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Alternative to Mattes Pad?

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  • Alternative to Mattes Pad?

    I'm looking for a less expensive alternative to a shimmable Mattes pad. I have the Thinline shimmable Saddle-Fit-For-Life pad without sheepskin, but think I need to narrow the tree a bit by adding a bit more thickness. The saddle I'm currently using is a 31cm tree which initially fit when I bought it used. It is now slightly wide and wants to ride a bit forward onto her shoulders. I think a thicker pad with cush and shims may be in order at this point in her development. I want to keep her comfortable as she changes. I love my Thinline, but think a sheepskin pad would fill the bill right now. The one thing I don't like about the thicker pads though is that the bottomm edge seems a bit thick. I imagine that could cause some discomfort. Would LOVE to have the full square pad w/sheepskin, but $$$ yikes!

  • #2
    Never used or seen one myself, but on a thread on a different forum, these pads were mentioned with good comments.



    • #3
      Keep checking eBay as I got my Mattes pads brand new at a lot less than retail. Just make sure to ask the seller if it is a platinum or gold as you want the platinum. Good luck.


      • #4
        why not just have the saddler out to adjust the flocking? If I'm reading your post correctly, it once fit, and now doesnt. THe tree hasn't miraculously spread, and unless your horse has been out of work or ridden wrong (or has some muscle wasting health issue) then it's probably just that the flocking has tamped down with time.
        The should be able to adjust things for you. Also have them install a front billet that's not a point billet. these in my experience mash down the front of the saddle faster. I went from flocking adjustments every 3-4 months, to once a year when we added the billet.
        chaque pas est fait ensemble


        • Original Poster

          Petstore, My horse was heavier when I purchased the saddle and my saddle fitter cannot come right away. I can probably use 2 shims on each side instead of one in my Thinline pad. The flocking is the same as when I bought the saddle. It fit with a shim in each side until my horse dropped some weight. Her weight is ideal now (Topline A+, Body condition score 5 1/2), but the saddle is a tad wide. This particular bloodline is extremely hard to fit. I just need to buy time until my custom saddle arrive in another month or so. Ii plan to ask my fitter about adding another billet, but there is no webbing to attach it to. My horse is using herself and I ride her correctly so that is not the issue. I just was feeding her too well.


          • #6
            I bought the Thinline Sheepskin Comfort half pad with shims. I had just a minor saddle fitting issue that my princess and the pea mare started to resent. It all started 2 days before a show, of course, during the heaviest part of her show season. I did not have any way to get a saddle fitting done quickly, I tried. The Mattes pad, gel pad, other fleece pad I begged and borrowed up had no positive effect.

            She (an UL eventer) scored a 38 that weekend (roughly a 61%). Well mannered but unhappy.

            We got the pad, schooled her in it for a week with amazing results and had another show.

            Won her division scoring a 24.1 in dressage(76+%)

            I have never been a believer in additions to a well fit saddle. However, having this mare sail through training roadblocks we had be against for months... I love that dang pad!! I have used it on others without the shimming and also felt lovely squishy backs develop more quickly on each horse. I want 3 more of these things! I want to be a thinline spokesperson I love that thing so much.


            • #7
              I've been using the Fleeceworks Perfect Balance pad. It has pockets for front insert only, back insert only, or full insert. The inserts that go with the pad are memory foam, and available in a thinner/softer or a thicker/firmer foam, depending on how much extra padding or lift you need. I've been using the full insert, and my horses seem to love having a layer of memory foam between their backs and the saddle. I got the same sort of improvement Denali did, except I wasn't in the show ring, but all of the sudden when I started using it the movement got freer and things that were hard got much easier. My saddle was professionally fit about a month ago, so this pad, despite looking thick, squishes down thin enough that it's not doing much to alter saddle fit. Having a pad just in front would change that though. Or, now that I've seen my horses improve, I'd be tempted to try the full memory foam pad and make some felt shims and put them in the front pocket if I needed that sort of adjustment. The downside is that this pad is only a touch less expensive than the Mattes pad, and atleast when I bought it, only came with the front inserts (which at the time, was what I wanted, and might be what you need).

              Our local tack is now carrying a type of half pad called a Matrix pad, and it comes in 3 different kinds of sheepskin (real for $$$, or fake for $) and has 3 different types of inserts, they are memory foam but vary in thickness and firmness. They do fill the whole pad, but the system look really cool and you could easily add a few pieces of felt to the front if needed. Here's what they look like: http://tackculture.com/2011/10/12/%E...pact%E2%80%9D/ I haven't used it, but it's a little more budget friendly and looks like a good system, I'd love to hear if anyone's tried it!

              There is another thread I saw just recently where a lot of people recommend an Ecogold half pad. We don't have those locally and I don't know if they'd be shimmable or not, but everyone seemed to have really good results with them, might be worth looking up!
              Gallant Gesture "Liam" 1995 chestnut ottb gelding
              Mr. Painter "Remy" 2006 chestnut ottb gelding
              My Training Blog: www.dressagefundamentals.com


              • #8
                Anyone tried the matrix?

                Just curious, am looking for a pad and saw them on dressageextensions.com...
                Dressage, riding, sport horse blog
                Unique browbands for dressage and hunter riders


                • #9
                  I needed to shim my current half pad but didnt want to buy a Mattes pad. I bought some fabric (you can get cheap fabric pieces in the "end of the roll" box at your local fabric store) and sewed pockets into my pad. You can buy the shims for $10 or so and then sew in pockets. I sewed them by hand so the stitch only went through the upper fabric of the pad, not the sheepskin.


                  • #10
                    I did something similar except I skipped the pockets and just stiched the shims directly to the half pad


                    • #11
                      Cottage craft are nice and like $80, i love the christ ones too but they are$ 180ish

                      i own the cottage craft one.

                      Beyond the Ring-para dressage, training, coaching

                      Proud Team Four Star Minion! Renegade for Life!


                      • #12
                        just get more shims

                        You don't actually need a shimmable pad to use shims. I use a sheepskin half-pad (non-shimmable) and a shim on my horse's left side, in that hollow behind the shoulder. It stays put just fine.

                        Why don't you just purchase more thinline shims (they are sold separately) and put them between your half-pad and the saddle? That is the least expensive and most flexible option.

                        FWIW, most young horses lose baby fat around the withers as they get into real work. Converting fat to muscle makes horses (and people) lean long before it makes you bulky.
                        "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince