A Plethora of Half Pads

A Plethora of Half Pads

I became obsessed with half pads around 2007 when they were all the rage for hunter shows.  Everyone who was anyone was showing with just a half pad, and it was different!  I liked different.

Even though I show in a fitted pad these days, I’m still very pro half pad. I’ve owned quite a few of them, and now I’m going to tell you my 2 cents about each.  Get excited.

Cheapy no-name foam half pad I found at a used tack sale

That’s super descriptive right?  It had a fleece cover that velcroed to two 2″ thick foam panels that went on either side of your horse.  Basically… super high quality 😉

Jen and Beckett rocking my cheapy half pad
Jen and Beckett rocking my cheapy half pad

Besides it being cheap and technically be considered a half pad, this had no other value.  It wasn’t made of good for your horse materials and all it did was take up room on a slightly too big saddle.

Beval Therapeutic Half Pad


These are great!  I technically never bought one just used my previous barn’s for months, but if I needed additional wither clearance I would definitely consider one.

Feature: Great wither relief
Materials: Wool & Natural Sheepskin
Function: Increased wither relief for high withered horses, Wool distributes weight evenly
Durability: I think it’d be almost impossible to tear this
Washability: To be honest the ones at the barn never got washed… it hides dirt well and I don’t know much about laundering wool
Price Point: $$$, retails new around $180
Best place to get: Check ebay and tack trader, you can always find these about 1/2 off!

A very skinny Simon using the beval pad
A very skinny Simon using the beval pad

Wintec Comfort Saddle Pad


Some people may not consider this a true half pad, but I’m going to throw it in here for comparison’s sake.  I needed something to lift Simon’s saddle off his withers, and went this cheap option as an experiment.  For $40 you can’t really go wrong trying something!

Feature: Choose front or back lift
Materials: Light foamy plastic
Function: Stiff and moves the saddle up in the front or back depending on which option you choose
Durability: You could probably run this over with a car and it’d be just fine
Washability: Don’t think you’d never need to wash it since it doesn’t include any cloth… garden hose?
Price Point: $, retails new around $40
Best place to get: I picked mine up at SmartPak

Barely visible comfort pad
Barely visible comfort pad

Mattes Sheepskin Half Pad

ea-20mattes-20ap-20half-20padWho doesn’t love Mattes?  It’s german.  It’s sheepskin.  It’s purdiful!  If you’re looking for a sheepskin half pad, I would look no further than Mattes.  They have an excellent reputation for a reason!

Feature: Amazing “I want to sleep with this and rub it on my face” sheepskin
Materials: Cotton & sheepskin
Function: Sheepskin squishes in the right places, when used on the horse’s skin it distributes heat properly
Durability: These are very well made, but they need to be cared for properly and not thrown around a ton imo
Washability: Washes beautifully with Melp, air dries great and I would just fluff up and be good to go again!
Price Point: $$$, retails new around $200
Best place to get: Again I went used and picked mine up on Ebay for $100 in great shape!

Mattes pad in action
Mattes pad in action

Thinline Correction Half Pad


The final pad in my half pad adventure is the Thinline correction half pad!  Since Simon’s muscling is uneven and I have been told he’ll need shimming even with a properly fitting saddle, I went the Thinline option.  If I needed this pad for showing as well I would have gone full fleece but for schooling I went cotton only to save on money and have a thinner half pad.

Feature: Ultra Thinline material reduces shock absorption from your butt to your horse… and your horse to your back!  My back pain is much less since I’ve been using it.
Materials: Cotton & Thinline material
Function: Read the Thinline spiel
Durability: These are very well made, but they need to be cared for properly and not thrown around a ton imo
Washability: I haven’t washed it yet but the cotton should be no problem.  In the problem I’ve had issues washing sheepskin + thinline + cotton saddle pads
Price Point: $$, retails new around $150
Best place to get: I picked mine up at Dover new 🙂

The newest half pad

So what about you… what’s your favorite half pad?

22 thoughts on “A Plethora of Half Pads

  1. Just showing with no saddle pad or nothing but a half pad was all the rage in like the 70s wasn’t it? Some day back when when. This fad hit the hunter world after I got out of it, but I remember thinking it was kind of odd and reminded me of old photos hah! I feel like if I was a horse, I’d want a pad protecting me from all the buckles, but maybe not- idk what horses really think…

    Thanks for the tour of half pads! I really want a mattes one one day…

  2. I rode with a half pad for years with my dressage saddle, and then at my last saddle fitting (out at MacNair’s, and I feel that they know their stuff), we figured out that my nice fluffy half pad (couldn’t tell you the brand, but it’s not a cheapy) was actually inhibiting Foster’s movement. So, no half pad anymore! Apparently it’s not a common thing to have to get rid of the half pad, but in our case it’s made a big difference in the freedom of his shoulders. I do kind of miss it though!

