Fleece or Gel? Advice on half-pads... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 11-08-2008, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Fleece or Gel? Advice on half-pads...

Now that I have a saddle that I think actually fits, I'm pondering pads. I'm currently borrowing a gel pad--and hearing rumors about older gel pads causing back problems--which seems to be working OK. But when it comes to buying a new one, I'd love to hear opinions on what works best. Fleece or gel--they're pricey for my budget. My nine year old TB is sensitive about girthing and even brushing around the saddle area. (I'm looking into some expert advice on massage, etc.) Any opinions about fleece vs gel?
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post #2 of 19 Old 11-08-2008, 10:07 PM
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I haven't ever used a gel pad, but I just think of all the gel rushing away from the heaviest point--what good is that? I'd go with fleece where all the padding just stays put.

But let's hear from some gel pad users...
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post #3 of 19 Old 11-08-2008, 11:04 PM
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I wouldn't use either as I don't really see a need for a half pad if the saddle fits. If she is touchy when you girth or brush her, she probably has back pain. Are you SURE the saddle fits? Are you riding her beyond her fitness? Are you light in the saddle? Does she have pain elsewhere (ex: if she's lame she might be using her muscles differently and consequently adding strain to her back.) Does she have a skin condition? There are a lot of reasons horses are touchy in that area - most commonly it's saddle fit.
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post #4 of 19 Old 11-08-2008, 11:45 PM
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I would rule out some problems first, like if he is in pain for some reason, or anything. :) But for a half-pad, I'd choose fleece.

Ride more, worry less.
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post #5 of 19 Old 11-09-2008, 01:50 AM
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If a saddle is fitting correctly, then the only thing a saddle pad should be used for is keeping the saddle clean and absorbing sweat. You said the saddle fits well, so why tamper with that correct fit by stuffing more under it?
I personally use a half pad because my gelding is quite underweight still and has a very protruding spine and wither, so I want to add an extra layer of comfort until he's developed the muscle and gotten enough fat that I don't feel the need for it anymore.. however my saddle does fit correctly, and as soon as I can do away with the half pad I will.
I guess my question is why do you want a half pad?
Beaureba made some good points, I would consider her post too.
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post #6 of 19 Old 11-09-2008, 01:51 AM
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Behind the Bit: What to look for in a saddle pad
This is an excellent article! It really helped me decide what material to choose. Although it is a blog, it offers evidence from reputable sources such as Horse Journal.
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post #7 of 19 Old 11-09-2008, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. I'm so glad I found this forum! My reasoning for using a half pad is about cushioning--if the saddle were strapped to my back, I think it would feel more comfortable with a comfy pad underneath...weight-distribution... But I'm definitely trying to understand the reason behind Mojo's obvious sensitivity in the back area. Opinions here about the saddle all seem to think it is a good fit--plenty of clearance in the gullet, evan sweat pattern on the pad, etc--wish I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt! I'm light in weight and have a decent seat, so I don't think that is it. He's ridden lightly to moderately about four times a week. I'm leaning towards a fleece pad--maybe I can borrow to try it out first... Not to highjack my own thread, but any suggestions on how to truly know what is causing the sensitive back and sides? (No problems with soundness.)

Last edited by mojo7777; 11-09-2008 at 05:25 PM.
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post #8 of 19 Old 11-09-2008, 05:49 PM
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I was just going to say about if your saddle fits you don't need a half pad, get a full one but not too thick since that can also effect fit
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post #9 of 19 Old 11-09-2008, 06:35 PM
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Your horse shouldn't have much discomfort unless he is sore from something else. If you are a decent rider with a good seat your horse probably doesn't require as much cushioning as you think! Saddles are designed to distribute the weight evenly across his back.
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post #10 of 19 Old 11-10-2008, 12:09 AM
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I think the half pads are great for comfort. In some disciplines adding a half pad is not the ideal thing to do (mainly thinking dressage where movement is so important and the aids needs to get thru as clearly and easily as possible), but in most disciplines I would say go for it.

With both my horses, I will have to evaluate the way the saddles I have fit, but I already know it's very likely I will use a half pad.

I think it's a matter of preference.
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