Re: What is the purpose of a half pad ?
Half pads are not my favourite items. They alter the saddle fit - they ae thick, so they make it narrower and pad out the panels. This can be advantageous - for example, n many showjmping and eventing yards, horses share saddles, so the half pad can "make them fit". In my opinion, they are a temporary solution, NOT a an excuse for a badly fitting saddle! Fair enough if you have ten horses to accomodate, but most people don't, and if they can afford a nice fluffy sheepskin saddlepad, they could have used that money to get the saddle fitter to fit their saddle properly. Many people use them without thinking about how they ave changed or influenced the saddle fit, and once they have been washed a few times they can end up lumpy and then wreaking havoc on the horse's sensitive muscles.
Also, they are a fashion thing. Many pro-am and professional showjumpers and eventers use them for the aforementioned reason of having many horses to saddle in expensive tack, so people use them becuase top riders do, without understanding their purpose. My friend is an SMS saddle fitter and he hates to see anything except a thin cotton numnah to absorb the sweat between the horse's back and a well fitting saddle.