Padding out a Harness?

Quick question! My custom IVC harness finally arrived :partying_face: I upgraded to the wider saddle for better weight distribution (it’s also padded and raised over the spine), and upgraded the breastcollar to the mid-V for a more comfortable fit around her shoulders and windpipe.

Having made these modifications, is it necessary to also add fleece padding in both these spots under the harness? The woman I’ve been taking lessons with is offering to sell me a set of her used pony-sized fleece pads (keep in mind, my mare is a mini) and - as much as my horse’s comfort is important to me - it just looks like a lot of material that’s going to potentially cause the harness to fit not as well as intended. I’m very happy with the fit of the harness as it is now.

My inclination is to say, “Thanks but we’re good!” … I’d just like to be able to back that up with something as I’m fully expecting her comeback is going to be something along the lines of, “Well you’re going to have issues if your harness starts pinching/rubbing your pony”. So, is it okay not to use padding?

Well fitted harness needs no padding. Especially the fur covered types that tend to squash thin when in use. If you are happy with how the harness fits now, it is possible that adding pads, wrong sized pads, WILL mess up the fit!

Lots of folks like the added touch of color, buy padding because they think it makes harness more comfortable. In most cases the pads are cheaply made, do not stay in place well, do not help the fit improve for comfort. More hindrance than help! I see lots of filthy ones, on which crusty dirt can’t feel real good.

Great idea to get the wider saddle, spreads out shaft weight over a bigger area for comfort.

We have the waffle material for our marathon harness, breastcollar pads. They are relatively thin in construction, no real padding, just folded fabric. The waffle stuff allows sweat to leave, some air flow, a bit of cushion when they “hit” the breastcollar in canter or gallop work. You have a hard time keeping constant tension on traces in the canter, so they can take up or gain slack then.

No padding except folded leather in the parts construction on the dress-up harness. It fits well, padding is not needed.


A waffle material would be more appealing, but this is just a big wad of old fleece. I think she’s assuming I’ve got something similar to what she has me learning on (basic straight breastcollar, no raised saddle, and very well-loved) whereas in reality that’s not the case at all.

Anyway, thanks for providing some clarity … sounds like “Thanks but no thanks!” is the way to go here :grin:

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Just say no to the big old wad of hot fleece!

I use as thin gel pad under my marathon saddle, mostly to keep it a bit cleaner and to help with distributing pressure under all the hard yanks and pulls that come with doing hazards. I used to have a waffle chest piece, to add color for marathon and help with those hard changes in direction on marathon, but I bought a Camptown freedom breast plate which is leather lined and padded in addition to it’s different shape so no padding needed even on marathon.

But the presentation harness (closer to average driving) never has any added padding, at home or at shows.

In short, as said above, good harness rarely needs extra padding, and if you do need it, it should not be a hot, sweaty, hair clogged mess, it should be breathable!


What does the mini say? I have one that prefers padding even though his harness was professionally fitted.