A test to try on your saddle pad.

Discussion in 'Horse Riding' started by Deb2, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    I use a standard thin cotton saddle blanket plus a thin gel pad (not raiser) that has holes all over it. I do not know what it is called as I bought it second hand.

    I have been happy with it, but as its thin, I was pondering if it might be more cosy for horse if I used a sheepskin half numnah instead of the gel pad.

    I got my good black sheepskin full numnah out of my showing gear with the intention of cutting it up to make a half numnah, but at the last minute decided to 'test' if it offered better cushioning than the gel pad.

    I put my hand on a flat surface and pressed my fingers (from other hand) into the top of my hand, hard. It hurt! Then I placed the sheepskin over the top of hand and pressed my fingers in hard. It was a dull pressure. Then I placed the gel pad (instead of sheepskin) over top of hand and pressed and it was just a fat, soft press. Certainly not hard or uncomfortable, and definately more comfortable than when the sheepskin was on hand.

    I then did the same test with the cotton saddle blanket and sheepskin, then saddle blanket and gel pad. The second combination was so well buffered, I will no longer fuss about.

    I decided that the gel pad offered the best cushioning out of the two, and will not cut up the numnah, but sell it instead.:)

    Has anyone else actually tested their pads?

    I thought this might be helpful feedback.;)
  2. madison

    madison Well-known Member

  3. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    No, its like the grand prix soft gel half pad....something like that.

    Considering how slim it is, I am amazed at its ability to buffer the pressure that I was putting on it (on my hand). My saddle fitter said it was a good one, even though I got the impression that he is not a fan of most gel pads.
  4. madison

    madison Well-known Member

    That's the one I was looking at until I tried the one I've got
  5. Pinkie_Pie

    Pinkie_Pie Well-known Member

    My understanding of saddle pads/cloths/rugs/whatever you want to call them wasn't to provide padding but more to protect the saddle from sweat and dirt from the horse. ';' From a well fitted saddle you wouldn't have localised pressure like you did with your fingers.

    Not being critical, more thinking out loud... I shall ponder this walking up to the horses...
  6. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    I understand what your saying pinkie, and my saddle was recently fitted by a professional, and I am quite confident that it is an excellent fit.

    Most riders use a saddle cloth to help keep the saddle clean, as do I.

    A saddle pad, or back protector pad is used in an attempt to disperse any localised pressure points, ie, if I were to sit heavier on one seat bone for instance, or momentarily leant too far forward or backwards perhaps.

    Ofcourse, you have the front risers, and back risers, which are a temporary bandaides to assist with saddle fit. These are not the type I am talking about.

    Some people like to use two saddle cloths to cushion the horses back, but, if you squish saddle cloths between your thumb and fingers, you will find that they are very thin when squished, and I am sure they dont really offer much in the way of comfort.

    I also do not like any more bulk between my legs and the horse, for communication purposes.

    I talked to the saddle fitter about my gel pad, and asked him if, in using it, I would be altering the fit of the saddle. He said, no, not with the one that I have.

    I asked him if it was a waste of time using it, as its so thin. He said, no, not a waste of time as it will cushion any pressure points on her back. I queried about there being any pressure points seeing as I had just had the saddle stuffed and fitted to my horses back, and he said that although the saddle fits her perfectly, for whatever reason, a muscle can get twinged or tweeked and that pad will help to buffer it for my horse.

    His opinion was better to use it than not use it, but I was skeptical as to it actually doing any good.

    I thought a sheepskin half numnah might offer more buffering, hence my test.

    I realise that it is unlikely that anything will poke my horses back as hard as I pressed my hand (it hurt), but, from a test point of view, it was an interesting test to do, and I wanted to share incase anyone wanted to test their current pad (if they use one).

    Thats all.:)*
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 8, 2012
  7. Pinkie_Pie

    Pinkie_Pie Well-known Member

    Aaah got ya! I still have lots to learn and every new bit of info is stored away. Thanks for explaining that one for me :))
  8. Mater

    Mater Well-known Member

    I recently had my new saddle fitted to my old horse. Because he is 18 and has no real muscle tone along his back, the saddle fitter suggested I use something soft to stop any pressure points. He had a gel pad and said they are the best to use, but memory foam is good too, or sheepskin if nothing else available. I still don't know what I'll get but price is always a concern.
  9. wawa85

    wawa85 Guest

    Hey Deb you might have what is called an anti slip gel pad not only do they add extra cushioning but stop saddle slippage. I had one but I think it got left at 'that' place in Wangara along with quite a lot of other things some of which went 'missing'.
  10. Cowgirl Kid

    Cowgirl Kid Well-known Member

    Wow, Deb...interesting food for thought...thanks...

    We use sheepskin half numnahs with ALL our RDA horses as we found that they lasted longer than gel pads but might have to do some investigating and go back to using gel pads.

