Tack Talk: The Half Pad Debate

Tack Talk
Photo: Flickr/liesje/Creative Commons License

Half pads. Do you use one? I seem to see them everywhere lately, but that may be selective vision (is that even a thing?). You know, like when you are thinking a lot about something, and then start seeing that thing everywhere? Yeah, that’s happening.

I’ve been tentatively looking for a half pad for awhile now, but the good-quality ones that will last are so darn expensive. (See: this and this for why I can’t just splurge on one.)

It seems to come down to three major contenders (in alphabetical order): Ecogold, Mattes and Ogilvy. For something a bit different – and less expensive – I’m also considering a Pacific Rim International fleece double back saddle pad, which essentially has the extra padding from a half pad already built in.

Why I have half pads on the brain:

At this point, my saddle doesn’t fit Drifter and a half pad is not going to fix that. I am going to need to replace my current saddle at some point in the near-ish future. But the challenge is that Drifter is a young horse that is now going into regular work. That means he’s going to be building lots of muscle through his shoulders and back in the next several months, which will make saddle fitting even more challenging. Given that I will need to sell my current saddle before I can buy a new one, and that we’re heading into the “off season” where I won’t need a show-quality saddle for awhile, I should have some time to let his muscles change before I get a new saddle. Even then, I have a feeling that I’ll need a half pad to help protect his back and potentially alleviate any minor saddle fit issues in the shorter term.

Side note: how fun is it to use Ogilvy’s online color customizer for their half pads? (Answer: SO MUCH FUN.)

Do you own a half pad? What brand, why do you use it, what do you think of it?

5 thoughts on “Tack Talk: The Half Pad Debate

  1. I currently use an Ogilvy to help my saddle fit my horse when he has less topline, as well as help my saddle fit other horses. In the past, I’ve used ECP pad and LamiCell, both of which in my opinion are great budget-friendly options!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am OBSESSED with my thinline pad. It’s thin enough to be used under saddles that fit for extra back protection but also you can order shims to put in it to alter fit. Otherwise ogilvy is said to really help with saddle fit. A fleece will just compress and won’t offer much unless you shim it up.


      1. they are SUPER easy to use. I’ve used shims with my Mattes fleece half pad and it was a pain. the thinline shims are really nice (but not too bulky) and actually make a big difference in the fit of your saddle, whereas I just felt like the Mattes shims barely made a difference and were super irritating to put in and take out. Just make sure you get the thinline that has the shim pockets. Thinline has tons of different options too as far as fleece, no fleece, fleece borders etc. I am just in love with this product, if you can’t tell. recently began to use mine again for Rook’s bad back and he seems to love it.


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