Saddle Pad Relief
- September 3, 2020
- Jan Swan Wood
I like horses with a good set of withers. Because of that, I have taken a knife to some saddle pads to accommodate those high withers and keep pressure from the top of them, but that sure is hard to do with what saddle pads cost these days. Plus, it compromises the good qualities of most pads, so there’s a better way and we can all do it.
If a person doesn’t allow room for movement under the pads and gullet of the saddle, it can pull down on the horse’s withers and cause a sore spot or even a white spot due to pressure. That has to be very uncomfortable for the horse. Even a horse with less withers and wide shoulders will be uncomfortable.
When saddling a horse, I place the pad or pads where they need to be. In my case, it will be a Coolback pad against the horse with perhaps a Navajo type or a felt pad over it, depending on the withers on the horse. When I’ve swung my saddle on, before I do anything else, I grasp the pads in my left hand, below the gullet of the saddle, and the saddlehorn with my other, and picking up on the horn, I can push/pull the pads up into the gullet of the saddle, thus giving ample space over the withers.
When I’ve done this, I should be able to slip part of my hand in under the pad at the top of the withers. It gives room for shoulder movement, relief from pressure, and in my opinion, might vent the hot, moist air out from under the pad a little bit.
This move only takes a moment and it gives your horse a break from the pressure on it’s withers and shoulder blades.
About Jan Swan Wood
Jan was raised on a ranch in far western South Dakota. She grew up horseback working all descriptions of cattle, plus sheep and horses. After leaving home she pursued a post-graduate study of cowboying and dayworking in Nebraska, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota....