Draw me a sheep(skin pad)

Sorry, literature fans, this post has nothing to do with The Little Prince. Although now I want to go back and read it for like the 200th time…

Image result for draw me a sheep

The subject of the day is sheepskin. Specifically sheepskin saddle pads. Extra-specifically saddle pads with sheepskin lining underneath the top half.

Shocker: Henry is a sensitive, delicate flower. Sometimes his coat decides that something in the universe has rubbed him the wrong way, and hair will start to fall out. Usually this is around the back edge of the saddle pad, several inches below his spine, although no area is immune. It’s worse in some pads (the spur rub pad that I use when he decides that my legs – sans spurs, I might add – are rubbing him the wrong way OF COURSE seems to be the pad that his back finds particularly offensive) and better in others, but none of them seem completely exempt. I control the progression of the rubs by using an assortment of powders and lubes, but still, at any given time there’s probably a rub on that horse SOMEWHERE from SOMETHING.

You could probably blame some of them on Presto if you want

I had a real problem with this at Coconino, where he had a bite mark on one side that sat right under my leg, so I had to use my spur rub pad to keep it from progressing. In turn, the spur rub pad itself rubbed a bunch of hair off of both sides of his barrel along the back edge of the pad, because Henny. And once it started, even switching to the Ogilvy pads (which are what I’ve had the most luck with for him) couldn’t stop it. I tend to play this game of musical saddle pads in the winter too, when he’s body clipped and therefore anything that touches him is a good reason for a rub. It’s why he has to wear HUG blankets. It’s a little ridiculous.

Every time the rubs occur, I feel like I have a bit of a gap in my arsenal of equipment. This was especially true at Coconino, when trying to stop one rub resulted in 3 more. At that point it became a battle to keep as much hair on him as possible, especially when I was riding him twice a day. I really found myself needing some good old fashioned sheepskin, something that I used to own but don’t anymore. It was kind of a PITA to own and maintain. Especially in Texas where it’s hot AF. But it is the best thing for the delicate flowers, and I think I’m at the point where I need something, some kind of sheepskin option to use when the random rubs try to emerge, even if I don’t use it all the time. Naturally, I started googling and quickly fell down a rabbit hole.

Image result for mattes eurofit jumping pad
Mattes $250ish
T3 Matrix Sheepskin Competition Pad
Toklat $364ish (explain?)
Pads with Purpose - Sheepskin Modified Jump/Cross Country
Fleeceworks $284

I like the contoured shape under my jump saddle, more like a cross country pad. The situation is a little complicated by the fact that I have two different types of saddles. I ride him more in the jump saddle (and I use that saddle for our longer conditioning rides, where he’s more likely to get rubs), but… would I need a dressage version too, to cover my bases? Anything sheepskin is expensive, naturally, although finding a dressage one isn’t as hard and they’re not as pricey.

LeMieux $143

The cheapest solution is to just get a sheepskin half pad and use it under the regular pads. I have some concerns about that setup sitting well on him, though, and ending up too bulky, or fitting well under one saddle but not the other. Both of those scenarios are a potential recipe for more rubs or maybe even backsoreness, which defeats the purpose. But maybe I’m being too paranoid and it would be fine? I guess I could just use the half pad by itself if I had to, although I don’t particularly want to.

So basically I think my options are:

  1. Buy just a sheepskin-lined jump pad (there are so many options, my eyes started to cross, so I quit googling. Which are your favorite contoured ones?) and hope that’s enough to curb the issue
  2. Buy a sheepskin-lined jump pad AND dressage pad, to cover all my bases (again, suggestions welcome on which ones)
  3. Buy a sheepskin half pad (dressage shape, I guess?) to use underneath the pads I’ve already got, and hope that doesn’t cause additional/different issues.

And the follow-up question to any of those – do I want them to be shimmable? I currently don’t have anything shimmable, so it would be a nice option to have with Presto coming up the pipeline since my saddles are fit to Henry, not to him. I don’t know that it’s totally necessary though.

