Wither pad, riser pad, or half pad? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-31-2013, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
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Wither pad, riser pad, or half pad?

I have an older Passier Hannover dressage saddle, medium wide (although supposedly they run narrow), that I have begun to take lessons with. I hop between different horses, gaited and non gaited, so far with very little issue. It is a good saddle, well balanced, and I have never really needed more than one blanket (and sometimes a thinline) with it. However, recently Ive been lessoning on this really warmbloody built QH with it, and the saddle marks left behind arent entirely even. Along the spine is fine, no big pocket marks or anything unusual. However, the front of the saddle leaves a heavier sweat mark straight down from the wither by the shoulder under the saddle flaps (not directly on the wither, but below it just behind the shoulder blades). Now, I would assume this horse, with as much lessoning as he does, has simply grown quite wide with new muscle, possibly to wide for my saddle. Hes not sore, and he willingly lifts his back and collects under me.

My question is, aside from the obvious 'use a different saddle', would a wither pad, riser pad, or maybe even a simple normal half pad on top of my usual thin square dressage pad lift the saddle up and give him more shoulder space under my saddle? It was suggested to me to possibly use wedges to lift the saddle, I havent tried it yet. I was curious though as to others thoughts on the subject, if lifting with a thicker pad to make the saddle sit higher might solve the issue, or using riser pads/wedges to lift the front of the saddle is a viable option to.

I can use my instructors saddle, or the horses owners saddle, which both fit no problem (although may not fit me so well), so its not the end of the world if there isnt a fix for my saddle. Im just rattling thoughts around my brain from when I was last through the tack shop. I need to go back to pick up a new girth, so was hoping for some insight towards if I want to purchase a new pad while I am there.

Thank you for reading and any suggestions,


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post #2 of 6 Old 01-31-2013, 10:37 PM
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It's been my experience that narrow is narrow and more padding = more narrow.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-31-2013, 10:53 PM
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No amount of padding is going to make the saddle fit.
If your shoe is too tight, do you think wearing thick hiking socks will make it feel better?

Why do you need to use your own saddle on lesson horses? Does this horse not have a saddle fitted to it? I would not be riding this horse in your saddle unless you feel like spending the money on getting it fitted specifically to him.
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-31-2013, 11:57 PM
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Hmmm a medium wide dressage saddle on a QH....especially a wide shouldered one will just be too tight with not enough flare through the gullet.....trust me, my QH has very wide shoulders, but not as wide as some, and it took some hunting to find a reining saddle to fit him, it has Full QH bars.....probably the equivalent to an extra wide English tree......although my English saddle sizing skills have got a bit rusty.....not pad or riser will fix it.
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-01-2013, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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He is one of the boarders horses being used in the lesson progam, and has gained quite a bit of muscle through the amount of increased riding, and change in sport. Students have a choice of using the trainers saddle or their own saddles, although only a couple of us have our own saddles. If there is obvious ill fitting, the saddle wont be used. My trainers saddle has adjustable gullets. His owner has western and english saddles for him, but they are not necessarily for student use. He is not standard QH in build, not bulky and super wide like a halter bred would be. He is crossed performance and halter lines and is very Appendixy.

My saddle seems to fit his back fine, I actually didnt think the gullet was to narrow for his withers. It is just behind the shoulders that seem to be the issue. If lifting it with a thicker half pad or riser pad doesnt lift the flaps higher, so that the wider section of flap sits higher on a narrower section of his back, okay. I know little about actual saddle fitting other than to look for uneven sweat marks and the obvious to big or to small, which is why I ask. I dont know the nuances of it and how much 'fixing' can be done.

Think of it not as a failure but as a success in how not to do it.

Don't look in a horses mouth for a gift.

Last edited by Joidigm; 02-01-2013 at 03:03 AM.
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-01-2013, 05:08 AM
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Adding a pad won't make the flaps higher, just like it won't make your tight shoe looser.
Tightness along the shoulders will cause just as much soreness as illfitting over the back. In fact I'd almost rather have a saddle illfitting over the back than the shoulders, as you are essentially clamping the shoulders down, then when riding asking the horse to loosen the shoulders - the poor horse physically can't move them, then gets in trouble for being 'naughty'.

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