My Favorite Saddle Pad

Back on Track no longer makes the Contender II Saddle pad with the ThinLine padding on the top. This is my favorite saddle pad from over 50 years of riding, it has room for 6 shims, the BOT material relaxes the horses’ backs, and the horses seem grateful when I put it on them.

I was lucky I checked the BOT site out today since I had been sort of planning to get some more since mine are several years old. I found some places on-line that still have some and I went ahead and ordered 2 more while some were still for sale on-line. The regular BOT saddle pads are still available, but I think that the horses I ride appreciate the extra shock absorption that the ThinLine top gave to the pad.

I LOVE my Contender II saddle pads, the horses seem to like them, so of course they are no longer made. At least I had enough money saved up to buy them while they are still available.

It had never occurred to me that they would stop making such a wonderful and useful saddle pad! Story of my life, I really like some horse gear and often the company stops making it.

Now I just have to find more shims for them.



Thank you @imbassetma, I ordered two more for when my older ones wear out.

This pad is what originally got me into the BOT and other far-infrared radiation therapeutic gear. I was changed to a lesson horse who had just come to the stable, an Arabian gelding.

He was pretty nice but right behind the saddle I felt something wrong, the push from his hind legs was stalling out behind the saddle and not going to my hands no matter how much I used my legs, even when I went up to slight touches with my spurs. I went on line trying to find something I could buy to make him better in my lessons and I ran into the BOT stuff. Since, with my MS my balance is BAD I went to the Contender II saddle pad to protect his back if I lost my balance and plopped down in the saddle, hoping that the the ThinLine on it would lessen the shock to his back.

The night it arrived my lower back started giving me a FIT spasming. Normally this took several days to pass. I felt my back, put the BOT saddle pad on my bed, leaned back on it, and my back pain went away and did not come back for months.

I was a convert.

I am very fond of this saddle pad, it has helped me and the horses I ride be so much more comfortable. I am SO GLAD I was able to get replacement ones because the horses I ride like it so much.


Sniff. I just got an e-mail from Tack Warehouse–they cannot fill my order, they have no more of these pads, they cannot get any more of them, these pads are gone, gone, gone.

I hit Ebay. None there either.

I guess I will have to get creative, however I really do not like riding on two pads at once. Because of my bad side-to-side balance I do not like feeling way above the back of the horse or the feeling of shifting saddle pads.

The Contender II saddle pad was just about perfect for my purposes since I now just ride lesson horses, usually elderly lesson horses. The therapeutic benefits of the Back on Track pad, the shock absorption of the ThinLine on it, and the remedial saddle fit benefits of the ThinLine shims, all in one convenient pad that the horses LIKED instead of just putting up with it.


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I use the thinline shimmable pad on top of my regular pad because my horse loves it. It’s not bulky or slippery at all you might like it!

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Agree Jackie, the old school back on track pads were/are my favourites. Just the normal material ones, no shim needed for me. I loved that they used to come in grey, navy, white and black. Now you can only get them black and white, passable but it doesn’t make my heart as happy.

Edited to add, with the heat and humidity we’ve been having I recently dug out an older ecogold XC pad that had sunk to the bottom of the saddle pad pile. I love it! Study enough that it doesn’t flap or bunch, but it seems to be nicely breathable and cool(er) on their back.

I took my money elsewhere.

I went to Fenwick to order their Western pad. Just about all the school horses I ride have “something” NQR behind the cantle of my saddle, this pad covers that part and makes the horses more comfortable. Luckily I went to order more of them today, and guess what, they are going to be discontinued too. They had them on sale and I bought 2 more.

These pads have a non-slip top so I have some hope that the BOT Trifecta pad I also ordered plus their big cut-out-the-shim-I-need, will stay in place without much trouble.

This was more expensive for me, but at least I am prepared if my Contender II saddle pads wear out, plus if I go ride at another stable I can use my own saddle–my Pegasus Butterfly saddle NEEDS to be on a shimmable pad with the elderly lesson horses I ride otherwise the saddle will roll on the horse’s back.

So I have the shimmable ThinLine Trifecta pad to use on my non-slip Fenwick pads, and I hope this works out for me when I need to move on from my current pad set-up. Since the Trifecta pad won’t be against the horse’s coat with this set up I can just move it from one horse to another so I won’t have to buy more than one. They are expensive.

I’m just glad I have been saving my spending money so I could afford all this stuff.

Our bottomless and endless cornucopia we have been used to may be OVER. From now on if I see something I want and I have the money I better get it immediately before it disappears forever.

I had e-mailed BOT asking if they would make the Contender II saddle pads again.


If you have one take care of it.

When I realized I would not be able to replace my BOT/ThinLine Contender II saddle pad I started looking for anything I could use that could replicate the effect.

I got into the Fenwick LT Western pad a while ago (Far-infrared radiation therapy from titanium), and all this time I had been wishing that they set their pads up with the ThinLine cushioning. Now, since the easy alternative is disappearing, I decided to see what I could work out.

I got two more of the Fenwick Western pads (now discontinued), and from ThinLine I got their Trifecta shimmable pad, their 1/4" “cut your own shim”, and their 1/4" Contour Pad. Since I can use the ThinLine pads on top of the Fenwick pad I may have an answer.

Tuesday I will get to find out in my lesson.

Will the ThinLine pad make my lesson horse’s jack-hammer slow trot more rideable? Will the ThinLine pad give his back enough protection so that he finally relaxes his back?

This horse is 28 years old, previously used 8 hours a day at a “lesson factory” jumping (thus his navicular disease) and he is pretty set in his ways. Sometimes, on a really good day, he will relax his back muscles enough so I can sit down for 2 strides but it is still jarring my back. He developed this defense of tightening all his back muscles decades ago to protect his sensitive back, and at a 30 minute ride a week it will take me a LONG time to convince him that stuff just got better. Right now I am just hoping that his jarring trot will be cushioned enough so I can sit for three strides instead of just two strides on his good days.

I’ll update after my lesson.