September 14, 2022 5 min read
Is your saddle slipping? Nothing is worse than taking a tight turn at speed and feeling your saddle slide off to one side. Even the best rider can’t stay on in an emergency if your horse saddle is sliding!
A saddle that slips from side to side or forward and back can create dangerous situations and is uncomfortable for both the horse and rider.
There are a few different reasons your saddle may slip. It may not fit well, your saddle pad might be too slippery, or the grooming products you use could be making your horse’s coat slick.
Try one of these six tips to stop your saddle from slipping.
The very first thing you want to do when you notice that your saddle won’t stay in one position is to call your saddle fitter.
A saddle that doesn’t fit well is more likely to slide, plus a sliding saddle is very uncomfortable for the horse. Our horses have a tough enough job keeping their riders balanced on their backs. A sliding saddle only makes their job harder!
A qualified saddle fitter will be able to evaluate the fit of the saddle and identify why it might be sliding. If you have a round-barreled horse with small withers, a saddle that doesn’t fit correctly is especially likely to slide from side-to-side. On the other hand, if you have a horse with high withers and an improperly fitted horse saddle, you’re more likely to struggle with the saddle sliding backwards, away from the shoulders. A saddle fitter can recommend different ways to correct the problem, from using a shimmable half pad to purchasing a different saddle altogether.
Don’t have a saddle fitter? Work with our highly-qualified online saddle fitter.
What material is your saddle pad made out of? Some saddle pads are made from a material that feels silky to the touch. While this type of fabric does feel nice, it doesn’t offer much grip or traction. If you’ve been riding in saddle pads that feel silky and you’ve noticed your saddle slipping throughout your ride, it might be time to try something new.
There are a variety of anti-slip half pads available that can be added to your current saddle and saddle pad set up. The GEL-EZE Non-Slip Pad is non-toxic, washable, reusable and environmentally friendly. The gel offers superb impact absorption and reduces back and wither injuries, while the unique texture prevents saddle slipping. But you don’t have to worry about overheating– it’s perforated to allow air flow and lightweight. Plus, it can be cut to fit most types of saddles with trace lines to enable you to shape the pad.
If you have a horse with high withers, you may want to try the Horze Anti-Slip Gel Pad. This pad provides a high degree of shock absorption and soft tissue protection. An excellent choice for horses with atrophied withers, the anatomic contouring of varied thickness is the perfect padding for vulnerable horses. This unique anti-slip pad is designed to infill withers where muscle atrophy, lack of development, and muscle imbalance is apparent. Designed for the horse's comfort, the dome shape is about an inch thick in the middle and tapered to the edges. This pad raises the saddle correctly providing a secure, comfortable fit. The gel pad is perforated to allow airflow and keep your horse cool.
Did you know your girth can have a big impact on your saddle fit? Your goal should be to use a girth that provides as much stability as possible.
If your horse saddle is slipping, you want to avoid girth with elastic on both ends like the plague. While the elastic billets offer extra stretch to make it easy for the rider to tighten the girth, this added stretch is not an asset for riders who are struggling with saddle slip. The stretchiness may allow the girth to loosen throughout the ride and adds more flexibility, not stability to the entire tack setup.
When using a girth to help prevent saddle slip, choose one that only has elastic on one end, or not at all. The Henri de Rivel Advantage Chafeless Girth has elastic on only one end and features soft leather to prevent chafing. Offering both comfort for the horse and rider, this girth features stainless steel roller buckles and a centered D-ring for easy training aid attachment. A soft and flexible construction allows this girth to be forgiving and provides comfort for the horse's sensitive underside.
If your saddle slides backwards or from side to side, a breastplate is your best friend. Breastplates add stability to the saddle by preventing it from sliding backwards and connecting the front of the saddle and the center of the girth.
If your saddle slips from side to side, a five point breastplate will add the most stability. A five point breastplate attaches to the D-rings of the saddle, as well as to the center of the girth at the horse’s underbelly and to the billets of the saddle. With all attachments connected, the saddle will have five more stabilizing points of contact than just the girth alone.
The Laureate 5-Point Elastic Breastplate Martingale offers superior quality and performance. Made to allow for freedom of movement in the horse’s shoulder while holding the saddle in place, the included running attachment encourages flexion at the poll without restricting movement.
If your saddle tends to slide backwards, you may not need all the stabilizing points of the breastplate. Instead, try something like the Professional’s Choice Neoprene Breast Collar. This breast collar features one neoprene chest strap and connects to the center of the horse’s girth. It prevents your saddle from sliding backwards, while allowing optimal freedom of movement for your horse. The unique four-way stretch, nylon-lined neoprene helps displace the pressure commonly created with breast collars and won’t gall. Plus, because it is made with limestone-based neoprene, it will not dry, crack, or split.
What grooming products are you using when you tack your horse? Be wary of some coat conditioners as they may make your horse’s coat slippery, which can contribute to or even cause your horse saddle to slip. Avoid using shine or conditioning products on your saddle area, unless they specifically say no slip. Stick to using detangling products on the mane and tail.
When you do need to use a coat conditioner on your saddle area, add a conditioning product to your bathing routine. This way, the hair is getting the moisture it needs without the use of a potentially slip-inducing grooming spray right before riding.
For example, the Lincoln Silky Shine Shampoo & Conditioner is a superior conditioning shampoo containing Pro Vitamin B5 along with effective moisturizing and conditioning agents. Plus, this shampoo contains glycerine to help maintain an optimal level of moisture in your horse’s coat.
At Breeches.com, we have everything you need to stop your saddle from slipping. Work closely with our online saddle fitter to ensure your saddle fits appropriately. Or, shop our varied selection of gel and non-slip half pads. Peruse our collection of high-quality leather girths and breast collars to find the perfect setup to stabilize your saddle.
Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it on Breeches.com.
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