Saddle Fitting Solutions
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 solution for all your saddle fitting needs.
Using our saddle pads and shims (made of the same amazing material as our pads) have been designed by master saddlers for English and Western Saddles. Every pad on our site, except our basic pad, has a pocket for shimming to create perfect saddle fit. Many top riders use ThinLine alone, without shims, to protect horse and rider backs. 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.
All ThinLine pads, except the basic pads, have an opening at the centre bottom to easily slide in an insert. Our 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 created by the shim. Shims are available in the ThinLine Ultra (3/16″) and ThinLine Plus (1/4″). They can even be stacked inserts to increase lift. Once muscle tone improves simply remove the insert and keep riding in your ThinLine pad protecting your horses’ back.
We always recommend working closing with a certified Saddle Fitter if you think you may be having saddle fit issues. It is important to have your saddle fitted at least once a year. Horses are dynamic and depending on their age and training they may gain or lose muscle mass throughout the year. It is a first place to check if you are noticing behavioural problems or resistance under saddle. If you notice your horse is having trouble building muscle in their topline, that can be another sign for saddle fit issues.
All ThinLine Saddle pads with the Ultra ThinLine sewn over top of a base pad are shimmable! We have a set of shims designed to fit perfectly in each individual saddle pad. Having options of Front Shims, Bridging Shims, Rear Shims in two different thicknesses of the Ultra ThinLine of (3/16″) and the ThinLine Plus of (1/4″) the options are unlimited. We also offer the Booster Full Shim which will bring your Ultra ThinLine panels up to the 1/4″ ThinLine Plus even thickness.
“Shims can provide solutions for:
- Professional’s who ride many horses
- High Wither or High Crouped horses
- Riding schools or camps where there are a limited number of saddles to fit an ever-changing population of horses
- seasonal changes in your horse’s shape.
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 (We highly recommend adding the book to your library!)
Adding Front Shims can be helpful for horses and riders who are dealing with saddles slightly too wide, front panels are too thin, or if their saddles needs to be reflocked in the front. Front shims can also help a saddle that is tipping down and forward towards the pommel (front) either due to conformation (built downhill) or saddle fit.
Horses can sometimes be one-sided in their training and it will show muscle development. This can end in uneven shoulders and backs which lead to troubles for saddle fitting. If this is happening to your horse, we recommend working closely with a Certifed Saddle Fitter, a Trainer and ThinLine Shims to help correct uneven muscling and promote straightness to improve your horse’s soundness.
Your horse’s conformation can play a large roll in saddle fit as well. We have some recommendations on saddle pads and shim for when fitting these challenges for you to help find a better balance in the saddle.
Withers can look profoundly peaked withers if they have hollow point at the shoulder from muscle atrophy, as they work on developing their top line. For horses who are working on building a topline and have large withers due to atrophied muscles. We would recommend adding Front ThinLine Shim and your saddle will rest properly at the withers with additional support for hollow areas. If your saddle isn’t getting enough clearance over the withers, a Front ThinLine Shim or a Full Booster Shim might be your answer to create more comfortable lift for your saddle without losing the balance.
For horses that have true natural large withers, they will need Rear ThinLine Shims to help balance the saddle. By lifting the back (cantle) of your saddle adding a rear shim to a ThinLine saddle fit pad is your answer
These horses may be comfortable bareback but can be tricking to keep a saddle on! Saddles often pitch, roll or slip forward on this shape of horses. The Non-Slip feature might be the first reason you purchase ThinLine but the noticeable improvement in comfort for your horse is what will really make you happy.
A sway back in a horse can develop for a number of reasons, including age, nutrition, and/or lack of topline. If your horse has a sway back, saddle fit can be a nightmare as most saddle will end up bridging. Bridging occurs when the saddle panels doesn’t make consistent contact with the horse’s back and puts too much pressure on the front and the back of the saddle. An easy solution to this issue is Bridging Shims. These shims can be stacked, depending on the drop in your horses back. Easy to remove 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.
If you don’t have the budget for a custom saddle when fitting your downhill built horse, a ThinLine Saddle pad with Front shims is the way to go. Balance your saddle by using Front Shims on your English or Western Pad. The bevelled edges of our shims, allow for streamline comfort for your horse.