I just began leasing an older Appaloosa gelding. He's 20, with very high withers.
His owner gave me this thick, stiff pad with inserts to put under my saddle. She tries to protect his back and displace weight. The pad fit badly under my saddle and I let the owner know. Evan though the saddle fits well she wants me to get something. I am now confused whether I should get a gel pad, a good wool pad, a thin line half-pad, or something else.
I would greatly appreciate peoples' experiences. I have done some research, but there doesn't seem to be a definite answer on what is best.
If I understand what you are saying, your saddle fits this horse well, right? So I would go w/a pad that compliments that fit, along w/having a very good wither clearance. I use, sell & LOVE the 5 Stars, since they have the highest amount of virgin wool (makes them the softest, along w/having the highest compression & concussion rating), plus they have the most wither/shoulder room w/their "French contour". If I can help you any, pls let me know.
First off what discipline do you ride? That will help you get the answers you're looking for.
Second, there is such a thing as over padding.. which can be just as bad.
High withered horses, IMOP, should have contoured pads. Also you should think about a half pad with shims. They're expensive as hell so I would see if the owner will go 60/40 or 50/50 with you on one. Or find a used one.. but with shims.
Also get a saddle fitter's opinion. Sometimes we think we're on the right track but are truly far off.
Best of luck.
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