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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2007
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    Default Necessity of pads

    I read something the other day that got me thinking. It mentioned how with a well fitting saddle using too many or too thick pads can actually be bad because it makes the fit tighter around the withers, and depending on the pad, adds more between you and you horse in the leg area. Is this the case? It made me wonder if I should just use my sheepskin and thinline half pad, bit I'd worry about the bare leather flaps rubbing my horse.
    "A horse doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care."

    "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of fight in the dog."



  2. #2

    Default

    All I have under my saddle is a thin cotton saddle pad, almost a baby pad. Gets very dirty, but it works for me.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2000
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    Bristol, Indiana
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    Default

    Think about the saddle as you would a pair of shoes you are wearing. If the shoe is too tight, adding more socks to "cushion" the tightness doesn't work. A floppy shoe might fit better by adding pads, but if that shoe doesn't fit, it just doesn't fit.

    A well-fitting saddle doesn't even need a pad. The only purpose for a pad (with a well-fitted saddle) is to keep the saddle clean. All the rest of the pad madness is mere fluff and fashion.

    Note key words: "well-fitted".

    SapeloApp



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Packing my bags
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    Default

    the pad is to keep the saddle clean - in an ideal situation.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
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    Greensboro, NC
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by daisyfields View Post
    I read something the other day that got me thinking. It mentioned how with a well fitting saddle using too many or too thick pads can actually be bad because it makes the fit tighter around the withers,
    True.

    and depending on the pad, adds more between you and you horse in the leg area. Is this the case?
    Any padding under the leg reduces the feel.

    It made me wonder if I should just use my sheepskin and thinline half pad, bit I'd worry about the bare leather flaps rubbing my horse.
    Bare leather really doesn't rub a horse if it fits properly. Horses were ridden for hundreds of years without any pad at all.

    The original purpose was to protect the leather from the horse's sweat, not protect the horse from the leather

    Which pad you use under the seat depends on how well the saddle fits without any padding. If it's a glove-like fit, then even a sheepskin pad is probably too thick.

    Whether you use a half pad alone depends on your preference. There are "baby pads" that are very thin, add minimal bulk, and help protect the flaps from sweat. There are even wither-contoured Dressage baby pads now
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2007
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    Rhode Island
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SapeloApp View Post
    Think about the saddle as you would a pair of shoes you are wearing. If the shoe is too tight, adding more socks to "cushion" the tightness doesn't work. A floppy shoe might fit better by adding pads, but if that shoe doesn't fit, it just doesn't fit.

    A well-fitting saddle doesn't even need a pad. The only purpose for a pad (with a well-fitted saddle) is to keep the saddle clean. All the rest of the pad madness is mere fluff and fashion.

    Note key words: "well-fitted".

    SapeloApp
    I see what you're saying. I'm guessing that means the sheepskin, thinline half pad is probably too thick then even if I used just that?
    "A horse doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care."

    "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of fight in the dog."



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
    Location
    Northeast
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    10,583

    Wink

    Years ago in England they were never used. You simply groomed your horse well and wiped your saddle off daily.

    They were considered unnecessary and even deleterious. And yes, if they are too thick they will get in the way of feel. You can end up feeling as though you are sitting on a stack of slippery magazines.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2007
    Location
    Rhode Island
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    True.


    Any padding under the leg reduces the feel.


    Bare leather really doesn't rub a horse if it fits properly. Horses were ridden for hundreds of years without any pad at all.

    The original purpose was to protect the leather from the horse's sweat, not protect the horse from the leather

    Which pad you use under the seat depends on how well the saddle fits without any padding. If it's a glove-like fit, then even a sheepskin pad is probably too thick.

