Working with a new saddle, and although I am not a fan of Mattes pads, saddle fits best with it and pony is happiest in it. As in, REALLY happy. I had one in my tack box from ages ago, and for the last 3-4 yrs was much happier without it. But new horse, new saddle and trying to make it work.
I tried my pony using only the Mattes yesterday - really did it to see if my saddle sat more balanced...and it clearly did - no regular pad underneath, as I don't like "stuff" between me and the horse. The Mattes isn't long, so the bottom of panel/top of girth area is against horse, but he clearly doesn't mind.
Is it okay to use just a Mattes with nothing underneath? Is that how they are meant to be used? Afraid a regular pad underneath will cause more pinching and HTH can my horse feel my seatbones with all that stuff underneath?!
Yes you can use the Mattes pad with nothing underneath. Like you said, Mattes recommends using the pad directly on the horse's back to take advantage of the wool's properties (wicking, conforming to horse's back). I use Mattes pads directly on my horse's back with a very thin baby pad over the top to keep the flaps of my saddle a bit cleaner.
Yes, the point of the pads, to take advantage of the sheepskin, is to use them directly against the horse. If you just need them for padding purposes, you can put them wherever you want.
I'll echo the other poster....in order to keep your pad a little cleaner, it's easy to toss a thin baby pad under there. They're no thicker than a washcloth, so aren't going to bulk everything up, just simply keep things clean. Or if you don't care about the pad but don't want sweat soaking into your saddle, you can toss the baby pad on top. Whichever.
I use my sheepskin pad with nothing underneath all the time. I keep a wire brush in my tack trunk (the kind they sell at pet stores, fine wires on a flat paddle) and I comb out the pad after each use and make sure it dries in the sun. Combing out the loose dirt means I don't have to wash it as often, and it stays fluffy.
The one thing you will have to do is to be sure to at least take a damp cloth and wipe the sweat off the bottom of the flaps where they come in contact with the horse.
Saddle fitter is having me use the Mattes 1/2 pad directly on my horse. So having the flaps touch the pony shouldn't be an issue.
Just to echo other posters make sure you wipe the sweat from the bottom of the flap.
I can't use a baby pad with mine since one of the issues that I have with this horse is the saddle pad wanting to slip down onto his very high withers and create pressure. I have one high withered dressage pad the stays up in the pommel most of the time. I ride in an AP saddle so the pad is a little too long.
Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)
I know it's supposed to be on his skin and I am fine with that aspect, and actually prefer it - it has to be so comfortable for the horse to have the sheepskin against his skin. My issue with it is that my saddle flaps are much longer than the pad. So they are against my pony's skin if that makes sense.
I suppose I could splurge for this?! It's a full size Mattes hunter pad. This would cover underneath the flaps.
The one I have (and that my friend also uses OVER a regular pad) is this which I guess is why it seems odd, and has little coverage under the flaps - is anyone using THIS one alone?? Pony was fine but worried about rubs in area of flap bottom.
Marta, you use the Mattes half pad with nothing else? No rubs or problems?
no rubs, no problem. in fact, we used to compete that way in distance riding before my mare was retired. i still hack her that way. you just wipe the sweat flaps more frequently if your horse sweats a lot. btw, we switched over to the mattes half pad on recommendation of my saddle fitter.
I rode my old horse for EVER in just his half pad. The only time I would put a saddle pad ON TOP of the Mattes was for dressage at shows...just a classier look with the dressage saddle, IMO. But, otherwise, every ride at home, all the jumping phases at shows, just a half pad.
My new horse needed a pad ON TOP of the Mattes for a little bit better fit. Of course, now I've switched to a narrower saddle that he likes better and can't use the sheepskin
The whole point of them is to use them directly on their back.. I will never understand putting a baby pad beneath them "to keep them clean." Totally defeats the purpose.
FYI, if you stick with this game plan, you may want to invest in one or two more, especially if your horse is a big sweater.
the mattes pads wash v. well. either use woolite or some other gentle detergent. i used to wash it on gentle but then graduated to regular cycle it holds up great. i wash it with my mohair girth. leave it out to air dry.
I hate half pads, but one of mine clearly prefers the Mattes pads so I bought a couple of shaped full Mattes pads (don't like square ones either, LOL) and just use those.
If the half pad is what you have, you can put a baby pad on top of it, maybe. Or just use it the way it is--if the horse is happy, mission accomplished.
There was a thread here about 6-8 weeks ago with a Germany-based website where you could order custom Mattes pads at a fraction of the US cost. I got one from them--seems to be the real thing and the price was about 2/3 of what they cost here.
My mare was getting rubs from the edge of her regular saddle pad in back of the saddle. Switched to a Mattes square pad directly against her skin and we got instant relief (though not for my pocketbook). We're never going back.
I have to say the NuMed pads are nice, too, and somewhat less pricey.