The reasons for the way the BALANCE Pads are designed and made.

The pad that goes directly against the horse is very important and needs to provide some protective cushioning, the ability to regulate body heat, and the ability to wick away sweat.  

There are many high tech materials around, but as is so often the case, when the horses themselves are asked for an opinion, the material that seems to fit the bill more often than not, is natural wool, in the form of a fleece pile.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule and very occasionally, we come across a horse who dislikes the feel of wool and then an alternative needs to be offered.  However, this is unusual and therefore, BALANCE saddles are usually 'fitted' with a wool-fleece, lined saddle pad to go directly onto the horse.

This pad is always an equal depth/thickness through its length, but we do offer two different choices of thickness because some horses want more padding than others.  The pad will lift the saddle up and off the horse's back a little, but it will not impact on the front to back balance of the saddle.

The way this pad is designed and made is very important and as with every product that has the BALANCE logo on it, a lot of thought has gone into the materials used and the design details.

For example.

Our Wool-Fleece-Lined pads are a made in a generous shape and size to make it easy for riders to avoid the panels of their saddles sitting on any of the edges of the pad

They have a very good contour along the spine, to respect the natural shape of the horses structures. This requires a lift at the front and we also have our pads made with a little lift at the back, which stops the firmer binding from sitting down onto the spineous processes behind the saddle.


Showing one of our Jump Squares with its 'Correct Contour' front and the little lift away from the spine at the back.


Showing the fleece under a BALANCE Pad

We always extend the fleece all the way down the front of the pad so that the horse gets the benefit of the fleece through the whole of the back of the shoulder, where there is a lot of movement and also to create a continuous feel. Many manufactures save money by not extending the fleece down the front, but this creates a bit of a break-point half-way down which a lot of horses don't like (if they are allowed a choice and to express an opinion).

The fixing Straps are sewn in to the front edge of the BALANCE Saddle Pads, to avoid pressure points from the webbing strap and its stitching, which is often seen on saddle pads right in the area of highest potential pressure under the saddle, which is the JB area.


See the evidence of pressure from fixing straps on the saddle pad used under this horse's saddle! The saddle must be much too narrow to have caused this degree of damage to the skin and underlying tissues,as can be seen by the other white hair.

For more than 25 years, we had worked with Griffin Nummed to produce BALANCE designed Saddle Pads. We appreciated the company owner/founder,Ian Pocock's own dedication to high quality products that don't cut any corners when addressing the comfort of the horse. After Ian died, it was wonderful that his wife, Rosie picked up the reins and carried on right up until 2018. After a short time of panic, when everyone thought the company was going to close we were so pleased when Thermatex took on the manufacturing and that relationship between Thermatex and BALANCE continues.

The BALANCE Pro-Complete Padding System


A BALANCE Pro-Complete Base Pad with a JB pad layers over (in contrasting colours to show better)

The extra pad under the front area of the saddle is the key to the success of the BALANCE Saddling System and the feature that time and again, transform horses from short striding, tense and resistant, to free moving, happy athletes!  One would never imagine something so seemingly simple and innocent could cause so much controversy in the saddle industry, and yet it so often does!!

There is more information about the way the JB Pad and the other Pro-Complete pads are used in this area of the website.

All of the Pro-Complete Pads are made using a high-tech, lightweight gel-foam, which provides the right combination of qualities that horses seem to like and get benefit from.

These include:

  • The right degree of softness, vs resilience.
  • The ability to recover fast enough between compressions, needed to keep up with the rapid muscle firing in the horses back muscles.
  • Protection from sheer forces
  • Consistency in the product qualities, even after many years of heavy use.
  • Closed cell structure does not absorb sweat which is good for hygiene and also makes it easy to wash and dry.

Please Note: Slow recovery (memory) foams will not work in the same way.

We have designed a range of Pro-Complete Pads in different thickness and shapes to create a very versatile, easy to use, layered/adjustable interface that riders use to fine tune the comfort and balance of an appropriate width of saddle.

For horses who are very well developed through their musculature and posture, the saddle often only needs to be slightly wider than the horse's static posture to have room to use one of the JB pads on top of a suitable saddle pad. It is amazing how much difference a 1/4 inch thick, Pro-Complete JB pad can make to a horse's comfort,and therefore, its ability to perform!

