Saddle Pads – Choosing the right one for you.
Horse Saddle Pads.
Saddle pads are an essential part of any horse rider’s tack. The range and choice out there is vast, but without the right knowledge, making the right decision for you and your horse can be a daunting one.
So it’s very important to think on which type of saddle pad is the best match for you and your horse. Do so and your investment will bring you and your horse years of excellent riding experiences…….and who doesn’t want that?
What exactly is a saddle pad?
Also referred to as a Saddle Blanket, Saddle Cloth or Numnah, a saddle pad is the blanket-like material sitting beneath a saddle, protecting your horse from impact associated with riding and jumping. They prevent abrasions, sores, and also help preserve your saddle by absorbing sweat that can cause additional wear, tear and staining.
Ok, so how do I choose the right saddle pad?
Saddle pads come in various sizes, materials, colours, styles and thicknesses so think on these following points before making any choice. They are by no means exhaustive, but they will set you well on your way to finding the best match for you and your horse.
1. Match to your riding activity:
- Dressage – dressage saddle pads have a straighter line up the front so as to align with the wings of your dressage saddle.
- Jumping – jump saddle pads are smaller and curved at the front so as to fall in line with the wings of your jumping saddle.
- General Purpose – these saddle pads blend both the above shapes and can be used for a range of different activities
2. Match to the shape of your Horse:
- The contour of a horse's back and underside are unique to your horse so determining shape requirements ensures your horse won’t experience any undue pressure on their spine or withers.
3. Match to the right style:
- Square pads – usually used by riders doing dressage
- Shaped pads – for riders participating in hunter / jumper shows
- Half Pads –used across all disciplines and at times with another pad
4. Match to your type of saddle:
- As a general rule, ensure the cut of your pad accounts for the length of flap of your saddle and make sure it covers past the edge of your saddle, but doesn’t pass your horse’s last rib.
5. Match to improve saddle fit:
- Whilst saddle pads fine tune saddle fit, they can’t fix ill-fitting saddles. Assuming you have the right saddle, the shape of your horse then comes into play in determining what type of fine tuning your saddle needs.
6. Know your materials:
- Many different materials can be used in saddle pad construction
- Sheepskin or Wool Fleece – require special care but have amazing wicking abilities.
- Cotton and synthetic fleece - are usually less expensive, are less absorptive but are easier to care for.
- Foam, gel and polyester – generally fill the inside of the pad and add extra cushioning.
So where can I go to get the right range and advice?
Active Equine is Australia’s number one online saddlery stocking only the highest quality saddle pads from Premier Equine, Kentucky Horsewear and our own Active Equine collection. Every product is known for their technological engineering, durability and brand commitment to equestrian excellence. This means you can trust that your purchase will benefit you, your horse and the experience of each and every ride.