How often do you grab the nearest saddle pad and throw it over your horse’s back without a second thought? Saddle pads can have a big impact on our horse’s saddle fit and overall comfort. For example, did you know that the right saddle pad can fix a saddle that sits too low over the withers? Or that gel saddle pads can absorb some of the shock of jumping and protect your horse’s back and legs? No matter your situation, the right saddle pad can help.
For High Withers
Horses with high withers are prone to saddle sores from low spine clearance and general discomfort from too much pressure on their delicate withers. For a high-withered horse, you’ll need a wither relief saddle pad, which allows for adequate spine clearance and has enough padding to distribute pressure evenly. If you have a horse with high withers, the most important thing to look for when choosing a saddle pad is one with a well-contoured spine.
For example, the LeMieux Close Contact Square Wither Relief Saddle Pad features a curved back that maintains its shape. The wither is quite high and will stick up into the gullet of the saddle without any pulling or jostling. Underneath this wither relief saddle pad, the super soft Bamboo lining absorbs and controls sweat to minimize friction even on sensitive skinned horses.
Western riders should look for a cutback saddle pad for wither relief. The TuffRider Phoenix Western Cutback Saddle Pad features a wither cutout that relieves spinal pressure while a soft and moisture-wicking fleece-like material provides cushion for your horse's back. For western riders who like a little extra style, this cutback saddle pad is available in three colors, from a stately black to a bright rainbow.
For Back Pain
Have you ever sat on a “cold-backed” horse? These horses may buck when you first get on or hunch up under the saddle, but quickly work out of it. While you should always speak to your vet when it comes to your horse’s health, the Back On Track A/P Saddle Pad may be able to help.
Powered by Back on Track’s signature Welltex fabric, this therapeutic saddle pad is designed to help your horse’s muscles loosen and relax from the moment you put it on. The Welltex fabric helps to increase blood flow to the important muscles under your saddle. If your horse hasn’t worn Back on Track products before, build up to wearing it for long periods in small increments.
For Shock Absorption
If you jump or ride on hard surfaces regularly, your horse's back has to handle a lot of shock absorption, both from you posting up and down and from the concussion of their legs pounding against the ground. Luckily, the right show jumping saddle pad can absorb and redistribute some of that shock.
Horsena Gel Saddle Pads have a 3D structure that absorbs shock and provides pressure relief and pressure distribution. The hexagonal open design also allows for better airflow and breathability than other gel pads. If you jump your horse on a regular basis, this gel show jumping saddle pad will help prevent damage to their back.
For Saddle Slip
Saddle slip can be caused by many different things, from horse and rider imbalances to poor saddle fit. But, if you’ve had your saddle fitted by a professional and you still feel as though you’re slipping and sliding while you ride, you may want to invest in a non-slip saddle pad.
The Horsena Slim Gel Saddle Pad has a tacky surface texture that grips both the saddle and saddle pad to prevent slip. At only 4mm thick, this thin pad won't disturb your horse’s freedom of movement, which is particularly important in a show jumping saddle pad, or disrupt your saddle fit. Sometimes horses that are barrel-shaped, with particularly well-sprung ribs, will have some movement in the saddle no matter how well it fits. A gel pad like this one can help stop that from happening so you can get back to enjoying your ride.
For Overall Saddle Fit
Sometimes your horse doesn’t need a big adjustment from a reputable saddle fitter, but just needs a stopgap correction until they gain weight or muscle. A shimmable half pad allows you to customize the fit of your saddle without making big, expensive changes to the saddle itself.
The Weatherbeeta Memory Foam Shimmable Half Pad includes eight shims to adjust saddle fit. These shims can be inserted into four different openings– two on each side. When customized to change how you saddle fits, this pad distributes pressure evenly and has shock absorbing properties thanks to the memory foam construction.
If you ride Western, you have the option of using the Tough-1 Western Shim Saddle Pad, which was designed specifically for heavier Western saddles. Six shim pockets are strategically located giving you the ability to correct a variety of saddle fitting issues by removing or adding half-inch felt shim pads.
For Raising the Cantle
If you grew up riding lesson horses, you may remember some horses needing a “lollipop pad” to raise the back of the saddle. These bulky white foam pieces would slide underneath the saddle and take up the entirety of the gullet. Now, there’s a better way to raise the cantle of a saddle.
The Horsena Back Balance Gel Saddle Pad gradually gets thicker towards the back of the pad and lifts the cantle slightly off the horse’s back to even out the balance of the saddle. Unlike a lollipop pad, this Back Balance Pad leaves ample space for your horse’s spine to lift up into the gullet and won’t cause pressure points.
For Raising the Pommel
If your saddle sits too low in the front, you may feel as though you’re constantly toppling forward or reminding yourself to sit with your shoulders back. If you’ve had your saddle fit and the problem persists, your fitter can help you raise the front of the saddle with the Horsena Front Balance Gel Saddle Pad.
Similar to the Back Balance Saddle Pad, the Horsena Front Balance pad gradually increases in height towards the front, while still leaving the spine channel open. It still has the same shock absorbing, pressure-distributing, and non-slip properties as other Horsena pads as an added bonus. Raising the saddle in the front, ensure that the withers have enough room. You may want to combine this gel pad with a wither relief saddle pad or a cutback saddle pad.
No Matter the Situation, There’s a Saddle Pad for You
Whether you ride English or Western, own a shark-finned Thoroughbred or a round Quarter Horse, spend your days jumping or riding over rocky trails, there’s a saddle pad out there that can help your horse move better and feel better under saddle. AT Breeches.com, we pride ourselves on carrying a collection of saddle pads and half pads to address every equestrian’s needs.
Looking for a solution to your problem? Shop our saddle pads here.