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Corrective Padding

Corrective Padding

Corrective Padding

Saddle trees are built to fit most horses, with average conformations or common issues addressed with corrective padding, which makes choosing the right saddle pad for your horse vital.

For most horses we recommend a 3/4 inch pad, in wool, fleece, or TackyToo. 3/4 inch is the perfect amount of padding for most horses, enough to help distribute weight and cushion the saddle without being too heavy or holding too much heat.

Below we have corrective saddle pad recommendations from our experts based on different conformations and saddle fit issues.

Common Conformation Issues


In this example the horse has a swayback which will cause the saddle to bridge (meaning the bars will make contact at the ends but not at the center). Bridging puts extra pressure on the front and rear of the bars and can cause excess pressure or rubbing as the full bars can't work to distribute weight evenly.

This is most common in older horses, young horses, and horses who are not conditioned, but can be solved with a swayback pad or by adding a bridge pad.

See Bridge Pad


If your horse's wither is very prominent it may be a sign that your horse has hollows behind the shoulder, causing the wither to look extremely narrow. Generally, this indicates a lack of muscle behind the shoulder blade.

You can view this by looking alongside your horse, and can solve it with a shoulder bridge pad, which will fill in the 'hollow' area and allow the bars of the saddle to make better contact for optimal weight distribution.

Swayback and Hollows

It's possible for a horse to have both a swayback and hollows behind their shoulders. This can happen with young horses who haven't built their muscle yet, older horses, or horses who have not been conditioned to maintain those muscles.

Both of these issues together will lead to excess pressure and rubbing by your saddle, so you will need a pad that fills both, like a long shoulder bridge pad or a pad with space for multiple shim pockets, like the Multi-Fit pads from Reinsman.


Asymmetry is a common issue with horses, especially with horses who have a preferred side. Over time that side will build more muscle and end up wider than the weaker side. To correct, fit the saddle to the wider shoulder and use a shim pad to even the weaker side. Without correction, this can cause the saddle to pull or even roll and can rub or put excess pressure on your horse's back.


Horses are considered built 'downhill' when their haunches are set higher. This can put excess pressure on your horse's withers and can cause the saddle to slide as the saddle won't be able to set 'correctly' into place. You can correct this with specialty pads that are built up in the front, which will even the bars so your saddle will sit level.

The Reinsman MultiFit4 pad is great for this, it lets you customize your padding.

Prominent Spine

A level topline, where the wither and croup are around the same height is ideal. For some horses, we'll see this but the spine will be more prominent than is ideal which can cause rubs that will be very uncomfortable, especially for long trails and rough terrain.

We recommend a spine relief pad, which has cutouts that protect your horse's spine and prevent rubs.

Round Back

A common issue with horses with very wide backs is that the saddle will roll. When the withers are very round and flat it can be hard for the saddle to settle into a secure position, which can cause rubs on the horse and instability for the rider.

The MPR Withermaker pads are made to address this by giving the bars of the saddle somewhere to rest and eliminating pressure points.


Over Padding

While we zoom in on padding here, it's important to keep in mind that too much of a good thing can be just as much of a problem as too little. Over padding can not only cause more discomfort for your horse, it can put your horse in danger of injury and even yourself in danger, as over padding often leads to the saddle sitting too high and subsequently rolling. Even if the saddle doesn't roll, too much padding creates more pressure points and impedes communication with your horse - riders can't feel their horses as well and horses can't feel their riders as well, meaning any communication or cues have to be 'louder' when there's too much padding.

Corrective padding is designed to correct proper tree fit, it cannot change the overall fit of the saddle tree and trying to do so is dangerous. However, if the bars of your saddle fit properly, except for an issues like the ones highlighted above, corrective padding can make you and your horse much more comfortable so you can ride all day on any trail.

See Corrective Pads