Does a lift front wither relief pad really work?

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Does a lift front wither relief pad really work?

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    04-26-2013, 09:00 PM
Does a lift front wither relief pad really work?

Question. How effective have you found wither relief pads with front lifts to be? I just bought a used Toulose Dressage saddle. It fits my TB fantastic except for a slight gap between the top of his shoulder and the gullet. It causes mild sinking when I ride him. I need to get the saddle reflocked but for now, I'm considering using a wither relief pad with a lift in the front. Thoughts?
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    04-26-2013, 10:08 PM
I've used the Wintec one. It worked OK for me. This is how I do it now with my Aussie-style saddle, but I can't imagine doing this with an English one...

    04-27-2013, 11:29 AM
They're fine as a temporary measure, although limited in terms of the amount of levelling you can achieve. It depends on how much of a hollow there is behind the horse's shoulder. Prolite do an adjustable pad which can be shimmed, and although it's not the cheapest option that design can be really useful if you're likely to need a pad over an extended period, or regularly have horses with poor trapezius conformation (eg. If you re-home racehorses or similar).

The trick to fitting riser pads is not to pull them forward over the back of the shoulderblade (as you would with a numnah) but sit them flush with the front of the saddle panel, or even just behind it in some cases. That way you don't get extra pressure on the back edge of the scapula, or lift the panel away from the horse until you get on - not really what you want.

Best of luck :)
bsms likes this.
    04-27-2013, 11:50 AM
Green Broke
I use a bio fit western pad with the lifts for my TB but not sure about english.
aforred likes this.
    04-27-2013, 12:05 PM
Have never used a wither relief pad, but I find that high-quality saddle pads with shock absorption and all the extra features really help a horse. I was skeptical because I figured they're just saddle pads, but using a Mattes pad has helped my horse tremendously.
    04-27-2013, 12:16 PM
Originally Posted by bsms    
I've used the Wintec one. It worked OK for me. This is how I do it now with my Aussie-style saddle, but I can't imagine doing this with an English one...

Nice one - that's a wither pad!

We used them all the time, years ago. I tend to suggest customers use a folded hand towel as a temporary measure - the 'hand towel' size we have in the UK is about right once it's folded up.

If you don't mind a suggestion, yours looks a tad far forward unless it's for a specific reason like it's prone to slipping back. Otherwise you'd get away with it behind the shoulder, supporting the front arch. Sometimes being on the back edge of the shoulder it can put extra pressure there, just where you don't want it :)
    04-27-2013, 12:32 PM
It is forward. The saddle is placed further back. If the front of the saddle was even with the front of my black blanket, it would be resting on her shoulder. I used to place the saddle just behind the shoulder, then walk Mia around in figure 8s and let the saddle settle, then girth it up. Now I'm used to where the saddle goes, and have the blankets sticking out in front.

Do you think it would work better to have the black blanket further back, more to where the front of the saddle will go? It certainly would be easy enough to try it! In fact, I will in a few hours, just to see how it goes.

BTW - although I wouldn't recommend it as a permanent measure, it has become one for Mia. The Aussie-style saddle has the right angles, but is a little too wide horizontally. Mia has a very bony top to her withers, and she seems to prefer this saddle with the extra blanket (a wool pony blanket) to using my English saddle which fits her better.
unclearthur likes this.
    04-27-2013, 04:18 PM
Well, tried it...and darned if unclearthur ain't right! Here are some pictures. I moved it maybe an inch forward after this:

Here is how it looked before mounting. I previously had the black blanket sticking out a few inches:

For heading straight down the road, not much difference. However, one of the things we practiced in the arena was tight turns - tight for Mia, who is a bit of a klutz -and cantering in the arena. She did noticeably better in the tight turns, and her cantering moved more freely. We've been doing some work on cantering, but we did more laps without stopping today, and she seemed to use her back more aggressively. At one point, she actually accelerated into a gallop, which my small arena isn't big enough for - but that indicates to me that she felt better while stretching out.

So overall: Excellent tip! I thank you, and more importantly, I think Mia thanks you, unclearthur! Or she would, if she didn't have her mouth full of hay right now!

Sorry for hijacking the thread a bit.
Skyseternalangel likes this.
    04-27-2013, 06:32 PM
Glad it was some help :)
    04-27-2013, 09:42 PM
Thanks for the tips on where to place the pad. It should do the trick. I went with the Wintec one. I also spoke to a saddle fitter at one of the major tack shops. There is only about 1/4 of an inch gap between the highest point on the gullet and the side of his wither. The fitter said she could come out and look at if for $225 but it would be unlikely that she could flock it to fit him correctly. I've fit my share of saddles to horses over the years and this sounds like bull crap to me. 1/4 of an inch isn't much and I can't see how reflocking the saddle would be ineffective. I'm going to call another saddle fitter that I've gotten a lot of recommendations on and see what she says. I don't think reflocking it to fit better is unreasonable?

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