By Emily Konkel
Now that we have chosen the right polo wraps (J), let’s move forward and look at another EXTREMELY important tool for our horses – the saddle pad. The main purpose of a saddle pad is to improve saddle fit and to keep your horse comfortable while riding as well as protecting their back from soreness that may occur with the saddle. The right saddle pad can actually improve your horse’s performance. Please keep in mind, you must have a proper fitting saddle in order to keep your horse comfortable and to give you the opportunity to choose the perfect saddle pad for him/her. A proper fitting saddle along with the perfect saddle pad will make an enjoyable ride for both your horse and you! So what exactly do we need to look for when purchasing the perfect saddle pad for our horse? There are three main things that most people tend to look at.
Protection for the Horse – The most important factor of a saddle pad is protection for the horse. The perfect saddle pad will help to distribute weight evenly over the horse’s back. There should be absolutely no pressure on the horse’s spine. It should work as a shock absorber and should also ensure optimum pressure distribution. It should also be breathable for the horse to avoid trapping heat under the pad, which can cause your horse discomfort.
- Protection for the Saddle - A protective saddle pad doesn’t just protect your horse’s back, it also helps to protect the leather on your saddle from sweat and dirt. Sweat can break down the leather on the underside of the saddle. This will stain the saddle and make it more likely to tear or break.
Appearance – Many people’s decision on a saddle pad can be swayed based on the appearance. There are so many different colors and patterns out there, it can make for a tough decision! Just like the polo wraps, we will look at some of the most popular saddle pads out there!
ThinLine Hunter Pad – This pad combines all the benefits of ThinLine's open cell foam technology with a traditionally shaped fleece silhouette. Constructed with ThinLine material covering the entire top surface, this shaped saddle pad disperses shock, weight and heat laterally across the pad to allow your horse maximum comfort for top performance. It's trimmed in soft sheepskin all around for a show-ready look and has a durable cotton quilted underside.
Rider's International Contoured All Purpose Saddle Pad – This pad is shaped for comfort and a secure fit. This top-quality saddle pad features 3/ 4" mini diamond quilting with a poly/cotton top, flannel lining and foam/poly cushioning. Girth loops and adjustable billet straps.
Professional's Choice® Patent Leather Dressage Pad – This pad offers a contemporary twist on classic style. Sophisticated yet stylish patent leather trim sets this show pad apart from the rest. Soft, brushed cotton on the underside ensures your horse's comfort, while plush quilting maintains it luxurious look.
- BeneFab™ Ceramic All-Purpose Saddle Pad - This product features the Lotus Effect outer shell, which is a breathable, water resistant material for easy cleaning. The saddle pad wicks away moisture and dirt easily allowing for a clean, bright look. The underside is constructed with our BeneFab™ FIR materials (Ceramic fibers which emit far-infrared rays) which help to promote blood circulation and oxygen flow in the horses back. This can help ease any back pain, inflammation and/or muscle tension while also decreasing healing time as well as being used for preventative purposes for any of the above symptoms. It is well padded on the inside for extreme back comfort, breathable/comfortable for any type of riding. Quick-dry, non-wrinkling fabric, and machine washable. For further comfort, this pad was designed with the natural leaf shape. This keeps all pressure from any seams off the horses back.
As you can see, there are many pads to choose from with many different features. But like the polo wraps, BeneFab’s saddle pads not only protect support, they improved your horse’s overall performance with the ceramic fibers. Best of luck to you and your shopping endeavors! For more information on the importance saddle pad, visit: http:// www.thehorse.com/articles/31615/saddle-pad-science