I am a little overwhelmed with possibilities. I don’t really want to spend a lot of money on this, but I will if it keeps my horse happy and covered in the appropriate amount of hair. I could also just wait and see what I find while we’re in Europe next month. I dunno.

Image result for too many options gif

Help, the indecision is crippling.

27 thoughts on “Draw me a sheep(skin pad)

  1. I have a few of the Premiere Equine ones, a LeMieux one and an Eskadron sheepskin that goes under your existing pads and turns them into sheep lined ones. The lining on the LeMieux one is a little nicer than the PEI ones but I love the shape and cut of the PEIs. I’m not using any of these right now and if you want to try any of these let me know. I actually love the Eskadron but it uses the Velcro on the regular pads to stay in place.

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  2. I’ve had Mattes, Thinline and Fleeceworks sheepskin pads and I really do like them all. I currently ride Coco in a Thinline shimmable sheepskin half pad. She’s a little wonky and her right shoulder is a tad lower than her left so the shimmable was a non-negotiable. I ride Simon is one of those weird (to me) looking Mattes Euro pads. I hunt him in a Fleeceworks pad and he’s getting white spots on both sides of his withers so clearly something isn’t working. My trainer wants me to ride him with shims on the front to see if leveling out the saddle helps (he’s a 5yo OTTB and is still butt high, I guess he may stay butt high). He doesn’t act like anything hurts and the saddle seems to fit fine, so we shall see.
    If I were you I’d get shimmable. You ride more than one horse so having the option is really nice and saves you $ in the long run in the case you need something different from what will probably at least a $200 pad.

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  3. Here at my stable in Scotland, we use a lot of sheepskin lined pads (both full and half lined), and I’ve come to really like them. The Le Mieuxs are nice and seem to hold up well, though most are a random German brand I’d not heard of before.
    On the half pad front, one of my favorites is the Nuumed HiWither Shimmy pad. It’s not *too* bulky, only lined with wool on the bottom so it doesn’t have any uneven pressure, you can shim it, and it has more than enough clearance for my shark-finn-withered horse.

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  4. I bought a LeMieux half pad and I’m really happy with the quality, particularly for the price point.

    If I were needing to use sheepskin directly on his back and couldn’t use just the half pad, I would get one of the pads with the skeepskin lining. I don’t think a pad would sit very well over the half pad.

    Shims are a nice option. If you go with a Mattes pad (don’t buy a Fleeceworks, they’re way too flimsy), you can get the sheepskin lined pads with shims. Most companies offer half pads with shims. Ovation actually makes a nice quality sheepskin halfpad that is shimmable and it’s a lot less than the Mattes pads.

    I don’t know why the Toklat pads are more than Mattes. I think it may have to do with the fancy inserts, but not entirely sure.

    I know Stacie uses some sheepskin lined pads (from premier equine possibly). Please correct me if I’m wrong, Stacie. Not sure if they are shimmable.

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  5. Rasty would get rubbed by saddle pads-I got him a sheepskin half pad (can’t remember what brand) and it cleared up. I liked the half pad because I could use it under any saddle pad I owned with either of my saddles… Rasty did object to the kind that has no sheepskin along the gullet, if you know what I mean? He needed one that had sheepskin 100% everywhere on the bottom of the pad.

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  6. I have a mattes en route, but will be awhile, and have been using the Premier Equine ones on Shiny. I really like them! I also ordered a couple on ebay from FSS, but they will be awhile still. Premier Equine are relatively affordable, and they do have a navy/navy option which is nice. (Some of the color schemes there are awful.) I’ve tried all kinds of different pads at different times, and I just keep going back to sheepskin.
    You can sometimes find random pads like these on ebay for pretty cheap if you just want to get something to try. I got a black one that has no brand on there for around $40 that’s pretty decent.

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  7. For an affordable sheepskin pad, I really like the Professionals Choice Gina Miles pad I found at Riding Warehouse. I’m sure its not the nicest one around, but my sensitive boy really loves it.

