Do I really need a pad?

In Saddle Fitting, a very common question asked.  And it is a very common misconception that half pads are only used for bad fitted saddles.  In the contrary.  At ThinLine we believe every saddle should fit in love for your horse.  Half pads are used primary for shock-absorption!  Not only as a Saddle Fitting Solution.

Find some basic saddle fitting tips steps below.  Saddle fitting is much more than this though, but it gives an idea.  Not speaking about shape changes during riding and movement, weight impact, locomotion etc.


Saddle Fitting Solutions - Basic SaddleFit Test
Saddle Fitting Solutions – Basic SaddleFit Test

How can I make my saddle fit better?

Whether it is a minor adjustment in lift, balance, filling in one shoulder more than the other, fixing a bridging problem or just controlling saddle slip, there is a ThinLine Saddle Fitting solution for all your saddle fitting needs.

See all benefits from ThinLine Here: Why ThinLine?


What makes ThinLine different from all others?

    • Superior 95% shock-absorption
    • Improves horse movement
    • Reduces Rider movement
    • Keeps your balance in the saddle
    • Option to use shims
Saddle Fittings Solutions - Shock  Absorbing Results
Differences between riding with or without ThinLine Pads

Saddle Fitting Solutions – Why and when using Shims?

Shims are used to aid a fit to a saddle.  We understand that horses can change their shape monthly, take advantage of our shims to help accommodate for developing horses, rehab horses, or when riding multiple horses in the same saddle.  

So in all this development, you are always able to balance your saddle correctly in every situation.  Shims can provide solutions for:


Why do you use a half pad under saddle?

Basically we can say that half pads are used primary for shock-absorption and if you select the right half pad, create more freedom for your horse. 

There is where ThinLine comes in and why we have developed a half pad that is giving 95% shock-absorption AND gives the ability to shim the pad where needed.


What about our Shims as a Saddle Fitting Solution?

Saddle Fitting Solutions - ThinLine Saddle Pad Shim
ThinLine Saddle Pad Shim

Our pads and shims (made of the same amazing material as our pads) have been designed by master saddlers for English and Western Saddles.  A Saddle Fitting Solution for every need!

Every pad on our site, except our basic pads, has a pocket for shimming to create perfect saddle fit. Many top riders use ThinLine alone, without shims, to protect horse and rider backs.

Any time you use a shim to correct or alter a fit, be sure to check and recheck your saddle and shims regularly.

If you are using the shim to correct a saddle fit problem, the horse’s muscles should recover, and will, therefore, change shape again.” –The Horse’s Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit book by Joyce Harman, DVM MRCVS

All our shims are created to establish a perfect fit and it can be cut to the exact size or you can follow the cutlines in the pad. 

Our shims fit in a pocket available in each pad.  It can be used as:

    1. Full shim: to lift the saddle completely
    2. Front lift: balance the saddle in front
    3. Bridging: possible to cut exact to size where bridging occurs.
    4. Rear lift : balance the saddle in the rear
    5. Wither Free: Cut the top to create extra wither freedom (red zone in image)
ThinLine Shims
ThinLine Shims Options

How Does ThinLine affect Saddle Movement?

Tests done on movevement in the saddle
Tests done on movement in the saddle

Most visually notable is how much better the saddle, and therefore the rider, stays in close contact with the horse.

When pads are moving, up, down, left, right, we can only imagine how much more challenging for the horse it is to have this instability they must carry.

ThinLine does an amazing job of keeping you close and connected to your horse.  Thousands of riders will tell you how their horses’ performance improves just by adding a ThinLine Pad.


What Master Saddlers are Saying about ThinLine and its Saddle Fitting Solutions?

SMS master saddle fitters

So many horses improve top-line muscle tone by using ThinLine Master Saddlers such as Cordia Person (CSF) educate saddle fitters on how to shim with ThinLine.  

For custom saddles, fitters like Cordia, recommend Basic Ultra ThinLine Pads to protect backs and keep saddles fitting until the next check.  

ThinLine will not alter the fit of a custom saddle due the density of the material.  All ThinLine pads come with a pocket to add shims.


Saddle Fitting Solutions explained

Some Common Conformation issues, how to resolve saddle fit:

High or peaked wither

Any ThinLine Western Shimmable pad or English Shimmable Pad will solve your problem. Horses with profoundly peaked withers also have a hollow point at the shoulder: Often the source of saddle fit troubles.

ThinLine Shimmable pads provide gullet and wither clearance. Add ThinLine Inserts and your saddle will rest properly at the withers with additional support for hollow areas.

Mutton Wither

Saddles pitch, roll or slip forward? Non-Slip might be the first reason you purchase ThinLine but the noticeable improvement in comfort for your horse is what will really make you happy. We suggest a Basic ThinLine Pad.  Or any ThinLine halfpad without shims.

Sway Back

Bridging Shims are the answer. Stack them then remove layers as your horse develops stronger back muscles. To retain the good muscle on the top line you’ve developed continue using your ThinLine without the shims.  

For more information see: Saddle Fitting the Sway Backed Horse.
Saddle Fitting Solutions for the best saddle pad below!

Riser Pads

If you need to lift the back (cantle) of your saddle adding a rear shim to a ThinLine saddle fit pad is your answer. With lift pads be sure you are protecting your horse at the wither shoulder and trapezoid muscles. ThinLine can do all this for you.


Saddle Fitting Solutions for Equine Sore Backs

Kissing Spine Disease

Veterinarians endorse ThinLine

Often the culprit of poor saddle fit. Sore backs are one of the primary reasons for soundness issues.

Veterinarians recommend ThinLine for horses with sore backs and as a preventative measure and as part of their therapy.

Burlington Equine Veterinary Services VT:

Specialising in KSD (Kissing Spine Disease) treatment, among others recommend the ThinLine+ Basic Therapeutic Pad.

ThinLine has received accolades from top riders, publications, surgeons, Saddle Fitters, Veterinarians, Chiropractors, Equine Massage Therapist, and of course horses and riders.


A few endorsements …

Peter Horobin / StrideFree Saddles

Peter Horobin / StrideFree Saddles is a firm believer that ThinLine is the best pad out there!  Next to the amazing saddles they create, every horse benefits from a ThinLine Pad in all disciplines!  Check out there saddles here: StrideFree Saddles


Saddle Fit 4 Life

Premier Saddler in Canada, Schleese Saddlery, is so confident ThinLine does more for horses and endorse ThinLine pads all over the world. Saddle Fit 4 Life.


Dover Saddlery

dover saddleryDover Saddlery is so confident ThinLine does more for horses they designed they endorse using ThinLine, using the Full Sheepskin Pads.  Protects every inch of saddle. 

And above all, next to endorsements, people do the real talking!  Check our reviews here!

felt barrel saddle fit pad

Easy Safe Saddle Fit

All ThinLine pads, except the basic pads, have an opening at the centre bottom to easily slide in an insert. 


Saddle Fitting Inserts

sms society of master saddlers

Saddle Fitting Inserts (also called shims) are made of our amazing shock absorbing foam and are manufactured with a 45-degree angle edge to ensure there is never a pressure point.

Sold in Pairs. Stack inserts to increase lift. Once muscle tone improves simply remove the insert and keep riding in your ThinLine pad protecting your horses’ back.  

Click here for English Shims 
Click Here for Western Shims


The ThinLine Promise!

Regardless of your saddle fitting issue, there is a ThinLine solution to the problem.  We thrive to have a solution for every saddle problem.  From stirrup wraps to seat savers, reins etc.

With ThinLine on every Saddle Pad you are certain, even when your saddle has a custom fit, you are delivering the protection and comfort they need.