Your new Tad Coffin Saddle should accommodate a wide array of horses, if properly padded. Too much padding or too little padding will adversely affect the performance of the saddle. To help you with this, we have provided you with the following information:

Padding Your Saddle: Suggested Guidelines

1. Withers Clearance

padding_Step1There should be one finger’s width of clearance under the pommel (as shown) when the rider’s weight is in the saddle and the girth is properly tightened.

CAUTION: The under side of pommel must never rest on the top of the horse’s spine as this can cause serious injury. Wither clearance should be checked within the first moments of each and every ride. If the clearance is incorrect, discontinue the ride and adjust the padding.

More than a finger’s width of clearance on a low-withered horse is acceptable provided there is at least one layer of padding.

The padding required to achieve the correct clearance will vary from horse to horse and even over time with the same horse as his back shape changes.

The included leather pad may be exchanged if a different thickness is required.

2. Saddle Placement

padding_Step2Saddle placement is best determined by the distance between the horse’s elbow and the front edge of the girth. This distance should be approximately one finger’s width (as shown below).

If the front edge of the girth crowds the elbow, the saddle is too far forward

Conversely, too much distance between the elbow and the front edge of the girth indicates that the saddle is too far back.

Additional Girthing Notes

padding_Step3For correct distribution of pressure, always attach the girth on first and third billet straps.

The girth should be comfortably snug before mounting; do not over-tighten.

Tighten the girth equally on both sides and check for wither clearance as soon as possible after mounting.

Check the girth for tightness again within the first few minutes of riding.

The Tad Coffin Performance Girth is highly recommended.

3. Contact Tad Coffin

Make Tad your first resource should you have any questions or concerns. We recommend you fill out our contact form, but you can also call him directly on his cell phone at 434-989-3229 with any questions.

Padding Basics

Your saddle arrives broken in; however, the new saddle may sit up a bit higher for the first few rides and will need less padding during this period. (See Rule #2)

Never use the leather pad alone. Always use the leather pad in conjunction with a square or fitted pad.

Align the pads so the leather pad is centered fore and aft and left and right. Stagger the edges so that each pad sits within the pad below.

Partially tent the pad(s) into the pommel before tightening the girth

Correctly Padding Different Back Shapes (TC2 and A5 models)

Low withers, well-muscled back:

Minimal padding: jumper square or fitted pad only with both models


Medium withers, well-muscled back:

Jumper square or fitted pad with thin leather pad (TC2 model) or medium leather pad (A5 model)


High withers, well-muscled back:

Jumper square or fitted pad with medium pad (TC2 model) or thick pad (A5 model).


Very high withers, poorly muscled back:

Jumper square plus fitted pad and thick pad (TC2 model) or wither-relief pad (A5 model).



If your saddle slides back during your ride: 

paddingTS1First – Check your girth tightening procedure. Failure to tighten the girth promptly will cause the saddle to slide.


paddingTS2Next – Consider the type of girth you are using. Synthetic girths with fleece lining may contribute to sliding.

Finally – Check the cloth pad texture, as some pads are slippery. Consider using an anti-slip pad, as shown to the right.

Recommended Cloth Pads

  • Tad Coffin Quilted Square Pad
  • Medallion Super Quilt by Toklat

Too much or too little padding may adversely affect the comfort of your horse and the balance of the saddle.