September 21, 2016

The Disintegrating Saddle Pad

The saga with ThinLine continues and has now turned me off of the brand for good. If you recall, I had noticed a full thickness rub on the sides from where the stirrup leathers met the pad. It was the size of a quarter and the underlying wool was coming through.

Rubbing from the stirrup leather created a hole in the fabric
Their response was less than stellar given that a) the pad was only 2 years old with 200 competition miles on it, washed 3 times by hand and air dried and b) I had written to them after the Biltmore 100 giving them a rave review of the pad and how wonderful it had performed. In fact, they were so happy with my letter that they featured it on their blog.

Anyway, the response was that they were unfamiliar with the needs of the endurance community (even though the pad is sold as an endurance specific pad) and sent me two pieces of the ThinLine material to figure out what to do with on my own. It arrived quickly, but was thick and bulky and mostly useless.

I went about my merry life planning to use this current pad for conditioning and break out the new one Dusty had gotten me back in April for competitions which would buy me a lot of time until I would need to figure out what to do.

But then last night happened.

Gem has been extra sweaty this summer and with a competition in only 1 1/2 weeks, I thought it would be a good idea to take the pad home with me Sunday and wash it. I stashed it away in a closet (bad idea BTW - that closet now reeks!!) and pulled it out last night to hand wash in the bath tub under cold water.

I got it wet and began to run my hands lightly through the wool to loosen the fibers and break up the sweat and grime. Imagine my horror when I pulled my hand away and a big glob of wool came with it!!

I ran my fingers through again and even more came out and thus ended my endeavor to wash the pad. I pulled it out of the tub and my heart sank when I saw this:

The entire sheepskin just melted away and was gone
I think the video below should work. It shows how extremely lightly I pulled to get the pad to just fall apart. 

I threw the soaking wet pad into a trash bag and went to stew on the couch. I briefly thought about contacting the company, but to what end? They have been zero help with anything else and I know what they will say. The sweat melted the sheepskin. I get that. But at $350 this is a top of the line pad being marketed specifically to endurance riders. No way would I ever purchase another.

Thankfully, I have the back up, brand new pad to use next weekend or I would be in a big bind. I don't know what pad I will try next, but it for sure will not be a ThinLine product.


  1. For what it's worth, I LOOOOOOVE my Matrix Woolback and have had it for almost 3 years now! No issues with washing either. :) I don't have inserts for mine but you do have a variety of inserts to choose from and it's still less $$ than the Thinline even with with inserts.

    1. I will definitely look into it. I have been eyeing up the new JenX pads as well. I hopefully won't need to buy a new one for at least a year or so if my back up pad lasts as long as this one did which is good because I'm all out of horse funds for the moment.

  2. I like my Equipedic and my husband loves his Skito pads, so I'd recommend either of them. The nice thing about sheepskin is that it shifts and allows the saddle to move and not drag the horses skin with it, but I usually keep a baby pad between the horse and the sheepskin. I wanted to buy one of those nice sheepskin endurance pads, but hesitated as they're so hard to clean. I do think you should try contacting them and letting them know what happened to the pad. Also let whatever company you ordered the pad from know. They might not refund you, but they should care and they may be able to reach out to thin line as a vendor and express their concern.

    1. I emailed them the next day and no reply. I bought directly from ThinLine. Equip edit is on my short list as is Sktio and JenX.

  3. What a bummer! Thanks for sharing.

    1. I was pretty bummed and more so that the company is ignoring me.