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Discussion Starter #1
A while ago I had to replace my English saddle when the old one started getting too narrow as April got into better shape. The "new" one fit much better and her sweat marks up until very recently were always big solid rectangles exactly where the square pad sits with no dry spots or hair disturbance.

For the past couple rides, she has had about a three-inch-wide circular dry spot just behind her shoulders. The first time I noticed it, the hair was not particularly disturbed. The second time, it definitely was. Her behavior is a completely useless indicator of her saddle fit because she always acts the same regardless of what's on her back - high-spirited but never bucking or pinning ears or indicating pain in any way.

There is so much conflicting information about dry spots. The "oldschoolers" say any and all dry spots indicate poor saddle fit, and disturbed hair is even worse. More recently, saddle fitters say big eight-inch dry spots are perfectly normal and small one-inch dry spots are cause for concern. Well, where does that place my mare's three-inch dry spot? :-|

I am imagining that perhaps she has slightly lost condition in the past month after I switched jobs and rode a tad less, making this saddle ever so slightly too wide and creating a pressure point just behind her shoulders. Key word is imagining.

Is this a scenario where adding a sheepskin or equivalently space-filling half pad would be an appropriate course of action? I do not plan to let her lose any more condition (though I never "planned" for any condition loss to begin with :oops:). I currently only ride her in a thin square pad and that was never an issue when her saddle for sure fit.
 

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I don't think there is any issue with using a pad to fill up a space until she returns to the condition she was previously - horses are changing constantly, and if I got a new saddle every time my horse gained/lost muscle/weight, well, I wouldn't be able to afford my horse anymore.

I've used a Mattes Sheepskin pad (and now a Premier Equine Merino pad), and am currently trying one of the Circle Y memory foam bridge pads.
 

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Thanks @ClearDonkey! Have you found you prefer one over the others?
I didn't really find a difference between the Mattes and Premier Equine as far as half-pads go... The Mattes is $$$ while the Premier Equine is $. I like the Premier Equine a bit more, since it is lined with merino on the edges and doesn't slip around under my saddle, whereas the Mattes didn't have the sheepskin around the edges and it slipped around everywhere.

As for the Circle Y bridge pad, I'm specifically using it to counter-act the lack of muscle around my senior gelding's spine and withers, from aging. I think it is working pretty well for what it's intended to do, but it slips around like crazy too - to the point where I'm about to stitch it to one of my saddle pads.

Have you tried just using a folded up towel to compensate in the areas where your horse has lost muscling? That may do it, and work until your horse gains his muscle back.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Have you tried just using a folded up towel to compensate in the areas where your horse has lost muscling? That may do it, and work until your horse gains his muscle back.
I haven't attempted it yet but I will certainly try this weekend. Now going into winter soon when the trails get unusably muddy or icy, I doubt I'll be riding as many miles as I was in the summer. I think it might be best to get a more of a semi-long-term solution in the form of a half pad in case her muscles don't bounce back before next year's prime riding season. Or I may just be looking for a justification to spend money on a half pad :dance-smiley05:
 
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