Tuesday, September 9, 2008

To Pad Or Not To Pad

Hi all, I just wanted to drop a quick post about my saddle pads since I received some very thoughtful and good suggestions in my last post when I mentioned my saddles no longer fit.

I am a big believer in getting a saddle to fit as closely as possible without padding, but pads are really useful to assuage a situation like a changing back between fittings. Here is the situation on my two saddles.

My jumping saddle was custom made for Brego, so it used to fit perfectly. I used a plain, quilted jumping pad under it with great success. Over time, however, I noticed that Brego was a prolific sweater and after a big workout, I could literally wring out the pad. The moisture was seeping into the underside panels of my saddle and molding the leather. My saddle was getting ruined, and I couldn't keep up with cleaning it after ever ride. So I ordered a Thinline pad which acts as a moisture barrier. It sits neatly under my saddle, with very little outline, and adds virtually no bulk. It has worked really well. Now, however, that the saddle is too big, I have started using my Mattes pad under the jumping saddle in lieu of the thinline to bring up the pommel. This has alleviated my "issues", made Brego more comfortable, and protected the saddle. Once the saddle fitter fixes the saddle, I am going to go back to the thinline and plain jumping pad.

As for my dressage saddle, it was purchased used. I had my saddler look at the tracings of the original horse and see how closely they matched Brego. They were very close so I bought the saddle. However, I always ride with my Mattes pad under my dressage because the saddle is a fraction too big. Now that Brego has lost the weight, even the Mattes pad cannot lift the pommel enough and I am still having "personal issues". So the saddle fitter will adjust the dressage saddle to work with the Mattes pad again. The Mattes pad does a fine job as a moisture barrier as well, so I have no need for the thinline and my dressage saddle stays nice and dry.

So that's the current set up. Everyone who recommended a lift pad were spot on, and it is working for one of my saddles. The other saddle will have to wait until it is properly fitted, hopefully in a couple of days. What a brilliant readership I have!!


Anonymous said...

I understand completely not wanting to have to put a bunch of bs between your horse and saddle. Klein's back did the same thing. I got home from the desert and she was quite the butterball. While I was gone she wasn't touched. I didn't want ANYONE to do ANYTHING with her. So...of course after being back in work that's when the fit started to change and I had the same problem. Pommel went down, and I could feel myself sliding forward in the saddle. I sent pics to a saddle fitter (again this is something that we don't have here unless they fly in from the mainland) and they said "Yes the pommel looks low but if it doesn't bother your horse..." Well, it never did as far as I could tell. She never gave me a problem, her back has never ever been sore, nothing. I tried one riser pad that I hated and she hated so I decided let it be until I buy her the Duett Presto (was gonna hold off till she is a little older and done growing a little more). Besides, I don't care if I'm a little uncomfortable, it's about her. Then I tried that Fleeceworks pad and was like WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE! It made such a huge difference. Makes me feel much happier about saddle fit. The other pad I tried made me feel like I was balancing on a teeter totter. The difference price makes I guess huh?

Daun said...

It is *mostly* about Brego's comfort, but I really pushed the boundaries of my own comfort with this latest forward saddle thing. So even though Brego was not complaining, I was getting really sore.

Plus, I check his back and it looked like it was not as built up behind the withers where the new pressure points were. And I was getting big dry spots under the panel. Now with the Mattes pad, all wet and even and he seems better.

The first saddle I had for him was so small, and I was so ignorant, that after three weeks, he complained LOUDLY. Poor guy. I will never do that to him again, so I go custom where I can.

Man, you served in the desert??? Now you're MY hero, not the other way around. Seriously, if you are ever within 500 miles of me, I will buy you a beer. Total freakin' hero.

Maybe Mae said...

This is kind of a belated comment, but that's so awesome you are buying a farm and can keep Brego on the property!! Please provide us with plenty of updates. So is there a possibility you can use one of the indoor rings, or will Brego get to put on his snowsuit and make snow angels this winter? :)

Elaine Lockhead said...

Thank you for your blog information! I thought you might want to know about our shimming options with all our sheepskin and cotton pads. With any comfort pad you can add and remove shims as needed. For instance, with our sheepskin half pad you have the ultra ThinLine on top of the pad and it comes with a pocket where you can place shims to give you a bit more lift when you need it. Many riders use this system as their horses change, gain or lose weight. This way you can keep using the same pad and just shim when you need it. This system is designed to elimiate the need for a tack trunk full of pads! ThinLine shims are available for $30.00 and allow you the freedom to keep you saddle fitting right between saddle fit visits. Feel free to call or email us with any questions. ThinLine Inc.

dp said...

I'm a huge fan on my Wintec easy-change gullet saddles for this reason. Probably not the best option at your level, but perfect for the average-Jane horse owner like me who wants to keep her horses comfortable without undue expense. I've change Tonka's gullet twice in 8 months!

allhorsestuff said...

Love all the keen comments too!
I love mattes correction pad for my mare that has really filled out lately...I took the shims out and put in tiny Ultra "thinline" incerts.
I also LOVE my "Engle" sheepskin saddle pad with the 'Ultra Thinline pad neatly tucked under it..all wet evenly after every ride..trails or Dressage!

PlaysWithPercherons (Tina) said...

I'm reading a book by Joyce Harman called "The Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit Book". Very very interesting, highly recommended. It is making me feel very sorry for the horses I owned as a teen, and the multiple lesson horses I've known!