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  8. I was going to stick to my normal routine of reading your posts in the evening, but the title was too good!! 🦊🤴🏼🐍🌹✈️

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    1. And as for your actual question, I always used option 3 — a sheepskin half pad under my normal pad. I found it was easy to wash in the machine because of the size. Because it gets really grimy really quickly, I invested in another one, so I’d alternate: one in use one in the wash.

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  9. As much as I love LeMieux products, I did not love the sheepskin half pad I bought and ended up selling it on. It just felt too stiff and bulky to me. Their straight-up saddle pads, I adore. You might want to check out their “Sensitive Skin” pads, which are lined with sheepskin all around the outside edge. Comes in jump or dressage shape. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with Mattes, imo; they are high quality and last a long time.

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  10. I think you’ve seen the Toklat custom one Faith Eventing had made for her special girl; I’m also curious if synthetic fleece would do a thing for Henry – Shires makes some “Supafleece” ones and their fake sheepskin is apparently a lot more convincing than most synthetics, and their partial and fully lined pads are pretty budget friendly and come in both shapes. I have a Lemieux Pro-Sorb half pad that I also find to be very nice for a budget friendly price – their shimmable full pads in the ProSorb line look really nice as well, but they don’t seem to make a jump pad that is lined with sheepskin. Honestly sheepskin against the horse kind of makes me shudder because I am the laziest person ever and hate cleaning things, especially things like sheepskin pads that seem to come to grief in a washer – I’d probably try the synthetic or a half pad, so I spend the least amount of money until I figure out what works.

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  11. If you end up going the half pad route, I’ve liked the Majyk Equipe Sheepskin half pad a lot. The split it the withers is nice and it is shimmable, which is awesome! Sadly I’m selling mine because it just doesn’t work with the panel configuration of my saddle, but I think the size would work for both a jumping and dressage saddle. My jump saddle’s a 17.5 and there’s a little extra room, but not so much that it looks too big under the jump saddle.

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  12. I have a Premiere Equine merino wool based pad and it’s the best pad ever. It’s the bright orange one I have lol but it is the first pad I have ever owned that holds my saddle in place, no slipping. Recommend 10/10.

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  13. You might check into NSC USA saddle pads. Good prices, great products. I personally have a Le Miex dressage half pad that I have loved nearly to death, might have to buy a new sheepy soon… The saddle fitter who helped me with my mare’s saddle said to make sure to get a sheepy that comes down far enough in the front panels to fill any potential gaps; you don’t want empty space there under the panels. Here’s a link to NSC. Good luck! http://www.nationalsaddlecentreusa.com/product/full-sheepskin-pad/

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  14. I would go with Mattes, shimable, half pad. You can always ride without a pad over it when things are really bad. And a shimable pad is always a great thing to have in ones arsenal. 😉

    ALSO, if it doesnt work, it is the easiest thing to sell.

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  15. To throw another option out there….http://www.coopersridge.ca/
    I splurged on a full fleece half pad (in BROWN!)…that I don’t see on the site anymore…, with extra shims for Cosmo’s old man withers. He goes really well in it. I have no complaints. The owner is a nice guy and he’s coming up with new styles all the time.

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  16. If you’re going for sheepskin I truly think Mattes pads/Girths can’t be beaten.

    I have both and the quality is exceptional, and it’s all custom for size, colour, details and sheepskin placement.

    I order mine through Hufglocken and they are super at keeping you in the loop when ordering, and waiting, for it to arrive

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  17. I bought one from Calevo in Germany of their own brand. No complaints! The price would be a little over $100, shipped. No fancy options though, but for an everyday schooling pad the price is great!

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  18. It might be worth looking into the Griffin Nuumed pads, especially since you’re going across the pond relatively soon. I don’t know if they have exactly what you’re looking for, but they’re very popular in the UK and I like my regular saddle pads from them.

    And if they don’t have exactly what you want, I just saw that they can make custom pads too, starting at 9 GPB more than the original pad price! https://nuumed.com/content/6-custom-made

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