  3. When I was riding two very high withered TB’s I bought my Beval therapeutic half pad (identical to yours) and used it all the time!! And that was almost 8 years ago and it’s still going strong. Unfortunately it doesn’t work for the current pony, who only needs a little extra support. I have a cheapy look a-like to your wintec one and it works for us. I’ll admit though, your Mattes one is lovely!

  4. I have an ECP wither relief pad that is much like the Bevel and Mattes had a baby. Also I have a LamiCell half pad, which is like a cheaper, slightly thicker version of ThinLine. I like both and have used them a lot recently.

    What I really want to try tho is an Ogilvy or Ride Lite… they look so pretty!

  5. I have a cheap Dover wither relief pad that I’ve had as long as I’ve owned Guinness. I probably only wash it 6 times a year, and I use it almost every day. The thing wears like iron, and was only about $40.

    I also have a lovely sheepskin Equine Comfort Products dressage pad. It’s beautiful, and really helps saddle fit. I’d use it every day if it wasn’t white and a complete disaster to keep clean! There need to be more black sheepskin options!

  6. Really love my Thinline Trifecta, we’re going on 4 years together and it’s still in fantastic shape. It’s worked well for me through many different horses and different saddle fitting needs. Absolutely no complaints. I do have a curiosity about Ogilvy pads but am naturally a bit skeptical of memory foam. If I could find a cheap one or borrow one I’d be interested in trying it, but it’s tough to cough up that much money on a new one when you aren’t sold on the material (and love your current pad so much).

  7. I’m absolutely neurodic about my saddle fit and have it adjusted to Mollie’s back at minimum once a year so I”ve never really had a need for a half pad. And seeing as it would be practically impossible to find a saddle that was too wide for her I can’t picture us ever needing one lol.

  8. I’m still in the poor broke, misfitting saddle stage, so I am pretty sure I have changes in my future, but for now, I have a Fleeceworks 1/2 pad I use with a correction pad and a full Fleeceworks for shows. I’m pretty sure I need something shimmable even with a better fitting saddle, but for now, its working. I’d love to just need a AP pad and saddle but not going to hope for that.

  9. I currently use the Lami-Cell gel/foam half pad to take up a little bit of space and get my saddle off of Dino’s withers, and it works perfectly for us! I have a Beval pad as well, but it’s a little too much bulk to use on top of a square pad, but I do show in just the Beval pad when we decide to play equitation.

  10. Currently mattes pad all the way. I hate fleece works and don’t think the pads are made as well. My used mattes looks way better than the fleece works that I purchasd new ever did. And stays better as well. Used to covet a ecogold but I decided to go ogilvy instead. Can’t wait for it to arrive! 🙂

  11. I show in only a 1/2 pad because I haven’t found a shaped pad that gives a consistent edge around my saddle flaps since I have very short flaps. I LOVE Fleecworks FKX pads and currently show without the roll in the back. I think I own like 3 different Fleeceworks though. I like their wool better then Mattes (have some of their stuff too) – Fleeceworks is softer and doesn’t take up extra room (I find Mattes very thick) under an already perfectly fitting saddle. And it washes beautifully with Pepede.

  12. Oh man. Cleaning out the tack locker for the barn move made me a little sheepish about the number of hald pads hanging around… Thinline correction shim pad.. Mattes correction shim pad (why do I have both??? who knows). Bevel wither relief pad (I wasn’t even a hunter when I got that).. Prair’s Fleeceworks half pad for showing, the new Ogilvy.. an old school Equi-Gel from the 90’s that still functions perfectly… pads pads pads!!!

  13. The Skito memory foam correction pad with shims was a lifesaver when I was trying to find a well-fitting saddle for Harley. The open-cell foam does not crush, put pressure on the spine, or trap heat. I prefer a well-fitting saddle with a thin pad, which is what we use now, but the Skito was the only reason I could ride when it became clear that the old saddle was dropping onto his shoulders.

    I think the Skito is used more by endurance and Western riders, so I like to mention it because I really think that it is the most comfortable pad from the horse’s point of view. The company will cut custom shims for a very reasonable cost. My pad helped a couple other horses after I no longer needed it and the foam and cloth cover are good as new.

  14. Mmm. Half pad goodness. I’m jelly of your collection.
    I have a cheap version of the Mattes sheepskin. It’s served me well for over 4 years, so I’d call it $60 (approx $54 US) well spent.

  15. Just FYI, according to Mattes, you CAN put your half pad in the dryer, on medium heat (30C) and dry it to damp. It won’t hurt it. In fact, they say, it’s better for the poofyness of the fleece if you dry it rather than letting it air dry. I have the dressage cut black one and just washed it for the first time yesterday after having bought it in August or September, but it’s never against his back, it’s always over a regular square pad. Washed it in Melp, dried it on medium to damp (about 20 minutes), and then let it air dry the rest of the way. It’s perfect today, nice and poofy and no compression or felting of the wool. 🙂

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