Model: Ultra Thinline Trifecta Comfort Pad
Category: English Saddle Fittings/Pads
Purchase: I have a TB with very high withers who is sensitive in his back area due to a few kissing spines (2 of them). Also, I recently bought a dressage saddle that fit him very well, but had slight bridging and could do another half-inch of clearance at the withers. I used to have a Mattes correction pad but did not want to spend $210. I bought this item new for $130.00 on ebay. I also bought 3 sets of shims at $21 each (front, back, bridging shims).
Likes: I really like the Thinline material. It feels like it will absorb some of the shock, unlike the Mattes shims. which were really just felt liners. Also, the shims are so much easier to put in than the Mattes pad, and because of the material - which "sticks" to the cotton pad and themselves - don't shift while riding. I don't notice a huge difference in my horse but the pad has eliminated the bridging.
Dislikes: The pad is marketed as "spine free" but it is not spine free. There is clearly a spine where the two sides of the pad are sewn together in the middle. I also wish the pads came with some kind of a connector like the Mattes pads, which pulls the spine of the pad into the saddle gullet so it is lifted off your horse's spine. Also unlike the Mattes pad, the shims are just ONE - not multiple, so you really can't adjust it as much as the Mattes pad. At $21 a pop, this would get pricey fast if you need more than 1 shim per section (e.g., 2 layers of front shims).
Quality: The pad seems to be very well constructed, but some of the stitching is sub-par (uneven, loose, etc), so I hope it lasts. The thinline material is soft but rubberlike so I do not think it will compress, tear, or break down in any way.
Summary: Overall, the thinline material seems much more effective at distributing pressure/weight than the Mattes pad and the pad is worth the price. I do wish it incorporated a true "spine free" design and some kind of mechanism to retain the pad in the saddle gullet.
Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
4 reader(s) voted.
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