For me, it depends on the horse I'm riding and how the saddle fits them. My mare goes best in a half pad w/ just a baby pad underneath for schooling. Some of the horses/ponies I've ridden do better with a sheepskin over baby, or just a good thick but not obnoxious quilted.
I like mares. They remind me of myself: stubborn know it alls who only acknowledge you if you have food.
Hannah B. Nana: 50% horse, 50% hippo
Fiona: can't decide between jumpers or napping
I rarely ride in a sheepskin pad at home. I only use a sheepskin one at horse shows (because of all the jumping). I feel as if I can "feel" the horse better and understand how their body is moving/positioned. My saddle fits my horse very well. If I use my saddle on a different horse and need to alter the fit, I may add a sheepskin pad. Im sure there are varied opinions on this topic.
It really depends on the horse, and your saddle. I'll use a half pad to pad up if needed. My one sensitive mare goes in a regular synthetic shaped pad with a thin tad pad on top. She's wide enough that a half pad provides too much "fill" but not quite wide enough to do just the shaped pad.
My gelding uses a regular Circuit pad, and my sisters mare uses the Thinline comfort pad (uber thick). So it depends on the horse.
I really thinks it depends on the horse. My show horse/hunter goes in a mattes sheepskin half pad with a baby pad underneath because while the saddle fits him, I feel as if it doesn't fit well enough to just use a baby pad. I don't like the way a normal quilted pad feels on him, but will occasionally use one. I only use a baby pad under because I don't want to have to wash my mattes all the time.
For my sister's short stirrup hony, when I hack her I use a regular pad or baby pad and a really thin shock absorbent half pad.
For my jumper/practice horse I use a mattes pad and a regular saddle pad because my saddle doesn't fit him well. It is a regular tree and he really needs a narrow, but it's all easily fixed with a half pad.
My gelding goes in a wool half pad only for endurance rides. For daily rides, he wears whatever saddle pad I pick up (none of my normal ones are very thick) and a Thinline pad. For endurance rides I add a wool half pad since I'm on his back essentially all day and he's really working. Normal trail days we go without it. Hunting days he wears just a fleece shaped pad.
My 20+yo mare that gives lessons wears one every ride over the regular saddle pad. I figure she's old and nearly always has beginners on her back, I'll give her all the help I can.
A half-pad was recommended for my shark-withered, kissing spine OTTB, even with a custom saddle. Custom saddle done. While getting into condition, the half pad made the saddle slide around too much, and he is very sensitive to too much movement. Does much better with a full fleece or sheepskin pad. Finally adjustments done using the full pad, and it's what has made him happy.
Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes
Does anyone else ride without a half pad under their saddle?
I just ditched my Ogilvy pad 2 days ago and feel much better in the tack now.
I use what is needed for the horse and saddle. Right now, I school in a quilted square and a thin Tad Coffin.
When I show, I use only a Toklat Medallion Super Quilt Half Pad...with the foam inserts removed. This makes the pad approximately the same thickness as my schooling combination.
If you can take a half pad off and not negatively impact the fit of your saddle, you were probably negatively impacting the fit by using the half pad. If the half pad is so thin to start with that it doesn't affect fit, it would be hard to believe that you can tell the difference without it.
Originally Posted by vxf111
My saddles have been custom made for my horses, adjusted periodically, and they fit-- so I don't need a half pad.
Even if a saddle is custom fit, you could use a half pad. A half pad doesn't automatically mean you are trying to adjust the fit of a saddle. Hopefully a custom fit saddle takes into account whatever pad you would want to show in. If that's a fleece shaped pad, there shouldn't be any change by using a ONLY a fleece half pad to school or show. Really, the thickness of the pad or pad combination is what matters, not what the pads or pad combination actually is. If you can get the right thickness with a 1" thick poly pad, use it. If you use a 1/2" quilt and a 1/2" fleece half pad for 1" thick combined, use it. Etc.
I do wonder about people whose saddle fits with a regular 1/2"-ish quilt square only. What happens when they use a 1" thick shaped fleece pad to show in. They've affectively narrowed their saddle. Most horses will tolerate it...but they have changed the fit of their perfectly fitting saddles.
"I am witty. Ask around." --Pat, COTH
I should have clarified... I had my saddles fitted to fit perfectly with just a regular pad. So adding a half pad would take up too much space. I could have had them fitted to fit over a half pad but didn't (and given that it's one more thing to wash, it's not something I would intentionally do). My schooling pads are roughly the same thickness as my show pads. I use pretty thinnish show pads and slightly thicker than most people's everyday AP pads.
My saddle isn't custom to my horse but it fits her well. I used to ride with a sheepskin half pad under it and then Ogilvy pads became all the rage and I was a sucker and bought one (used it for about a year and the saddle still fit quite well with it).
The other day I decided to ride with just my saddle and saddle pad** and I love the way it feels! I may eventually add my old sheepskin half pad again.
**saddle pad, as in pretty much a baby pad. I only buy super thin saddle pads and I ride jumpers so my show pads are pretty much the same thing.
My saddle fits with just a regular show pad (which is all I use when I show). But when I school at home, I use a square pad, a sheepskin half pad and a thin line. When my horse matured, I thought I would just use the square pad and thin line. It looked like it fit pretty well; however, it did not work for my horse, so I went back to riding with all three pads.
TB = square pad and a mattes sheepskin half pad or similar ((i think it's the dover equivalent)
QH = (typically only ride him if the tb can't be ridden or if the qh needs an extra workout) just a square pad under my Crosby.
Not sure if it's the lack of a half pad or the fact that the tb saddle is a beval with more padding and knee rolls etc (Crosby is a prix de nations) but i feel soooo much more of the movement of the qh. It makes some things a lot easier for me to feel
- timing of the aides, and effectiveness, for example.
MrB's attempt at talking like a horse person, "We'll be entering in the amateur hunter-gatherer division...."