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Shimmable Mattes vs. Thinline Trifecta (no fleece)?

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  • Shimmable Mattes vs. Thinline Trifecta (no fleece)?

    I posted this in Off-Course but I guess it actually belongs here. We're the ones who actually sit on our horses instead of hovering over them anyway...

    Opinions? I'm looking for a thin shimmable pad. The Mattes quilted correction pad (no fleece) is easier on the wallet, and comes with the shims, but the Thinline Trifecta seems like it would also be useful with no shims (due to the Thinline) while the quilted Mattes seems like it would be pretty much useless if I didn't need to shim anymore.

    The beautiful Mattes sheepskin half-pad I bought alters my saddle fit too much to use. Bummer, I figured if I were a horse I'd rather wear sheepskin.
    MelanieC * Canis soloensis

  • #2
    I have the shimmable fleece mattes pad...bought it used on ebay. I bought it on recommendation from a saddle fitter for a saddle that wasn't fitting. I wound up selling the Custom expensive, poorly fitting saddle and just use the mattes pad itself on the ottb's I ride occasionally...it's too much bulk for my wide/round wb and morgan.

    Honestly, if you're having to shim, I would question the fit of your saddle...I'm not trying to make you mad, but I've been down that road and the mattes pad/shim was an inefficient band-aid for a much larger problem.


    • Original Poster

      Not mad. The reason I'm looking for a shimmable pad is that my horse currently has very little muscle over his topline (he is not green, but he is new to dressage) and is also a bit asymmetrical. His saddle fits, but not perfectly. I'm not looking for a perfect fit right now as I know his topline will change quite a bit over the next few months, so I actually am looking for a band-aid at this point. If in a few months he changes so much that the saddle just isn't a fit at all I'll look for a new saddle, but having a saddle fitter out now seems like a giant waste of money. I WILL have one out once I have more back to work with.

      I was actually advised to just do ground work for a few months, build him up and then look for a saddle for his new back, and I can see the wisdom in that, but I also can't see myself not riding at all for that long. He IS getting mostly groundwork at this point, but my trainer is also riding him to introduce him gently to dressage before I start riding him regularly.
      MelanieC * Canis soloensis


      • #4
        I have Thinline and i adore this pad! It's a big, fat, YEAH for us. I've been through nice sheepie pads and foam and everything else and all i needed was a thinline. I don't even have any "shims" - just use the pad over the dressage pad and it works very well. Good luck!


        • #5
          I have the Thinline Trifecta and love it. I did use shims with it before my young horse had filled out and muscled up, but now I just use it without shims over my dressage pad. Saddle fitter just checked saddle and pads last week and said it was perfect!


          • #6
            I also have the Thinline Trifecta and love it, err should say that Gus does. It works well and the shims are so thin that I don't think it really alters the fit a whole heck of a lot. Gus lost his topline when he was out of commission for about 18 months... we are still working on getting it back, but with the front shims in place, I feel like my saddle just fits him better, plus gives a little extra cushioning around his bony withers.

            I have a Mattes pad too (oh and an ECP half pad, with wither relief, as well). And while I love the pad, it is a lot bulkier then the Thinline one (considering the Mattes is a regular sheepskin-padded half pad). Guess you can't really compare them, apples to apples... but I would definitely get another Thinline Pad.
            Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
            See G2's blog


            • #7
              One idea is to completely forgo the extra pad, and just buy the shims. You can used duct tape to place them on your regular square pad where you need the extra lift, without the expense of an entirely new pad that you may not need in a few months. Or, if you want a half pad, you can buy any cheapy half pad and do the same thing w/ the shims. It's a lot less expensive than buying the special half pads w/ the pockets, and works just as well, if not better since you have more control as to where the shims are placed!

              I used the above approach after purchasing a thinline trifecta w/ shims. After riding w/ it, I thought that the thinline pad decreased my horses response to my seat, so I just took the shims and taped them to my square pad. It worked just fine!


              • #8
                Not to hijack, but what are your experiences/opinions on the Thinline Sheepskin half pad? A clinician suggested I use a sheepskin so that there was more "cushion" between my horse's back and the saddle.

                Her thought was that the cushion and loft gave more room for the horse to "lift" his back. My saddle fits quite well using just a plain, thin saddle pad and a Thinline halfpad (not sheepskin). I'm afraid using sheepskin will alter the fit and make it tighter through the shoulder/wither area (though I could adjust the flocking some to accomodate...just not sure it's really worth it).
                A poorly fitted saddle hampers both horse and rider.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mtngirl View Post
                  Not to hijack, but what are your experiences/opinions on the Thinline Sheepskin half pad? A clinician suggested I use a sheepskin so that there was more "cushion" between my horse's back and the saddle.

                  Her thought was that the cushion and loft gave more room for the horse to "lift" his back. My saddle fits quite well using just a plain, thin saddle pad and a Thinline halfpad (not sheepskin). I'm afraid using sheepskin will alter the fit and make it tighter through the shoulder/wither area (though I could adjust the flocking some to accomodate...just not sure it's really worth it).
                  If you squeeze more bulk between the saddle and your horse's back, there will only be less room for the back.
                  I love my quilted Mattes, in theory. In reality, it's no substitute for good saddle fitting. Mostly I've just pissed the horses off by using the Mattes. When the tree isn't right, the tree just isn't right.
                  "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer


                  • #10
                    I love my Trifecta, although I dont use it with shims.


                    • #11
                      My Thinline saved my sanity....

                      I went through a bit of a saddlefit nightmare last year - I kept buying saddles that fit my filly only to have her outgrow them in a month or two. I don't recommend any type of padding to be used as a long term solution for saddlefit - but this pad was able to hold me over between fittings. It is also useful for when new horses come into my barn that I don't have a saddle for yet.

                      My Thinline pad is the Saddle-Fit-For-Life one from Schleese though. My only complaint is that I wish it came in black - the white is too hard to keep clean.
                      Be firm, fair, kind, clear, consistent, patient, and, above all else, maintain a sense of humour.