To keep your horse happy, you have to keep your horse comfortable. Having a barn full of Thoroughbreds with typically high withers, you have to make sure you keep the pressure off the withers and adequately distribute the weight across the back. If a high-end saddle is out of your price range, one of the greatest half pads you can buy is from Bruno Delgrange. It raises the saddle off the withers, evenly distributes weight on the horses back, and incorporates shock absorbing technology within the pad. It will be the last half pad you ever own. You can learn more about it by clicking here.
If you have the opportunity to buy a saddle for your Thoroughbred, we highly recommend Bruno Delgrange saddles. They fit these high withered guys very well. You can find them used on various horse websites, or even on eBay. Bruno Delgrange also sets up shop at various horse shows and you can find a great used one there, too. They have several different seat sizes, from flat to deep, and can even do complete custom saddles. Since we ride a variety of horses, we can't do a custom saddle. After much thought and research, I finally bought a saddle for the rescue. I bought a Kronos. It is totally different than anything I have ever ridden in. I chose it for a few reasons. First, it has some pretty large knee blocks on the front of the saddle. When you are riding Thoroughbreds off the track for the first time, I want to make sure I have plenty of leather keeping me in the seat. Thankfully, I haven't had anything super silly, but it is nice to know if something does happen, I have some knee blocks keeping me in the right position. Second, it is a mono flap. That means you do not have two flaps of leather between you and the horse, it is a single flap and the girth used is more like a dressage girth. You are able to feel the sides of the horse better which is better with predicting their next move. Third, it is 8 pounds lighter than regular saddles. I firmly believe 8 pounds makes a difference. I come from a show jumping background and if I can shave 8 pounds off my horse's back, I am going to do it.
A saddle is definitely an investment. It is something, if taken care of properly, will be with you for up to 20 years. We have had saddles with us for well over 20 years. We have replaced billets, knee rolls, seats, etc... But when you buy quality, it is easy to fix and maintain. I highly recommend buying the best saddle you can and make sure it fits properly and comfortably on your horse.