Opinions on Shims? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-04-2020, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Opinions on Shims?

The horse I'm leasing is a bit annoying to fit (Talking Western Saddles here), but someone gave be a free saddle that was pretty darn close. It fits nearly perfectly with this smartpak correct fit pad:
95569666_702953333775155_7820328567689969664_n.jpg
However, it's just a loaner. On my poor-college-student budget, I would kinda like to avoid spending the money on a new one ($100 on brand, $80 off brand, from what I found). I poked around and couldn't find anyone selling them used. I was looking for alternatives, and was wondering if anyone had ever used Shims before - like this kinda design: https://www.jefferspet.com/products/...hims?sku=5VE2S
(The different colors are different sizes, I'm not sure which would work best, however)
Do they actually work? Are they worth it? Could they may even possible work as a substitute for the correct fit pad?
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-04-2020, 04:10 PM
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would you mind posting photos of the saddle on your horse, without pads, so we can asses visually the fit?


I've used homemade shims before. the trick is using something like velcro to keep them from moving around.
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-04-2020, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
would you mind posting photos of the saddle on your horse, without pads, so we can asses visually the fit?


I've used homemade shims before. the trick is using something like velcro to keep them from moving around.
Thanks for the offer, but I've already had someone I trust very much to fit his saddle look at it! I'm not worried about the fit. (She is a busy lady, hence why I have no asked her about shims)

I was just wondering if shims could accomplish the same thing as the pad, or if they were just a waste of time and money. Though, seeing as you say you used them, looks as though they could be an option

Last edited by Dewclaw83; 05-04-2020 at 07:47 PM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-04-2020, 08:30 PM
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My feelings on shims are.. it depends. Are you trying to fix a short term issue because your horse lost some weight and now there are gaps? I would certainly try a shim in that case. But to adjust a saddle that has never actually fit.. I think that can be a slippery slope.

In looking at what you linked to, I might be inclined to try the thinnest one, but a saddle needing an inch or an inch and a half adjustment seems like it just doesn't fit. Even if those shim pads help where they are in contact, what about all the open space around them? I would worry about pressure areas.


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post #5 of 12 Old 05-05-2020, 02:58 AM
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I would probably be inclined to try it.......worst that happens is that it doesn't work the way you intended. It's a shame you can't afford a shim-able pad, because then you can use it in all sorts of configurations, even without shims if you rode a different horse at some point. But they all seem to be well over $100. I personally have this one:

https://www.horse.com/item/diamond-w...ckets/e006939/

But like the shape of the shims in this one because they look like they mirror the saddle tree better:


https://www.jefferspet.com/products/...oured-shim-pad


In general I haven't found shims to work.......because it seems like the more padding you use, the less stable the saddle is. However, there are exceptions, and I have one saddle that fits my horse much better with my shim-able pad, with the first two shims inserted (saddle is a bit too wide for her and the shims actually make it MORE stable).


The good news is, you know the extra padding works for your horse. So I think the shims you posted a link to have a good shot at working. Or else you wasted $30. But without buying a whole new expensive pad, that is probably a risk you have to take.



Last edited by trailhorserider; 05-05-2020 at 03:06 AM.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-05-2020, 08:14 AM
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I would be inclined to try to make something else work, temporarily, and save that $30 plus money in the coming weeks to get what you know works. If the shims don't work, you would have just thrown a 1/3 of the pad that you know works down the drain.

I would try a towel folded up, or maybe an English pad folded...Brainstorm what you have around that would mimic the shimming and make it work. Anyone that I've seen use shims like you posted haven't used them for long, I think they are junk. Its easier and cheaper to make your own, and velco them right where you need them. Or if it just won't work, ride bareback until you do have the money for the pad that works.

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post #7 of 12 Old 05-05-2020, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomhorse13 View Post
My feelings on shims are.. it depends. Are you trying to fix a short term issue because your horse lost some weight and now there are gaps? I would certainly try a shim in that case. But to adjust a saddle that has never actually fit.. I think that can be a slippery slope.

In looking at what you linked to, I might be inclined to try the thinnest one, but a saddle needing an inch or an inch and a half adjustment seems like it just doesn't fit. Even if those shim pads help where they are in contact, what about all the open space around them? I would worry about pressure areas.
Yeah, he changes a LOT depending on what kinda shape he's in. That's kinda the other reason I didn't want to sink that much money into a pad that might actually cause an issue in a month or two. The smallest shim is closest to the one that's build into the pad, I believe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trailhorserider View Post
I would probably be inclined to try it.......worst that happens is that it doesn't work the way you intended. It's a shame you can't afford a shim-able pad, because then you can use it in all sorts of configurations, even without shims if you rode a different horse at some point. But they all seem to be well over $100. I personally have this one:

https://www.horse.com/item/diamond-w...ckets/e006939/

But like the shape of the shims in this one because they look like they mirror the saddle tree better:


https://www.jefferspet.com/products/...oured-shim-pad


In general I haven't found shims to work.......because it seems like the more padding you use, the less stable the saddle is. However, there are exceptions, and I have one saddle that fits my horse much better with my shim-able pad, with the first two shims inserted (saddle is a bit too wide for her and the shims actually make it MORE stable).