    My saddle fitter too said that the more padding the better. He related it to sitting on a wooden chair. You can sit your bum down on a chair without it hurting but if you had the option between one with a soft cushion on it (ie. more padding/puffer pad) or the plain wooden one... which would you prefer?
  11. abb77

    abb77 Well-known Member

    thats a good idea ill be testing all of my saddle blankets on moday :D
  12. Pinkie_Pie

    Pinkie_Pie Well-known Member

    Interesting you should say that Cowgirl Kid... I read a book about saddle fit and this book compared it to the fit of a shoe (human). If you have a good fitting shoe why put on thick socks (more padding), it'll just turn a comfy pair of shoes into uncomfortable shoes.

    Hmmmm... more stuff to ponder over...
  13. Cowgirl Kid

    Cowgirl Kid Well-known Member

    Mmm.. I can see where you're coming from... however...

    I may be wrong..but don't we were socks to absorb the sweat (so our shoes don't get stinky) and to stop rubbing? And so thick socks absorb more sweat or prevent rubbing in shoes that are slightly uncomfortable or aren't quite a perfect fit (ie. my Blundstones).

    So I guess it does depend on why you put a saddle cloth on. If it's to absorb sweat alone, then yes, it is like a shoe and sock scenario and you would only need a thin saddle cloth.

    I put a saddle cloth on to 1) absorb sweat but 2) to protect my horse's back and to provide that extra padding. So even though my saddle fits well, as Deb said, I can not maintain a 100% even seat all the time so I rely on my saddle cloth/numnah (but perhaps it should be a gel pad) to absorb the shock/reduce the impact on the pressure points along my horses back. Just as that cushion would help my butt if I suddenly put too much weigh on one side or a thick pair of socks would cushion my toes from being squished if I stepped funnily for a stride.

    I'm no saddle fitter so I'm just going to go with the advice I've been offered. Makes sense to me! :)
  14. mav

    mav Well-known Member

    i got told with the gel pads that they actually increase the pressure points as the gel when it warms/cools gets harder/softer...

    the skito type memory pads are what i was advised, however i stopped using them under his dressage saddle as i forgot to put it on one day and discovered he was much more inclined to use his back and work properly... i do still use it under his jump saddle so if i happen to 'miss' the jump then i am not going to hurt his back with my fat butt :eek:
  15. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    I just wanted to clarify Abb77 that I am talking about back pads, not saddle blankets.

    I also wanted to point out that I am not a fan of overly thick pads, particulary if your saddle has been fitted without the thick pad taken into consideration. Obviously to add a thick pad you will be making it all a very tight fit, particulary over the wither/shoulder area.

    I think it is important to let the saddle fitter know what you plan to use in the way of padding and blankets, and have the saddle fitted with these taken into consideration, which I did. Therefore, my saddle fits WITH the gel pad that I use (although the fitter said that the gel pad is so thin that it would make no difference to the fit of the saddle, but would offer more cushioning than without it. When I tested with my hand under the saddle blanket, then tested with the blanket AND the gel pad, the difference is remarkable!!!!
  16. banjo

    banjo Well-known Member

    deb what sort of pad is yours and do you have a pic... i always wonder about mj's back with me being a heavier rider put want something thin..
  17. abb77

    abb77 Well-known Member

    yeah, dont worry deb2 i realised after i wrote that :p ill test my back pad on monday :D
  18. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    I think its a Grand Prix soft gel half pad. Not exactly sure as I bought it second hand, but it has holes in it and is a sticky texture, apparently suitable to use straight on the horses back to stop saddles rolling, but I made a thin cover for it and use it between the saddle blanket and the saddle. Without the cover it collects horse hair and starts to look very hairy very quickly.
  19. fishiz3434

    fishiz3434 Active Member

    I was told the same thing so I get my saddle fitted with whatever pads/gel-pads I will be using with it, My dressage saddle which i got fitted today is an inch wider than my jumping saddle because I use a gel pad with the dressage one and a sheepskin lined saddle pad under the jumping saddle.
    I was using the gel pad under the jumping saddle but found it made me sit funny in the saddle and not feel as close to my horse.
  20. DNDKatherine

    DNDKatherine New Member

    I have an Acavallo Anti-Slip gel pad for my girl. She was a bit funny about it at first, but adjusted after a couple of rides. Her saddles had a slight tendancy to shift forward a centimetre or so, but not anymore!
    I used to ride her in a half-pad with her old saddle, but with the gel pad and saddle cloth the fitter and my instructor says the half-pad for her is unecessary with my new saddle.

    I can't understand how people have suggested that they create more pressure points in regard to outside temperature? If it is applied directly to the horses back, the temperature of the gel pad will stay relatively the same every time the horse is ridden. i.e. it will remain relatively soft due to the heat radiating from the horses body. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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