Monday, September 22, 2008

ThinLine Western Pro-Ride Felt Pad

I had ordered a ThinLine Western Pro-Ride Felt Pad for my horses after reading "The Rider's Pain-Free Back" by James Warson, M.D. with Ami Hendrickson. I waffled back and forth over whether to order the square pad or the barrel pad, but in the end I decided on the barrel pad since Arabians have such short backs. I didn't want the square pad to hamper the movement of the hips. However, my riding instructor said I should have ordered the square pad. It always frustrates me when I order some really expensive piece of tack or equipment for my horses, and someone makes me doubt my choice.

However, when my barrel pad arrived, I was positive I made the right choice. It followed the same outline of my rounded skirt saddle and they seemed to go together nicely. The pad is made of a thick 3/4" layer of wool felt with a vinyl-like material sewn on the top.

Dr. Jim Warson, author of The Rider's Pain Free Back, had this to say about the new western felt pad:

"I received a new Western pad from Equibrand. Elaine, this is the most perfect Western pad I have ever used. The immediate impression is one of absolute unity of contact, something rarely felt in a Western saddle. The contact is fabulous, the support and cushioning are marvelous, and it feels like the pad and saddle work truly as a unit and are literally one with the horse. I actually tried to generate micromotions between horse, pad, and saddle, and was unable to do so. At a lope, there was absolutely no pitch, something all too common in heavier saddles. This pad is clearly the very best thing ever made for the human back (and horses' back) in the saddle.If this pad doesn't have a name, it deserves one like "dreadnought", " Cadillac", or something similar! I'm going to take the liberty of having a patient of mine use it barrel racing this Saturday, to see how it works at extreme levels of performance. This rider has an arthritic back, so I'll get good information there as well. My sincerest thanks for this wonderful pad, which truly fills a great need. I will recommend it enthusiastically."

I lunged Lostine with the new pad and old saddle to see if the saddle would still ride up on her withers and neck. It did. In the picture below you can see that the saddle was getting ahead of the pad.

I haven't noticed if the pad makes riding more comfortable for me, but the horses certainly don't have any complaints. I sensed that my seat felt a bit more solid, if anything. I'm just happy to have a new, clean saddle pad. Question for all you horse moms and dads: How do you get your saddle pads clean? I found out that I can pay a lady in town to do it for me, but I'm wondering what the process is. If I put it in my washing machine, all that hair would ruin it. I also doubt that a washing machine would be able to get all the hair out that is stuck between the weave. I can't imagine that simply scrubbing it with a brush, soap and water could dislodge all that hair as well. Does anyone have any special tips?

I did the same test with Bombay, setting the saddle where it should be and then lunging and riding him. The only difference is that this time I made a concerted effort to pull up the lip in front of the pad so that it molded to the pommel on the saddle rather than the horse's back. The saddle ended up not sliding forward. This Circle Y Arabian saddle fits my gelding much better than my mares. He needs the extra wide angle tree that goes along with most Arabian saddles, while my mares need a narrow to normal angle tree.

So, the pad can stop a saddle from sliding forward if you pull it up in front and let a little air flow in there. I'm thinking I may get a saddle maker to add more stuffing to this saddle to solve the slippage problem on Lostine.

If you are interested in this saddle pad or any pad manufactured by ThinLine, you can visit their website here.


Flying Lily said...

Vacuum your saddle pads before washing them - you will keep all that hair out of your washer.

Air-dry them if possible - with your sun you should have no problem. Sunlight also kills germs so just like diapers, hang the pads etc. out in the sun and just enjoy.

Abraham Lincoln said...

I saw your blog and found a piece of history your camera recorded. It is a blink, stopped dead-still, exposing a moment in time and the seat you rode. Wow. Would a flea comb work?

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville Daily Photo

Mrs Mom said...

I usually take a good stiff brush, and brush my pads when they dry out. Then, I take the hose, a bucket, and another stiff brush (or a body brush if I have one that needs a washing,) and a tad of laundry detergent (I use All Clear and Free due to my allergies.) I hose the pads with as much water pressure as I can, draped over our porch rail, and then scrub carefully with the brush. Rinse well, flip, and do the other side, and then hang in a sunny spot on the rail to dry. (Right now I have the heavy wool pads- no WAY they will fit in my washer! LOL) My old racehorse trainer taught me that, since we would wash pads everyday after works.

This pad looks pretty neat. Since horses backs have been catching my eye these days, we may have to try one of these out on Sonny, when he FINALLY gets sound enough to start working again!

AnnL said...

I have English pads, but I just toss them in my washing machine--cold water, two rinse cycles to make sure all the soap gets out--then I hang to dry. If there's alot of hair in them you can try to vacuum them as Flying Lily suggests.

