Sheepskin VS. Gel Pad - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 13 Old 12-16-2012, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Sheepskin VS. Gel Pad

I was told by a trainer to get a gel insert for my quarterhorse\thoroughbred mare. She also said something about a cashel wedge pad. I have used all three and I really like the sheepskin. The look and support it gives. I know the gel insert is also a shock absorber, but what is the difference? What do you guys think I should get? I just bought a Jeffries Elite close contact jumping saddle, and I need more support. I also use a multi purpose cotton pad underneath it all. I'm just curious to see what you jumpers use. My mare is 12 and has slight back sensitivity. Not bad at all though. I would just use it for jumping about twice a week. Thanks!
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-17-2012, 06:38 AM
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If the saddle fits I'd look into Thinline instead. It doesn't interfere with the fit (like those thicker pads do) and protects the back of the horse (which is great for those sensitive backs). Yes, it's not cheap, but it worth it (and you can always look into used one).

As for gel pads I'm not fan of them because that gel moves around and don't always fill the deep. I'd rather go with sheepskin if you are set on those 2 options only.

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post #3 of 13 Old 12-17-2012, 08:04 AM
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Id say get a saddle that fits if this is going to be a long term horse. ANY back sensitivity is too much.
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-17-2012, 12:30 PM
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I'd guess the sheepskin would be better for shock absorption than the gel.

The Horse had an article about a study done in Austria comparing gel, leather, foam, and reindeer fur pads. Only the reindeer fur pad significantly decreased the force on the horse's back. I've never heard of a reindeer fur pad (I guess they're common in Austria?), but from google image searches, it looks pretty similar to sheepskin.

Thinline is also a good choice, and is what I got for use under my saddle when my saddle fitter recommended something additional for shock absorption. Thinline occasionally sells their "slightly irregular" pads on eBay for about 1/2 price- I got two from them last time they had a bunch up, and I couldn't really tell anything was "wrong" with it except that the white one was cut slightly smaller than the black one
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-17-2012, 01:55 PM
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If your trainer suggested a gel pad I suspect your saddle doesn't fit too well - a common feature of CC saddles. The problem with gel (or any non-graduated pad for that matter) is that it lifts the saddle evenly off the horse's back. And if you've got a problem with the saddle dropping in front (most common) a pad will give extra clearance but doesn't solve the problem of the saddle's balance ie. It'll still be too low in front.

But the Jefferies Elite - lovely saddle, BTW - has a flocked panel, so I'd be inclined to get a decent saddler look at it before you pack it up with extra padding and lose the close-contact feel. You'll always do better with a correctly adjusted panel and just a thin pad than loads of material between horse and saddle :)

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post #6 of 13 Old 12-23-2012, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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I had my saddle looked at by a professional saddle fitter, and she made adjustments to the saddle. (Added more flocking to certain areas), so the saddle fits well, but I think I will talk to her and ask what would be better. She works at the Equestrian Center I board at. When I tested the saddle before I bought it she let me use her sheepskin half pad and it was very comfortable, and my horses' back seemed less tense. It shouldn't be tense anyway, but she seemed to have a more comfortable ride. My mare doesn't have back issues, she's 12 years old, she just needs a little bit of padding, like all horses do. :) Thank you!
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-23-2012, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Now that I had a chiropractor come out he said she has no back sensitivity, she just needs more support when jumping to be comfortable. She was previously owned by a barrel racer who was 11 years old, and she didn't have a well fit saddle, so my horse needs a little bit more cushioning. My saddle was fit and adjusted by a professional saddle fitter, and she made the saddle fit perfectly. I am going to talk to her today and see what she says will be best. Thank you!
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-23-2012, 07:21 PM
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I use a Fleeceworks Traditional Wither Relief Half Pad. It's expensive, $160 but I love it. I used to just use a contour pad and my Arab lost some weight last summer and got a little backsore. I've been using the Fleecworks pad along with a baby pad and I haven't had a problem since =]
I attached a picture of the pad, and what it looks like on my horse. It's sheepskin, and underneath is all sheepskin, too.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg FWWITH.jpg (6.2 KB, 85 views)
File Type: jpg imagine49.jpg (62.3 KB, 87 views)
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-24-2012, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myhorseMia View Post
saddle was fit and adjusted by a professional saddle fitter, and she made the saddle fit perfectly.
Then I would NOT put any bulky half-pad, because it'll interfere wit the fit.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-24-2012, 12:19 PM
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if the saddle fit is correct, it wont be once you put a bulky pad like that underneath it. If I were you I would look into a thinline pad. Im actually selling one if you are interested. I can't use it anymore because my horse likes her saddle fit to be extremely narrow and im not supposed to put anything extra, even something that thin, under it. You can PM me if you are interested.

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