Shifting saddle pad?

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Shifting saddle pad?

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  • Aussie saddle Navajo blanket
  • Moving saddle pad under saddle

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    11-17-2011, 01:32 AM
Super Moderator
Shifting saddle pad?

I keep finding that Lacey's saddle pad, under her aussie saddle, shifts farther and farther back the longer we ride.
For instance, on our last ride, the pad under the saddle was a folded Navajo blanket that had maybe 6 inches of extra fabric in the front and back of the saddle. By the end of the ride, there was barely 2 inches of fabric in front of the saddle and considerable excess in back of the saddle...

She's never had this issue with western saddles, just the Aussie I have now and the english saddles I rode her in a few years ago that were way too narrow.
This is happening with a Navajo pad and it happened with a english pad (dressage size). My theory is that maybe the pad is moving because the saddle is a little too narrow even though it's currently adjusted as wide as it can go (aka "wide" tree) since Lacey is ridiculously wide?
I just bought an english "baby pad" which is thinner than any other pad I have, on the hope that it might help...

Is there any way I can stop the shifting? Is a shifting pad a sign that the saddle is too narrow or is it just something that happens?
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    11-17-2011, 01:52 AM
And the saddle doesn't shift at all either? Is the seat of the saddle level on the horse's back or is it upward or downward?
    11-17-2011, 02:01 AM
Super Moderator
The saddle does shift slightly forwards or backwards as we ride due to the really hilly terrain we ride over but I ride her with a breast collar and a crupper so the saddle stays relatively in place (it does have about 2 inches of wiggle room though, could that be causing the slippage?).
The saddle+seat is completely level on her back. It might be the slightest bit slanted down towards her withers but it's not an obvious slant, it's a "well...depending on how she's standing, it could be slanting that way, maybe" slant. Hahaha!
She's also pretty mutton withered, which could be a factor.
    11-17-2011, 02:20 AM
Well if it's slanting towards her withers, that's making me believe it's the saddle.. especially since you said it wasn't doing this in the saddle before.

If I picture a saddle in my mind tipping slightly towards the withers, the back of the pad doesn't have as much weight on it as the front.. so slipping would make sense. You can even stimulate it with a remote control and a blanket. If the blanket is flat.. and you place the remote level on the pad.. there isn't slippage.. it's VERY hard for the blanket to move. But if you tip the remote, it's much easier to pull that blanket through.

When you put the saddle on her without the pad, is it level on her back or does it tip? Do you see pinching anywhere.. it is allowing space where it needs to be? If you are still having doubts.. then find a reputable saddle fitter and have them check it.

Is her back developed or is she still growing/developing back muscle?
    11-17-2011, 10:06 PM
I'm also inclined to say this a sign your saddle may not be fitting as well as you think it is. You can always get a really big pad, but that really won't solve the problem and I'm not sure how well a contoured pad would work with an aussie. Can you post some pictures?
    11-17-2011, 10:20 PM
I have had that problem in my past when riding a school horse, long ago, and I was in an English saddle, and I was gripping too much with my knee.
    11-17-2011, 10:34 PM
Super Moderator
I did take some saddle fit pictures right after I got this saddle, everyone seemed to think it was fitting pretty well... But I have ridden in it significantly more now than I had then which could definitely have slightly changed the shape of the saddles padding...

I have to link to them because photobucket doesn't work on my computer, sorry!

Side view with a thick pad:

Side view with thinner, english pad:

Back view, with thin pad:

Wither shot, with thin pad:

I can say that the thicker pad made it fit terribly. Like, the saddle was sliding all over and it was just terrible. Also, I've never actually put the saddle on her, no pad... I really should do that. Maybe tomorrow if I have time. :)

I did ride in it with the baby pad today and my mare was definitely moving more freely than I've felt in a while (we've been going through ill fitting saddles, one after the other). The baby pad didn't slip much either. It did slide back slightly after some intense trot/cantering uphill for 10 minutes but I readjusted it and it stayed after that...
The dirt marks on the pad (it's white) were also very even everywhere under the saddle, anecdotal-y.

I would say that her back is still developing muscle. I mean, her back has increased in width and muscling dramatically over the last year and I'd assume that that trend is most likely continuing... And she is nearly 27 so she loses and gains muscle like crazy.

To Tinyliny's comment, I'm pretty sure I do grip with my knees. :/ At least, my lower leg moves a lot while I post and I've heard that that's a sign of knee gripping... Is there anything I can do to fix that?
    11-17-2011, 10:43 PM
I have no idea what causes it, but this used to happen to me with bundy, only some pads and not others. I found ones with no shaped backbone were worst.
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    11-17-2011, 10:45 PM
Take a picture without any pads, just sit the saddle on her back.. it looks to be narrow but I want to make sure.

And take pictures without the pads from all angles... from the front of the horse, each side, and the back.
    11-18-2011, 12:37 AM
This picture looks pretty low on her withers for no weight in the saddle:

How is the clearance toward the rear of the wither? Can you slide your finger along the top of the wither and not contact saddle as you go back? You say she has flat withers, so maybe it is just an optical illusion for me, since my horses both have tall withers.

Also, could the shoulder as it moves be pushing the front toward the rear? I don't know if that is even possible, just asking...

Also, on width - remember there are two ways a saddle can be said to be wide. One is the angle, and that is usually what english saddles measure. How flat is the ANGLE of the saddle.

The other is width, as measured in a horizontal line. That is more commonly discussed with western saddles, but it is a feature of all saddle styles. If the saddle is too wide on a horizontal line, then it will fall down in the front no matter if the angle matches or not.

Check your saddle without the pad, and look to see if the angle of the saddle-shoulder is right, and also see if either squeezing the saddle together horizontally or spreading it apart would change how the saddle rides.

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