Monday, March 7, 2011

My Picks: Fleece Pads

Based on previous posts, you may have noticed that I am a tack collecter. Others, specifically SprinklerBandit and Checkmark115 have labeled it as being a "tack whore" but I prefer the label, "tack connoisseur". But whatever you call it, I have an affinity for tack.

While I haven't gotten to the point of some horsey people that I know (whose tack rooms, trucks and houses are filled with tack) and I at least use every piece of tack that I have, I will admit that I have about twice as much tack as other horsey people I know. My only consolation is that a large percentage of my tack inventory is from tack sales, presents or items that were given to me so at least I'm not dishing out major bucks for my collection.

Because of this expansive collection I have decided to make a few reviews of different items that I own or have owned on the off chance that there are others out there like me who also love to collect tack or are shopping for a certain item and my reviews may be able to give some help. As a key $ = relatively inexpensive retail price while $$$$ = very, very spendy. So without further ado...

Fleece pads. They've become very popular in the past couple of years. I decided to get one because it would help provide some comfort to my horse's back because of my slightly rock hard english saddle until I could find a new one or get it reflocked.

My first purchase was a Roma Merino Sheepskin Half Pad ($). It probably would have sufficed had I not made a trip to my local tack store and curiously felt a Mattes half pad. There is no way that my half pad could every compare to the luxury that it Mattes. Compared to that, my pad was a pathetic excuse for a half pad. The wool was not thick enough to conform to the horse's back nor did it make a cushion that would allow the air to circulate. So my Roma half pad found a new home and I bought a Mattes Half Pad.

This is my Mattes pad ($$$). I LOVE it! It is super cushiony and it is now being used with my dressage saddle to fill in a little until Jetta fills back out in summer time and her back muscles continue to develop. I opted for the pad without the full rolled edge along the back because it was cheaper (because these pads are spendy) so I think if I had the money I would have bought one with the rolled edge, but it really hasn't made much of a difference.

Another pad that I have is the Equine Comfort Pad (ECP) ($$) that I with my jump saddle. It is also very nice, not quite as spectacular as my Mattes pad but it fits great with the saddle and gives plenty of cushion. I like the wither cutout as it provides some extra ventilation and pressure relief. This is why I like ebay :)

And the last brand is Fleeceworks ($$). I use this one as a show pad. This is also a great brand - thick fleece that is high quality and cushioning.

Overall my favorite is the Mattes pad, but I definitely wouldn't hesitate to buy a ECP or Fleeceworks pad. Because sheepskin is best used next to the horse's back, instead of on top of a pad, I would recommend getting a square or shaped pad with fleece on the bottom instead of a half pad, but for the most part, my half pad on top of the saddle pad works just fine. I haven't had a chance to get my hands on a Circuit pad, but from what I can tell they are still a high quality, yet much less expensive version of the Mattes pads. I do have a Circuit fleece girth, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of it. I would probably avoid the Roma half pads unless you are on a tight budget and only need a little bit of padding, but that's just my input.


  1. I have a circuit sheepskin square pad. It's very soft and fluffy and I like it. I've never spent much time with Mattes, but the one I felt in a store was sort of stiff and pokey and I didn't really care for it. Maybe that was an anomaly?

  2. I would hope it was an anomaly. I wouldn't say mine's really stiff or pokey, but it is a little more "wiry" feeling I guess, but I think this is better because then the sheepskin stands up and actually molds to the back instead of getting squashed flat. Hmm... I may have to consider finding a circuit pad to try :)