There are many different types of correctional pads on the market that all serve a similar purpose – protecting a horses back and improving saddle fit.
How Can a Correction Pad Help?
The correctional pads, such as the Zilco and Thinline pads, can be used to help in a few different ways including:
- Balance the saddle laterally or across the topline
- Minimise pressure points
- Lift the saddle up off the horses back (particularly for horses that lack topline and condition)
- Prevent bridging or the saddle from rocking
How Do I know if I Need One?
Here are a few examples of when to use certain pads:
- Your saddle balance point is off ie you are tipped forward or backwards in the seat
- There are spaces between your horses back and the saddle panels – these could be unilateral or one sided
- Your horse can be cold backed, reactive or ‘twitchy’ when being saddled up
Which Pad Fixes Which Problem?
Below we run through some common fitting problems and which pad can assist correct it.
Balance Point is Off
If you saddle balance point is off, or you’re feeling tipped forward or backward in the seat there are a number of reasons this could be caused. A gullet that is too wide causes the pommel to sit too low giving you the feeling of being tipped forward, and the opposite, a too narrow gullet can sit the saddle too high at the wither (as well as cause painful downward pressure around the wither) and sit the saddle on the rear panels giving the feeling of being tipped backwards.
If a gullet is too narrow, the saddle must be changed and there is no correction pad that will comfortably fix this problem.
If you gullet is too wide, particularly while you are building up topline and muscling around the wither, a Thinline or a Zilco pad with front shims would be the perfect pad to help.
Underdeveloped Topline, Large Wither or Large Spine
To improve your saddles fit you may need to lift the whole saddle up off the horses back.
For this we suggest using either a Zilco pad with shims in the front and back or better yet, use a Thinline Trifecta Sheepskin comfort pad (this has sheepskin lining the entire base of the pad for extra comfort and shock absorption)
Your Horse Has Muscle Atrophy Unilaterally or On One Side of Their Back
This is where the shims come in handy with both the Zilco and Thinline pads. You can customise the pad to suit but adding some, or a number of shims or gel inserts to correct an imbalance.
For example, if your horse has an uneven back you can place one shim in the side with the muscle atrophy and none in the other to help the saddle sit balanced.
Back Sensitivity or Horse Comfort
If you’r saddle fits well but your horse seems ‘twitchy’ when being saddled or you are just wanting to ensure the maximum level of comfort and shock absorption for your horse, the Thinline Trifecta Cotton pad is great when you don’t have a lot of room in the gullet, or if the tree is fairly narrow. The slim design of these pads aids can assist the saddle fit without making the saddle too tight or can be added when the saddle fit is already correct.
A more economical version is the Wintec Comfort Pad which provides a high level of comfort and trauma-reduction, without the bulk.
Your horse needs more room behind the wither around the trapezius muscles
The Zilco Trapezius pad may help this, it is designed to specifically support development of the trapezius muscle. Made to stabilise the saddle and allow necessary freedom of movement to this area.
If you’re ever in doubt you should contact your saddle fitter, or the team at the Saddle Hub who can assist.