Unlimited access >

Help - Opinions Welcome on Half Pads!

Hello! Newby poster on here! Little background, I grew up in Hunter/Jumpers but am now Foxhunting full time and ride all OTTBs(different sizes), still riding in that style when at home though. I’m pretty far removed from the world of tack as I mostly ride for someone that provides everything but the saddle. We hunt for hours so it’s imperative that I have the right fit and it fits a variety of backs.

I’m potentially needing to own my own horse next year so I need to start educating myself on tack again. I ride in an '08 Devoucoux Biarritz, so a bit narrower twist and gullet. We’ve found that has worked well with a wider range of TBs(narrower than WBs). She has me use a Equifit pad now that seems to work great and I can always get one for myself but I am very curious about the Devouxcoux - All-in shock absorbing pad(with shims) or the - Felt pressure distribution pad(old school felt!).

Anyone have any experience with them and their fit? Quality? It’s a lot of money but I’m willing to spend it if it’s effective and lasts a long time. *Important to note that even though I’ll be owning my own horse, I will still be riding others and may move the horse along relatively quickly if it’s going well so the varity in backs will still be a concern.

Thank you so much for your input!

Don’t buy anything until you buy the horse

No saddle fits “a variety of backs.” It may fit several horses with very similar backs. You need to consider the back to front rocker curve and vertical drop as well as the more obvious wither gullets

When you get your own horse have a competent saddle fitter help you with selection and reflocking saddle to fit.

Usually a well fitted saddle does not need a bulky half pad. If you really think you need a half pad for more shock absorbtion then you need the saddle fitted more loosely.

If you are swapping saddles between different horses you may find a 6 pocket shim half pad the most useful as it can help with bridging under the seat or wither gullet fit

Anyhow don’t buy any pad until you buy your own horse and your own saddle for that horse. Then see what you need.

It’s really tempting to buy pads in advance but a good way to waste money on something you don’t end up using.


a shimmable half pad is a useful piece of equipment to own. I personally own a Mattes. I don’t like memory foam myself, due to the fact that is just compresses. I don’t find it to be very effective.

*editing due to a typo


Thank you for your reply! Definitely won’t be purchasing anything until I have a horse. I sold most of my decent stuff when I sold my last horse and I started this training gig. I use my Devoucoux on lots of horses and always have some type of half pad on. I also can tell if my saddle has rubbed the horse incorrectly since we ride for several hours at a time.

Unfortunately, adjusting my saddle for each horse, including my own, with a saddle fitter isn’t realistic which is why I’m exploring others experiences with half pads. I have some experience with saddle fitters showing me the areas of concern and what I’m looking for to ensure a decent fit.

I’m a bit old school and liked the thought of wool but also like the idea of shims that can be adjusted according to that specific horses back

We have TBs that we’ve had for years and others that hang around a season or 2, with a total of 9-10 horses at any one time, so I’m cycling through horses regularly. Me owning a horse gives me a bit more consistency but I will still be rotating through others regularly as well. We ride for hours up and down rocky hills, over trappy jumps and ditches but allow for down time after the season so you can imagine the fluctuation in muscle. This is why I’m looking into half pads, It seems a more economical way to accommodate the horses, especially during the different times of the year.

I’m with you on memory foam, when it compresses over long period of time. It doesn’t hold its shape as well. I have seen those foams that have sealed holes and so they don’t ever compress and stop giving it turn hard. I also like gel. Seems to distribute the weight and pressure at different points really well. Same with felt or wool.

You want a mattes sheepskin (the real one, not the “gold” fake one) with shim pockets.


Sheepskin with 6 shim pockets and/ or a Prolite 6 shim. I have both and use both for different horses/ situation. The sheepskin gives a different feel/ is thicker than the Prolite


So my opinion differs a bit with regard to sheepskin. I currently use a full sheepskin Thinline on top of a baby pad for the sake of shock absorption and promoting a better fit until I get a saddle custom to my horse. The thickness has actually been pinching my horse’s shoulder. I’m downgrading to a cotton Thinline that isn’t as thick. It’s still shimmable.

1 Like

The more I’m reading these responses it seems a bit like the thinner the better overall, though no situation is created equal of course. The Equifit has worked really well over the last couple of years and held up with heavy use 1-2x a week. I think that’s why I’ve gravitated towards the Devoucoux options along with considering going back with an Equifit. The women I ride for has 3/4" or 1" felt pad she uses but that doesn’t work for my short legs.

I’m hesitant with Sheepskin as I’ve had it before and didn’t mind it. I had a Fleeceworks with shims for my horse but it was a lot of work to keep clean and I’m not sure it’s practical for hunting. We have wet muddy days and my saddle naturally leaves marks, my slight OCD struggles with that haha.

My independent saddle fitter is a huge proponent of minimalist half pads, like the SaddleRight leather half pads or Thinline pads. She says anything that claims to have “shock absorbing” power are either too thick/affect the fit of the saddle or are just pure marketing scams. I really like the way the SaddleRight sits with the wither clearance.


Oh great! I’ll check them out. Glove leather or suede? Do they both hold up well?

Equifit seems a lot like Thinline as well.

Glove leather type. Super durable!

1 Like

Oh great, I’ll look into them. Thank you for the feedback!

I love my Winderen shimmable half pad. The inserts are wool and there are six pockets, three thicknesses of shim for each pocket. It’s also beautiful. I have the brown one so it never looks grimy like my old white half pads.


Just keep in mind for hunting some things don’t work that would work for shorter rides. I’m really hesitant to use anything synthetic for three to four hours of riding.


That’s where I’m at. Again wool is good and also leather, but gel seems like a good alternative if you have to go synthetic since it seems to hold its shape well.

Oh ok, I’ll check them out! I’m not a fan of black and white is so pretty but so hard to keep clean. I love anything brown/tan since that’s very hunter-esque :sweat_smile: this sounds like a great option and like someone else mentioned, riding for long periods of time doesn’t always work well with synthetic.

1 Like

The sizing on these is generous. I got the larger one for my 17.5 saddle, but the smaller one would have been fine, maybe even better.

1 Like

I’m a big fan of the pro-lite pad with the 6 shimmable pockets. Personally not the biggest fan of equifit’s products because I’m in a colder climate, so the foam hardens if you don’t have a heated place to keep it (or leave it on a saddle rack for too long before racking up).


Oh that makes sense. I’m in TN so that’s not as big of a concern but I’m from MN and it was there so what we used mattered.

I’ll check out the pro-lite!

1 Like