- May 22, 2015
- Lynn Kohr
Saddle pads, are a great cushion between our horse and our saddle. There are so many choices and where exactly should they be positioned on our horses’ backs?
Even with all of the choices available I find myself using wool pads and using ones that have a contour built into them (much like the shape that my old favorite pads take on after many sweaty days use). Over the years of using wool pads, my favorite ones eventually take on the shape of my horses back and I have tended towards using the same pad with the same horse…in a way matching them up. The contour I am describing follows our horses’ back, rising up over the withers then spreading and sloping down over the lion area. Even the best saddle pads do not correct an ill-fitting saddle, but a good pad certainly displaces pressure points and ensures some cushion under our saddles while allowing ventilation for our horses’ backs while they are perspiring and working hard.
Balanced positioning of a saddle pad ensures protection for our horse’s back. I set a pad on my horse’s back, that covers their withers and their lower back, where, once saddled, the cinch will lay right behind their shoulder blade and follow cleanly down to behind their point of elbow . The contour protects the rise of their withers and spreads out for their loin area, making a comfortable and protective layer under a saddle.
Once my saddle in set up on the pad, I always want a bit of space over their withers, or “tenting the pad”. If your saddle pad is not contoured, lift the pad over the withers up just a bit, so the pad is not pulled down pressing on their withers.
All of the saddle pads I use are contoured to my horses backs, meaning that they are made to follow the slope of their withers and lower back.
Even this Navaho has a rise at the withers.
I avoid the old tendency to put my pad and saddle too far up on their withers, instead I let it settle into a place on their back. To do this I will saddle my horse and just gently snug the cinch and let my horse move around for 15 minutes or so and where the saddle has settled is where I will tighten it. I am always careful to leave a bit of pad sticking out the front maybe 2 inches or so.
Saddle pads are the cushion between our horse and our saddle. Be sure your pad gives you some breathing room over their withers and is long enough to have pad in front and behind your saddle, and by going with wool, you will allow ventilation for your horse’s back.
About Lynn Kohr
I am a barrel and pole horse trainer, giving springtime barrel racing and pole bending clinics and workshops, competing in barrel racing and pole bending futurities while marketing our horses for sale. I am a Mom of 3: Sage, Cedar, and Stratton. And wife of...