie is much more comfortable.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    19,862

    Default Update

    Thanks for your replies so far.

    Here's my update after more research.

    I think that the 4-pocked shims-type pads are probably the best bet for horses who are assymetrical from side to side. They may also be the best option for saddle fitting problems that are truly temporary-- as in the case of a horse whose back will change within the course of a year. (Love duct tape as a rule, so I also love the idea of taping shims to big felt western pads exactly where needed as a temporary fix.)

    But I think that felt shims will crush down, and that these 4-pocket pads are likely to create problems with "bridging."

    I'm also not sure how well Mattes' sheepskin will last, as nice and specialized as it is.

    I have never felt Thinline's foam.

    Many of you might know Skito's foam. Those pads were marketed long ago as Equalizer pads. I have a very old one that I have recently retried under saddle and really like. It's not bouncy, but does absorb shock.

    So after one more conversation with Tom at Skito pads, I have asked him to send me one of his demo pads that seems to come close. The base piece of foam is their 1/2" closed cell foam and will have a slightly scalloped shape in front to fill in the hollows behind my horse's withers. Tom will also include another wedge of foam that taper over 2/3rds of the saddle to reach another 1/2" at the cantle. He also suggested that the wedge might be made of felt.

    We will then consult again, creating the final specifications for my pad, if the demo works. So far, I'm really happy with the way that Tom has worked with me to create the best pad for my horse. Skito pads are more well-known in the Endurance world, and that isn't a bad thing. Those people have really high standards for horse and rider comfort.

    I'll let you know what happens next.

    -mvp



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 1, 2009
    Posts
    447

    Default

    I love my Mattes pad. It has held up very well under 3 horses that came to me with very sore and very "weird" backs - muscle atrophy due to poor saddle fit in the past etc. The fleece has stayed nice, and the ability to adjust with the pads has worked wonders. I use it over another sheepskin pad that keeps it clean and have adjusted the shims accordingly, since I'm really using it for saddle fit and muscle development.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 13, 2005
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    1,764

    Default

    Last year, I had a saddle fitter out for my old horse. His back had changed, and she suggested to use the mattes pad, I asked about the Thinline saddlefitter pad, she put a call into another saddle fitter who dealt with Thinline products. She said the Mattes pad was better built then the saddle fitter pad, but obviously a little more expensive. I ended up going with the Mattes pad, but I did get the thinline inserts which you can have custom cut for the mattes pad.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2008
    Posts
    138

    Default

    I bought my Thinline saddle fitter for my shark-finned TB. It comes with both the thinline and ultra thinline...

    I use both in the front pockets and only the regular thinline in the rear pockets. This gets plenty of clearance. I use a saddle pad under it a stand on a stool and pull both the saddle and thinline up into pommel to prevent bridging.

    Like I said before, I called Trumbell Mtn. the rep recommended I order the
    Thinline over the Mattes.

    As far as quality goes, the Thinline is awesome. Mattes are nice too, but the Thinline pads absorb shock. The Mattes just come with felt padding



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2004
    Location
    The Great, uh, Green (?!?!) North!
    Posts
    4,262

    Default

    I have a Mattes correction pad, and you wouldn't beleive the difference a 1/4" makes in fit!

    My saddle fitter (who is also a custom saddle maker) adjusted my saddle to give my youngster growing room, and then we tweak the fit with the pad. Saddle will get adjusted again when we see a significant change in shape.
    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    7,102

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EventingJ View Post
    I asked about the Thinline saddlefitter pad, she put a call into another saddle fitter who dealt with Thinline products. She said the Mattes pad was better built then the saddle fitter pad, but obviously a little more expensive.
    A word on that from someone who's owned both products: Yes the Mattes pad is better constructed, but let's just say I don't know if it's 80 whole dollars better in construction. The quality and density of the sheepskin itself is very comparable, as one would expect since both companies use medical grade sheepskin. Both have thick and extensively stitched quilted padding on top that will survive quite a beating over time. I do notice that when I look closely at the stitching on my Thinline, sometimes it is not perfectly straight. It's never anything that has a direct impact on the pad's usability, but it's one of those "If you hold it 10 inches from your face, you can see a difference in attention to detail" kind of things. I've had my Thinline Saddle Fitter for a year and it's held up very nicely indeed.

    One other thing I noticed: the Mattes correction pad holds more shims and therefore can be made to be a bit thicker than the Thinline, but the Mattes pad shims also compress MUCH more than the Thinline shims. In that regard, it's not that one is better than the other, just that they're different.

    I have never used Skito pads so I can't speak to that comparison.
    Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/



  13. #13
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2006
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    348

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by twofatponies View Post
    Not in your discipline, but in case it's useful info, I have been using a custom setup for my crooked mare while she remuscles to become more symmetrical. She has a hollow behind one shoulder but not the other (there's more to it than that, but its a long story). I ride Western, and followed the chiropracter & vet's suggestion that I simply buy some Mattes shims and duct-tape them to the upper side of the felt pad I am using. I use two on the hollow side now, but can easily reduce it to one and then none as she changes shape.

    I would think you could do the same with your pad, as long as it isn't fleece on the upper surface (because the tape wouldn't stick well). The Mattes shims are about $10 for a set, and you can get several sets to stack them if you need, and place them exactly where needed.

    I have no problem with them shifting or moving, and my horsie is much more comfortable.

    Thank you, thank you for this suggestion! This is so, so, so timely for me (looking at the same type of asymetry problem)- we were thinking about what we could fashion to work as a Mattes correction (with a small shim on one side) so we could avoid the large Mattes price tag



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 23, 2007
    Posts
    189

    Default

    Hi,

    I work for Ecogold and here's a video showing one of our pads that might help you (in the video it's the dressage pad but we also make it in a hunter & showjumper styles).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AExXlkLg3Bw

    The risers stack up with velcro so you can put them one on top of another to create the proper thickness.



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