However, many horses demand more cushioning under the saddle than the wool-fleece pads can provide alone and for them, the BALANCE Pro-Complete Base Pad was designed.   In two thicknesses, it extends the protective quality of the closed cell foam along the full length of the saddle, but also has a built in JB pad at the front.

It is the combination of the wool-fleece next to the horse and then the closed cell foam layers between the saddle pad and the underside of the saddle that creates a dynamic and protective interface between the soft tissues of the horse and the structures of the saddle.

Whenever a rider gets onto the saddle his or her physical weight impacts on the horse.  The structure provided by a well-designed tree of an appropriate shape, length and width is important because it makes it easier to distribute the rider's weight over a larger area than can be achieved in a bareback pad or treeless saddle.  

However, where you have weight from the rider, you also have compression of the soft tissues in the horse's back.  The closed cell foam in the JB pad and the wool-fleece pads work together and act like a protective barrier for the horse.  Rather than the soft tissues of the back being directly compressed by the rider’s weight via the structures of the saddle, it is the materials in the pads that get compressed well before anything on the horse!

The Pad System was designed to make it as easy as possible to take horses through a Remedial Saddling Process. So many horses still have saddle related muscle loss caused by conventionally fitted saddles., as shown in the picture above. The BALANCE Pads and Pad System are wonderful for horse owners and more enlightened saddle 'fitters' who want to protect horses from saddle related damage.

The therapeutic BALANCE Padding System also offers several versions of what we call Remedial Pads. We usually see these as temporary pads that are used on occasions where a horse has become so compromised in its natural, healthy posture that a layer of the protective gel foam needs to provide some support under the back of the saddle or under the middle.   The long term solution to these problems has to lie in the correct training and management of the horse as it is usually in the training and management where the negative influences and the cause of the weak posture, have come from!!   However, there is no doubt that for some horses, the Remedial Pads provide what they need during the time of transition.

All of the pads have been designed, to offer very versatile options to fine tune to any horse.  The fact that they are a layered and adjustable system makes them easy to use.  Taking care of the horses saddling needs is not rocket science!   Unfortunately, there is a huge growth in complicated, expensive merchandise and diagnostic tools that are making some people a lot of money and that seem to suggest that ensuring that the horse is comfortable in its saddle is beyond the average rider.

This is simply not the case, and provided the rider has access to the tools he or she needs as in:

a) a well-designed saddle that is available in a good enough range of widths that go considerably wider than a conventional extra wide tree plus 

b) a simple, adjustable and layered range of pads in materials that offer what the horse needs and 

c) some simple principles and information about how to work with them, have a recipe for keeping the ridden horse healthy, happy, sound and performing well.

Client testimonials

  • I received my bit and I am thrilled with it!! It is for my mare, who has competed through Prix St. George but has been very hard to find a bit for. She has sharp bars, and despite every effort on my part, she has often had small bruises on the edges of her tongue.  I ride many horses and she is the only one this has happened to. I have been at a loss for what to change and how to make her comfortable. I was looking for a fairly thick bit that would be very stable in the mouth. The (BALANCE) Fulmer fits the bill and is working beautifully. It is really well designed and nicely made.

    Katie - United States

  • "The BALANCE lunge cavesson has worked wonders for my stressed, rushy, motorbike horse. Lunging used to closely resemble the wall of death!  It has changed her attitude towards her work and has relaxed,  strengthened and straightened her no end."

    Sarah - United Kingdom

  • "BALANCE, the time you continue to take for me, I am so touched. Thank you. The care and love you have for me, our horses, and horses around the world is astounding.  It takes time to  write thoughtful, caring, informative communications.  And, it is always just the right thing."

    Amy N. - United States

  • I can’t tell you how much I love my Zenith!!!  I went through 10 saddles in 6 years for my horse before I got my Zenith. Two were “custom” made for him. What a joke. I am on my 5th year with my Zenith and it is still perfect!!!  I cringe now when I see these very deep Dressage saddles with the huge thigh blocks. People ask me how I can ride in my Zenith with no thigh blocks and no deep seat. I say well now my horse is balanced and I don’t have to depend on the saddle to hold me. ☺️

    Melinda - United States

  • What can I say?  I love it!  The saddle and all of the accessories are great quality and look good but most importantly my horse is so comfortable that her stride has almost doubled, she glides round corners and works on the bridle with ease.  What a difference!

    Donna - Scotland