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I personally prefer to have a thinner pad. That way you are closer to the horses back. as long as your horse doesn't have any back problems making him need a different type of pad. Especially in a western saddle because the weight is distributed more evenly then in an english one. I used to ride at a large barn that had a lot of little lesson kids that would bounce around on the horses backs. I would always encourage thick padding for this situation to prevent the horses backs from being sore. So it depends on your situation but I prefer a thinner saddle pad.
 

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I tried just using the thin green blanket under the saddle a month ago....accidentally. My friend who hadn't ridden in a few years got on my horse in the back fields, and he took off on her....he's never done that to me, probably because I know his quirks and am always a step ahead of him. Anyway, my friend somehow managed to lose the foam pad from under the saddle while she was accidentally cantering down the field, and I couldn't find it for about 10 minutes while I rode up and down the field looking for it. It felt weird with just the blanket on....I could feel his back a lot more under me, but I had the sense that it wasn't a comfortable pad for him, so I put the foam pad back on when I found it.
 

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Many years ago, I tried foam pads - never again. Now, the only pad i use is a 5 Star 1" 100% felt. I've tried knockoffs but they just don't hold up so that becomes a waste of money. Once you use a qulaity pad, even considering the cost, you never go back to substitutes.
 

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