    Whether you use a half pad alone depends on your preference. There are "baby pads" that are very thin, add minimal bulk, and help protect the flaps from sweat. There are even wither-contoured Dressage baby pads now
    Thanks for that. One of my horse's is a glove-like fit, my other one is near glove-like, but his withers are a bit more narrow so I guess I'll continue to use the sheepskin with him and scratch it for my mare. Does the sheepskin really promote circulation and help with the back at all, I mean enough to make it better to use with my mare than getting rid of it.
    "A horse doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care."

    "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of fight in the dog."



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2008
    Posts
    204

    Default

    To echo the response of others, a pad isn't really neccessary if the saddle fits well. And if it's doesn't, padding isn't going to help all that much.

    It's interesting how in Great Britian, pads are used much less frequently. But here in the US, you never see a horse tacked without a saddlepad.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
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    Greensboro, NC
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by daisyfields View Post
    Thanks for that. One of my horse's is a glove-like fit, my other one is near glove-like, but his withers are a bit more narrow so I guess I'll continue to use the sheepskin with him and scratch it for my mare. Does the sheepskin really promote circulation and help with the back at all, I mean enough to make it better to use with my mare than getting rid of it.
    Yes, sheepskin really helps cool the back and help with some circulation. If your sheepskin isn't something really plush and thick, then it could be just fine with the glove-like fit in your mare.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2000
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    24,408

    Default

    Most of those saddle pads, even the puffy ones, compress down to almost nothing, something less than an eighth of an inch, when the saddle is tightened down. I've measured - most saddle pads affect the fit of the saddle little to none at all.

    Horses actually were not ridden for 'hundreds and hundreds' of years with out pads under saddles, in fact, some saddles were really nothing more than a pad themselves, and some saddles were so roughly made they couldn't be used with out a pad or pads. Whether a saddle was used with pads or pad at any given time really depends on the place, the time and the type of riding.

    You can see artwork and museum pieces showing saddle pads and blankets for jousting, cavalry, western, english, racing, asian and in fact, most types of saddles. Even the old french saddles I saw that were made to have an even more padded skirt than the ceremonial SRS saddles were used with a thick blanket.

    Are saddle pads necessary with modern english saddles? That depends on who you ask, but I think it also depends on how the saddle fits, how long one rides, over what sort of territory, how sweaty the horse is, and many other things. Forty years ago, at Mrs Way's farm in NY, she (an elderly lady raised in hunting, polo and horse racing, so probably representing an older tradition even than 40 years ago), had a saddle for each lesson horse and most were used without pads, but were fitted to each horse. There WERE horses that did have saddle pads, and when asked, she'd say 'Because they NEED THEM, THAT'S WHY!'. LOL.

    Like anything, overdone, they can pile up and take the saddle too far away from the back, making it unsteady. Sport riders tend to like the saddle to remain close to the horse's back.

    In some uses, moving the saddle away from the back by adding padding, especially for long slow distance, is probably a very good thing.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2006
    Location
    Frederick, MD. Canada originally!
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    2,497

    Default

    I use baby pads under my saddles and really love them. They don't impact the fit of the saddle, but do keep it slightly cleaner. Because they're baby pads they don't cover all the way down the flaps, just above them.
    True North Dressage
    Select Cheval Canadiens for dressage and eventing
    www.TrueNorthDressage.com



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2002
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    Area VIII, Region 2, Zone 5.
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    Default

    When I showed hunters in the mid-60s, we used pads for schooling but never for shows. I don't know whether dressage people ever showed without pads.
    Quote Originally Posted by Linny View Post
    Those martingales were so taut, you could play Ode to Joy on them with a comb



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2008
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    600

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SillyHorse View Post
    When I showed hunters in the mid-60s, we used pads for schooling but never for shows. I don't know whether dressage people ever showed without pads.

    that very thought crossed my mind



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2000
    Posts
    24,408

    Default

    If you look at a lot of old pictures, such as the FEI pictures on their history page, you can actually see that it seems jumpers did even then tend to more often go without saddle pads. It's not always the same but overall, you do see more old pics of jumpers and hunters 'without' and more pictures of dressage horses 'with'.



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