Can a western saddle still be used if the fleece has disintegrated off of the underside? It's not worth fixing, as it is about 18 years old, and not a super expensive saddle to begin with. Can I use a thick pad and still ride in it? Or should it be "retired"?
Yeah, just pad it appropriately. The important thing is not to create ANY pressure points on the horse's back.
I've got a turn of the century, hand tooled saddle that my dad bought me in the mid-1950s. All/most of the fleece, originally glued on, is gone, but I rode it for about a hundred thousand years with no issues.
Thanks for the advice, everyone. I will probably pad the saddle well, as it is not worth the cost of having it professionally refleeced. I COULD glue new fleece to the underside myself, but it might be better to just leave it alone. What would you do?