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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2012
    Posts
    116

    Default Saddle fitting for the fat, asymmetrical arab - Mattes pad?

    So I am riding a friend's horse, and he is pretty much the perfect storm of saddle fitting nightmares. He's a widebacked, mutton withered arab, and fat to boot. He also has uneven muscling behind his shoulders, so one side dips more than the other and this causes some saddles to fit well on only one side.

    The fitness and weight are being addressed with lots of lounging and diet, but in the meantime, what do I do to make him comfortable in a saddle without getting something really expensive and/or custom? Has anyone tried a Mattes shim pad? What did you think of it?
    "Here? It's like asking a bunch of rednecks which is better--Ford or Chevy?" ~Deltawave



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2004
    Location
    Sandgate, VT
    Posts
    942

    Default

    Mattes pads can be a huge help as long as the overall fit is fairly close. They won't make a saddle that is totally unsuitable work - no pad will, despite what ad copy may tell you - but they can "fill in the gaps" and help with asymmetries and other issues.

    One quick caveat, however: too much stuff between a round horse and the saddle can create instability ... so while minor adjustments are doable, too many shims can create a "princess and the pea" situation.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2012
    Posts
    116

    Default

    Thanks Kitt. As far as I can tell, the saddle is otherwise OK, it just seems to bridge over the area behind the shoulder on one side... if that makes sense. Not a complete gap, just uneven pressure. The other side feels even all the way down.
    "Here? It's like asking a bunch of rednecks which is better--Ford or Chevy?" ~Deltawave



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2009
    Location
    Montreal, Qc
    Posts
    2,921

    Default

    Mattes shim pads would be great! Just bigger shims or two to begin with and then, as the horse will fill, remove a shim or find thinner ones.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 23, 2011
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    455

    Default

    Mattes pads or Thinline correction pads work well.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2004
    Location
    Sandgate, VT
    Posts
    942

    Default

    If there's a little "void" area, the Mattes pad would probably be perfect. You can add or remove shims as needed (they're only about 1/8" thick) and even cut them for a customized fit. There's a great series of videos on how to do that - I'm just casting about for the links. I'll post them when I find them!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    6,801

    Default

    I agree with everything Kitt has said. Do consider the virtues of buying a cotton shim pad instead of the more popular, bulky sheepskin ones. Those bulky ones are just the ticket for narrow horses or horses with big dips behind their withers, but for a wide little arab, something like the Mattes Correction Quilted Half Pad or the Thinline Trifecta might be the smarter choice.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2004
    Location
    Sandgate, VT
    Posts
    942

    Default

    I have a cotton quilt Mattes correction that's part of my saddle fitting tools. Love the lack of bulk, as jn4jenny mentioned. It's a huge help in figuring out what flocking needs to be done to correct asymmetries and lateral slip. For my job (and for the round-bodies) it's a great choice.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2004
    Location
    Sandgate, VT
    Posts
    942

    Default

    Stephanie Bloom sent me the following links to the Mattes shim trimming videos:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHfalqzjWwM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCMt5ZymkuA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bO1GB3xrc8g
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePgpz4vn8rc

    Great info - definitely worth the watch.



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