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Best half pad? A little help.

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  • Best half pad? A little help.

    I've scoured the web & still can't figure out the bet half pad for my situation:
    I am leasing a 20 year old horse. We are just starting dressage & he needs some overall cushion & lift in the back. Currently I have a regular pad with built in gel pads & a folded up blanket to lift the rear. I want a half pad that will give him cushion/comfort & allow me to shim it until he builds up his muscle in the rear. I also want a pad that I can use in the future with other horses. I also like the idea of a baby pad under the half pad too for fun colors & to keep the half pad lasting longer.
    I'm willing to pay what is needed for the right product.
    Do I go with a mattes sheepskin correction pad or thinline tribeca or what about the Lemieux half pads that are a fraction of the cost & seem like the expensive Mattes pad? I do want the front & rear trim but not sure on the underside sheepskin. I realize you get what you pay for & want to buy the right one.
    I'm a novice & any help is greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by Jlkeiser70; May. 23, 2013, 05:59 PM. Reason: Spelling error

  • #2
    I very much like the Pro Lite pads. The shock absorbing material is wonderfully soft and shock absorbing, but also high density enough to actually lift a saddle rather than just smooshing flat.

    They are available with a wide variety of shimming options, the most flexible one of which is one that allows you to put different shims in the front, middle and back.

    I think it is just over $100 so not a huge expense.

    You can get one from Kate at Dutchess Bridle Saddle.
    The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
    Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
    The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


    • #3
      Mattes pad. Yes, it will cost you $$$ up front but totally worth it. One of mine is going on 13 years of age and does not look any worse for wear. Honest. I just toss it in the washing machine occasionally with a little bit of that melp sheepskin wash, in the dryer on low heat and presto - good as new.

      These guys sometimes have great prices on the mattes pads, even if their website is a bit difficult to decipher:


      I personally am not a fan of the 'artifical' halfpads. In my opinion they hold a bit too much heat to the horse's back for my comfort. Only exception I've seen to this are the ecogold pad, which seemed to be okay. The thinline I tried just created a sweaty mess on a horse that is not normally sweaty. That being said, my dressage coach loves her built in thinline pad and swears by it, so really to each their own.


      • #4
        Another vote for the Mattes, tho this is the one I got (in black):


        It comes with all the shims you'll need (I'm currently using just the pad w/out shims). I prefer the non-floofy version for the tidy look and easy care. It was a good move since my current horse doesn't like sheepskin of any kind.


        • #5
          Ogilvy pads are great.
          Forgive me, between French, English, and German, I'm sometimes completly lost


          • #6
            The Mattes pads are far and away the best half pads on the market, IMO. I've used several other brands, and none even compare. The main downside is the cost, but they last so long that I feel like I get more for my money in the end with the Mattes.
            "Sometimes the fear won't go away... so you just have to do it afraid."

            Trolls be trollin'! -DH


            • #7
              There really is no "best" It depends on you and your horse. Sophie and I prefer Thinline
              I wasn't always a Smurf
              Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
              "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
              The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


              • #8
                For saddle fit, I second the Prolite Pad, specifically the triple pocket one. More adjustability and fit options than the two below.

                Second choice would be a Thinline. You can get front, middle, and rear shims in two different thicknesses. Sheepskin underneath depends on how wide your saddle is. It adds bulk.

                Third, I'd go with Mattes. Front and rear shims only unless you cut the seam and make your own middle shims. Sheepskin quality is better than Thinline though. I do like using the Mattes full sheepskin with no pad underneath to get full benefits.

                I've used them all, I like them all, that's just how I'd rank them if given a choice


                • #9
                  When considering the multi-pocket pads, do look at the possible pressure point from the seams & shim edges.

                  Thinline does offer trial pads & a customer satisfaction policy BUT they also do not recommend washing any of their sheepskin, so you might want to use a separate sheepskin with the cotton fit pad (assuming it's still available). They regularly have "seconds" but these are no return.

                  Mattes are outstanding on the use & use & still look great, you can order direct (choosing various options) & US Shipping is a pathetic $7 (Canada is strangely MUCH more )

                  Prolite's will be rather warmer than the Mattes (despite the much acclaimed perforated air holes )

                  Try to find pads to borrow or demo, each company offers different shims & pocket configurations.


                  • #10
                    Mattes, but most likely your saddle is too narrow
                    chaque pas est fait ensemble


                    • Original Poster

                      A little clarification: my saddle fits fine. I want a half pad for 2 reasons:
                      1- I need some rear lift as he has been living the life of a semi-retired please horse and hasn't been fully engaging his rear end. With us staring dressage he will eventually.
                      2- I'd like something I can use with colorful baby/saddle pads that will provide some cushion.
                      I want a half pad that is versatile as this isn't my forever horse just a lease.
                      I hope this helps me to get some better responses to what is the best fit for my situation.
                      Thanks again for all the feedback.


                      • #12
                        I would look at the pocket pads and choose the one that matched my price point. They will be the most adjustable in the future. Definitely get the real sheepskin.

                        I'm trying to remember the brand of the one I have... will have to go and look at it, it's a nice pad from a company that makes corrector-type pads. Haven't had to bring it out since I changed saddles!

                        edited to add: The half pad will change the fit of your saddle ever so slightly, so get a thin baby pad if it will improve clearance.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jlkeiser70 View Post
                          I want a half pad that is versatile as this isn't my forever horse just a lease.
                          I hope this helps me to get some better responses to what is the best fit for my situation.
                          I read most of the responses as answering exactly that concern ...
                          No one can predict which pad your (lease) horse will prefer.
                          No one can predict which pad you will prefer.
                          No one can predict which saddle fitters pad will work best for this particular situation when you've not provided any photos of the horse's topline, video of the horse's movement with & without the saddle, a comprehensive series of photos of the saddle fit on the horse ...


                          • #14
                            I would say Mattes pad, I love mine, it has done great at adding cushion for my mare. I don't think I will ever go back to riding with out one. Horses backs are always changing shape.
                            Also my saddle fitter suggested a ChrisT sheepskin pad I haven't used one, but I think they run a little cheaper then the Mattes.


                            • #15
                              Many of these half pads are very versatile. If you don't think the suggestions you've gotten satisfy your question, you may need to borrow and/or try out a variety. My trainer has a stack of different types, just like she's got a couple of boxes of bits. Much of "the best" means "what feels right to me."

                              I've used mine with at least three different saddles on ... I think about 5 different horses in all four seasons, but mostly hot, humid weather. That's versatile enough for me.


                              • #16
                                I am going to vote against the mattes pad. when i was younger i used and actual sheep skin as a pad, and it worked very well, but i have discovered that the mattes and in fact any sheep skin type pad, when placed between the saddle and a pad, ( ie , were the wool is not directly on the skin) can compress unevenly and form nasty pressure points. the wool shifts and packs as the rider and the horses back move, wadding up. ( think of the lining of your protective pad for yoru period wadding up when you are riding, uncomfortable? well then that is what the horse is getting from a mattes pad).

                                I do like the pro lite pad, there is less shifting of material.

                                i believe if you are going to use a mattes or wool pad, you have to put it on the skin, directly, not above a pad, ( and very few people do)

                                find a pad with density foam, or pro lite or one of those materials that does not shift when your slide your hand over it.


                                • #17
                                  Can't speak highly enough about Ogilvy pads! Definitely check them out. Lots of cushion and my horse is much more free in her back using that vs. regular sheepskin halfpad.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Have you ordered from Mattes directly? Just curious as it is a lot less expensive and seems almost to good to be true. Thanks for the link too.