Wow, with this many saddle pads to choose from, how do you ever narrow your selection down to just one? It's a hard task, but when it's time for a new pad, you've just got to do it. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you out.
When choosing a new saddle pad, you'll have to consider several things. Some examples of things to think about are your saddle size, saddle fit, the type and amount of riding that you do, and sometimes other special details.
Since I have already covered saddle pad sizes in another blog, we'll start today with the saddle fit question. Some saddles don't fit your horse ideally. There are solutions to help make your horse more comfortable that are a little less drastic than buying a whole new saddle. If your saddle is too wide, you can use a pad that is built up in the front. For severe cases, correction pads like the Classic Equine Biofit and RX from Cactus Saddlery might be the answer. If I saddle is bridging, or is two narrow at the back, then the Reinsman Multi FIt pad with three pair of removable inserts allows you to get a custom fit. It can also double as a built up pad by removing the middle and back inserts. If your saddle fit is not perfect, but is not bad enough for a correction pad, I always recommend the Classic Equine ESP. The memory foam conforms between your horse and the saddle to reduce pressure points and even out the weight distribution. Gel pads will also help spread out the pressure.
If you do specific kinds of riding, you may have extra requirements from your pad. Roping is one of the best examples. Horses take a pretty good jerk when a steer or calf hits the end of the rope and you need a pad with enough compression or shock absorption to keep them from getting sore. 100% wool pads or pads with 100% wool fillers or layers do an excellent job here and tend to keep the compression and rebounding ability a little longer than other types under the same use.
If you are running barrels or doing long trail rides, the weight of the pad could become an issue. Air Ride pads are some of the lightest weight pads on the market, and still have excellent shock absorption. These pads are also really good for people who ride for a long time at a stretch. The Air Ride material is very breathable and keeps horses cooler under the saddle pad than denser materials.
You may have other specific needs in a pad, such as round shape, stylish tops if you are showing, leg cut outs if you need close contact, and more. We even have a customer whose horse is allergic to synthetic wool! If you have special concerns with a pad and need help selecting one, don't be shy. Just drop us an email or give us a call and we'll be happy to help fix you up.
Hope this helps clear up some of the confusion, but if you have any saddle pad questions we have not covered yet, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do out best to find answers for you!
Coolhorse Tack Manager