The good news is, you know the extra padding works for your horse. So I think the shims you posted a link to have a good shot at working. Or else you wasted $30. But without buying a whole new expensive pad, that is probably a risk you have to take.
Yeah, I know, those pads are nice and versatile, and would actually be nice for this horse, cause, as I said, he changes shape a lot lol
This saddle is just a bit too wide up front, the rest of it fits pretty well. That's why the correct fit pad just helps it stabilize a bit more, as you said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClearDonkey View Post
I would be inclined to try to make something else work, temporarily, and save that $30 plus money in the coming weeks to get what you know works. If the shims don't work, you would have just thrown a 1/3 of the pad that you know works down the drain.

I would try a towel folded up, or maybe an English pad folded...Brainstorm what you have around that would mimic the shimming and make it work. Anyone that I've seen use shims like you posted haven't used them for long, I think they are junk. Its easier and cheaper to make your own, and velco them right where you need them. Or if it just won't work, ride bareback until you do have the money for the pad that works.
The issue with folding a towel, and such, is that it would go across his withers, which would likely cause more issues than it would help. I would also love to make one myself, but I don't know that I would trust the durability. Thank you for the advice, though. If people don't use them for long, maybe I can find some used? That'd save me some money if they are junk then :P
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-06-2020, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewclaw83 View Post
I was looking for alternatives, and was wondering if anyone had ever used Shims before
Do they actually work? Are they worth it? Could they may even possible work as a substitute for the correct fit pad?


If you do not want to provide pictures of your saddle on your horse, it is impossible for us to answer your question on if shims will work or not.


Shims *can* work in the right situation. But everything else about the saddle fit has to work, particularly bar angle and rock.



Regarding the 5 Star shims you posted, while I love 5 star saddle pads, I do not like their shims. Reason being, they are not tapered on the edge. This does create an edge. Your horse will feel that edge.



When I have used shims from time to time, I use the Classic Equine shims (like these). You have to make sure you have them far enough ahead of your saddle tree so that the edge doesn't impinge on your horse, like how they have on the description picture.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewclaw83 View Post
This saddle is just a bit too wide up front, the rest of it fits pretty well. That's why the correct fit pad just helps it stabilize a bit more, as you said.

What specifically is too wide? Gullet? Bar angle? Something else?


Again, those factors determine if a shim is going to be able to help temporarily, or not.

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post #9 of 12 Old 05-11-2020, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beau159 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewclaw83 View Post
I was looking for alternatives, and was wondering if anyone had ever used Shims before
Do they actually work? Are they worth it? Could they may even possible work as a substitute for the correct fit pad?


If you do not want to provide pictures of your saddle on your horse, it is impossible for us to answer your question on if shims will work or not.


Shims *can* work in the right situation. But everything else about the saddle fit has to work, particularly bar angle and rock.



Regarding the 5 Star shims you posted, while I love 5 star saddle pads, I do not like their shims. Reason being, they are not tapered on the edge. This does create an edge. Your horse will feel that edge.



When I have used shims from time to time, I use the Classic Equine shims (like these). You have to make sure you have them far enough ahead of your saddle tree so that the edge doesn't impinge on your horse, like how they have on the description picture.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewclaw83 View Post
This saddle is just a bit too wide up front, the rest of it fits pretty well. That's why the correct fit pad just helps it stabilize a bit more, as you said.

What specifically is too wide? Gullet? Bar angle? Something else?


Again, those factors determine if a shim is going to be able to help temporarily, or not.
Wow, going for my throat a bit, I see.
I didn’t want to know if the shims could work with the saddle, I wanted to know if the shims would provide a similar service as the pad. Sorry I provided background... geez
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-11-2020, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewclaw83 View Post
Wow, going for my throat a bit, I see.
I didn’t want to know if the shims could work with the saddle, I wanted to know if the shims would provide a similar service as the pad. Sorry I provided background... geez
She is not going for your throat by any means - she is providing the info you asked for, and a recommendation of other shims. Many members on here have years of experience trying to fit the horses that seem to be just un-fittable. I would appreciate what she is saying. She is trying to save you money on a saddle that might not even work with shims - it never hurts to have fresh eyes on saddle fit, regardless of who you have already had look at it.

I actually saw a used pad pop-up on one of the tack sales pages I follow, and wished I could send it to you! Only $50 + shipping for almost the exact pad you posted that worked. Shop tack sale pages, you will find that pad that worked.

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