What are half pads for? Do i need one?

Whether you need one or not depends a lot on the horse you ride and the saddle you use. They are used to correct the position of ill fitting saddles and relieve pressures that those saddles may cause. It may help keep the saddle straight on a downhill horse or on a horse with high withers, for example. In those cases it is really helpful, but putting a half pad on a well fitted saddle might do more bad than good, so make sure of that before choosing to add one. :)
Half pads are totally optional. I use one on my horse because he has a high wither and this makes it hard to get a saddle to fit well so I adjusted the half pad with the foam fillers so that his current saddle sits pretty much perfectly. So no, you don't need one, but they provide added protection and padding for the horses back and shoulders. :)
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