Ken McNabb stated it best: “Your ride will be no better than how you protect your horse’s back.”
This is a pretty big statement, but not exaggerated. Think about it, we are bearing all of our weight in the saddle, and let’s face the fact, we are not all perfectly balanced riders. We cover miles of country up and down hills ranching or on the trail, we dally off and make a hard turn left in the rodeo arena, we practice flexing exercises to make a great turn coming around the barrel and we train to perform the perfect sliding stop. There is a lot happening when we are saddled up!
Saddle, saddle pad fit and quality are very important. We all take the time to purchase or breed a good horse, we make sure our animal is fed well, but are we all doing our homework to ensure each time we saddle up we are doing so educated? Have you ever stopped to think about your horse’s protection or the long-term longevity of his body and joints?
Really, many options are on the market today to shop for horse tack. So how do you choose? How do you know a saddle pad is properly fitting? How do you know it is sweating properly or allowing airflow? How do you know your horse is comfortable and can perform at his very best?
The answer is pretty simple: “quality” and “function.” A quality saddle pad (constructed from premium materials) serves three important functions; it must reduce friction, absorb pressure and cool. It is that simple!
Let’s discuss the Weaver Leather Synergy™ saddle pad to see just how a quality pad can be constructed to meet these criteria:
- The contoured design provides a more natural fit to the horse’s back, reduces saddle roll, protects the withers and creates evaporation with a small air tunnel.
- The bottom layer of shock-absorbing orthopedic felt puts to work natural fibers that wick away moisture and in turn draw heat away from the horse’s back.
- The middle layer is constructed of ventilated EVA sport foam, promoting airflow and reducing friction of pressure points. This ½” impact absorbing foam is the same material used in athletic protection gear and won’t break down.
- The top layer is a time to shine! For more of an everyday working approach, the plain felt topper is great for a long day on the ranch, arena training, or ride down the trail. Alternatively, express your unique style with 100% New Zealand wool toppers in exclusive designs and take your class to the next level!
Alongside saddle pad quality and function, here are a few pad hacks to keep in mind the next time you saddle up:
- When saddled, be sure to leave 2-3 inches of the pad showing in front of the saddle.
- It is often good to pull a saddle pad up into the front gullet of the saddle to ensure the horse’s withers is properly padded and offering relief.
- Check the underside of your saddle pad to make sure no dirt or debris is stuck on, causing discomfort to your horse.
- When you unsaddle, check for any hair that may be broken or in a roughed-up swirl. This may indicate that the pad or saddle is rubbing and you need to do some more homework on fit.
Watch this video with Ken McNabb as he describes the various benefits of the many types of saddle pads available to riders.
To shop a great line of quality saddle pads, visit ridethebrand.com!