I'm glad the pad seems to help the forward slipping problem! That's great!


Jenn said...

I ride English, too, so I just toss 'em in my washer. I have white pads, so I wash on hot, no bleach, mild detergent.

I'd have no idea how to clean a thick, felt Western pad. I'm still trying to figure out how to clean my wool half-pad.

Anonymous said...

I've found that taking my saddle pads to the car wash works rather swell. I hang them on the clips for car mats and use the rinse cycle. The high pressure really seems to help get out all the sweat and grime. Taking them home is a bit of a pain if you don't have a truck bed to put them in, as they are normally soaked, but it seems to work for me. I'd be a little leary of the soap cycles at the car wash, but my horses haven't had any reactions to just the rinse cycle.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

This pad reminds me of the barrel pad I first bought for Baby Doll.
It looked too small when used with my western/aussie saddle, so I returned it.
I ended up getting a built-up, cut-out western saddle pad from Tolkat.

In the picture with Bombay, when you pulled the saddle pad forward and up over the withers, it dissapeared, at the back of the saddle.
Using the pad that way,
does the saddle skirt rest on the horse's back and will it bounce on the horse's croup/rump when the horse moves...especially at a canter?

Please don't be mad at me, ok? I think I agree with your trainer, after seeing the pictures, that the barrel saddle pad, at least when used with the western saddle, is a bit too small.

You probably don't want to keep having to adjust the saddle pad and worry if it's providing protection for your horse's back, too...not to mention, also protecting your saddle from horse sweat and hair.

It sure looks like a nice comfy, good looking saddle pad, though :)


Andrea said...

It is funny that you mention cleaning saddle pads, I was just looking at mine today thinking how dirty they were. I use navajo blankets under all my pads so I was them in the washer.

And I always pull up on the front of the pad, into the gullet, so the pad won't put pressure on the withers. Also if you get some spongey shelf paper you could put the between your saddle and the saddle pad and see if the keeps your saddle in place?? Maybe?? Just a thought.

I need a new saddle pad!! Yours looks so nice!!

dp said...

I ride English too, but I secretly want to be a cow girl. Nobody rode western where I grew up, but here on the west coast those comfy, sexy saddles are everywhere. What's a girl to do!

I also vacuum with a shop vac prior to washing AND I have a washing machine that only does horse and dog laundry. It's in the garage, hooked up to a hose and draining into a 4 foot pit. It's an old top-loader we picked up for $50 and it works great.

Katie said...

I always vacuum my saddle blankets before I wash them (like the others mention above)

If the pad is particulary dirty I'll usually soak it for a couple of days in a container with some washing powder. Otherwise I put it in the washing machine on a normal wash but then I put in for another rinse cycle to make sure I get all the washing powder out so it doesn't irritate my horse's skin.

I just finished reading through your blog archives! Its very good. Keep up the good work.

Saddle Mountain Rider said...

I know what you mean about buying expensive tack and then second guessing the purchase. I bought a compression pad and i think it is just too thick. Would it help to throw a single navajo over the pad?

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Your supposed to wash them??

Just kidding...I do as Mrs Mom does. I don't think these thick felt pads would wash very well in a washing machine.

Also, I noticed the same thing as Lisa, from Laughing Orca did..The pad looks perfect when it is on Lostine, but on Bombay it is too small. Isn't that the same saddle?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Don't worry. The pad isn't too small for Bombay. It just somehow got pulled down the opposite side before I took that picture, and I didn't notice it. I looked at it today and there is plenty of pad outlining the saddle as long as I have it on straight.

pencraftco said...

I'm searching for a saddle pad and I came across this older post on your blog after looking at the Thinline site. I have an Arabian gelding that looks a lot like your Bombay, at least what I could see in the photo.

After all this time, do you still like the pad? I am looking at the barrel pad because I have an English saddle and a small synthetic Abetta barell-skirted western. Thought the pad might work with both . . . I'm a novice, so any insight would be appreciated!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

petcraftco - I do still like the ThinLine pad. My only regret is that I didn't get the full rectangular one, because I was later given a saddle as a gift that had a rectangular skirt and this rounded pad doesn't cover enough ground for that saddle. Otherwise, the pad hasn't degraded in anyway. It's as good as new. The horses still prefer it over other saddle pads. They just seem to be in a better mood when I ride with this pad. I've never had problems with rubbing or sliding. It keeps itself clean too. I don't have to deal with horse hair build-up underneath it.

Peter said...

I use the english style pad there so much easier to clean unlike my older half wool pads which would get trashed in a good days riding. Now i just hang them on a line in the stable shed after i hose then down.

Peter said...

I use the english style pad there so much easier to clean unlike my older half wool pads which would get trashed in a good days riding. Now i just hang them on a line in the stable shed after i hose then down.