Half Pad Predicament

Well I find myself needing to do half pad shopping again. Bleh! This was not an expense that I was expecting to have in the middle of show season but here I am so I figured I would take the time to re-evaluate my last choice.

Last fall I went from riding beefcake Ace to tiny man T which obviously meant a tack change. I had been riding Ace in an HDR with a Thinline half pad and a riser. This combination suited him. Enter T and I was on a new saddle search. I ended up purchasing a Pessoa GenX Natural XCH (since I lease I HAD to have an interchangeable gullet in hopes that the saddle will fit the next horse too) from Stampy and the Brain. I got a good deal. If you know K she takes care of her things so the saddle was in great condition.


Along with that I purchased some calf skin leathers (I can’t remember the brand), Centaur Stainless Steel Jointed irons, and some grippy iron pad covers.


All of this looked great but……. my Thinline half pad just wasn’t the right fit for the saddle and T. The saddle was a good fit and the combo of it with the Thinline would have worked but there was a small space just south of his withers on each side where there was a gap. I wanted a pad that would fill that space better than the Thinline. I am lucky to have so many friends at the barn willing to let me try their half pads and I narrowed it down to two.

We now enter the great Mattes versus Ogilvy fight….. DING DING DING

And in this corner we have the old school, tried, and true Mattes sheepskin half pad! This pad has been around since I was a kid. Everyone knows the mattes pad with its famous fluffy sheepskin roll at the wither. This pad comes in a variety of colors and can even be customized but only white is acceptable for showing and they don’t make covers therefore if you want a colored pad you have to buy a 2nd one. It is easy to wash as long as you have some Melp on hand. It also comes in a variety of options such as hind roll sheepskin or a shimmable version. The shock absorption of this pad cannot be denied.

Shimmable Mattes Half Pad
Shimmable Mattes Half Pad

And in the other corner we have the new kid on the block that is making quite a popular trend right now the Ogilvy half pad! This pad is best known for its customizable options and many color choices. You have 2 options the memory foam and the gummy, but only the memory foam is able to have shims for a custom fit. I have not washed one but the Ogilvy website makes it seem pretty easy. I do like that you can have a custom color that may not show as much dirt as on white for everyday use but instead of purchasing a whole new pad you can simply buy a white cover for show days.  Has anyone tried the covers? Do they look good over the pad?

These are the exact colors I was thinking too.
These are the exact colors I was thinking too.

Both are great options and again since I am leasing I want to have a shimmable pad so that I can hopefully find a way to use it on the next horse. So what was my last choice? Last winter I purchased a large white shimmable Mattes half pad without the hind roll. I decided on this because 1. I stuck with something I knew was proven to be effective and 2. There is something about the sheepskin roll at the withers that makes me think it is protecting the withers better. Tango has a decently prominent withers so I wanted the soft fluffy sheepskin on it. It has proven to be a good pad but I do fight with keeping it clean and don’t want to over wash it.

Oscar is not too happy to be modeling my previous choice
Oscar is not too happy to be modeling my previous choice

Decision time….. do I stay with my original decision and purchase another Mattes pad or do I switch it up and follow the current fad??????

3 thoughts on “Half Pad Predicament

  1. Bobbi Brodman

    I used the Mattes pad with shims on my TB…worked great. But not with Ray. I actually use either an Equifit T foam pad (XTRA THICK & spendy) or Wintec comfort foam pad ( can get with xtra padding at sides of withers – cheap $40). Both are much firmer than sheepskin. Ray does better with firmer & less compression.


    1. Thanks Bobbi! I decided to stay with my shimmable Mattes pad. T really likes it but who knows what next year will bring when I have to look for a new horse to move up on.


  2. Bobbi Brodman

    For showing, I bought the basis Wintec comfort pad & put in on top of my sheepskin show pad. Looks great & Ray’s back doesn’t get sore.


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