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Why are western saddle pads so thick?!

This is a discussion on Why are western saddle pads so thick?! within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category
  • How thick should saddle pad be for trail riding
  • Reinsman saddle pad m2 lite

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    10-01-2012, 11:07 PM
  #21
Trained
Darn near no western saddle will fit so well that it doesn't need anything but a thin blanket. They were not designed to be ridden with a very thin pad, and certainly not with an English pad. I'd recommend at least 1/2" wool felt as a minimum.
     
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    10-01-2012, 11:14 PM
  #22
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
Did you know that if a western saddle fits the horse very well, it doesn't need but a thin blanket and can go all day without getting sore. Try your pony in a your english saddle pad and see how it is. Just watch it for bunching up where you tie the cinch.
While that's true, how many people do you know who have a perfectly fitting western saddle?

I think "back in the old days" people got away with using only a navajo blanket because western saddles came with real sheepskin under the saddle. That could be an inch thick of high quality, dense wool. (And I'm sure it helped that saddles were carefully handmade by master craftsmen, vs. a lot of mass produced or imported saddles today). Now most western saddles come with cheap, synthetic wool that compacts down to a pancake in no time at all. And unlike English saddles, western saddles have no built in padding for the horse.

So, while I know it's true that a well fitting western saddle needs hardly any padding, I have my doubts about the average rider having that perfect fit. And unless they buy an older saddle, or can afford a custom one, they will not have the benefit of real wool.

I like at least a 3/4 inch felt pad for trail riding. If the saddle is a touch wide for the horse, I will use a 1". And I almost always have a single layer Navajo blanket under my pad to keep it clean. A wool Mayatex blanket. Then I always have good quality wool next to my horse.
     
    10-01-2012, 11:37 PM
  #23
Trained
I think the old timers got by with less because their horses didn't last as long. I want my horses to be riding into their 20s and beyond. I don't want them to wear out at 15...

It is possible to overpad, but the padding on a western saddle does more than keep the saddle clean.
     
    10-01-2012, 11:55 PM
  #24
Green Broke
Plus, it just looks cheap and unprofessional when you ride with just a blanket and no pad.
Posted via Mobile Device
SorrelHorse and DrumRunner like this.
     
    10-02-2012, 01:03 AM
  #25
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by MangoRoX87    
Plus, it just looks cheap and unprofessional when you ride with just a blanket and no pad.
Posted via Mobile Device
Agreed with this as well.

So to sum up my feelings:

1) Something to absorb rider impact
2) Fashion.

     
    10-02-2012, 01:09 AM
  #26
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
I think the old timers got by with less because their horses didn't last as long. I want my horses to be riding into their 20s and beyond. I don't want them to wear out at 15...
I feel the same way. My trail horses are 18 and 19 and I hope to keep them riding into their mid 20's if possible, or beyond.
     
    10-02-2012, 09:14 AM
  #27
Foal
Thanks!

Well, I should have expected conflicting advice since there are as many ways to ride as there are riders. But I suppose a range of opinions can be helpful. I feel much more informed now!

I think the issue is the cheap nature of the pad, making it stiff and awkward, not the thickness. I may try a few short rides in it and see how it goes, but I'll be shopping for a nicer one in the meantime. It sounds like wool or felt is the way to go, not foam? What do y'all recommend that is nice but in the lower price range?

Thanks again for the help!
     
    10-02-2012, 09:54 AM
  #28
Green Broke
As with any other thing int he horse world, you get what you pay for. There are some great lower priced pads out there but please don't do cruising through Horse magazine and pick the lowest priced pad. They're usually crap.. What are you looking to do with your horse? That could change what type of pad you should want to look at. If it's just light work then yes, you can go with those lower priced pads but if you're going to be doing some serious riding I would look into probably one of the better pads, they are higher cost wise but will eventually save you money because A. They last longer B. They're higher quality. And C. They're better for your horse and could save you money that would be spent on a chiro or vet visit..

Personally I love, love, love the Classic Equine ESP pads..I have a few and two I've had for two years now and they're still going strong. They fit my horses great and I've never had any problems with it. They're wool and memory foam..Great pads.

This would be a really good pad for you..If you don't like the red/black it also comes in burgundy/tan/brown, and black/turquoise/cream.
Classic Equine® ESP II Wool Top Pad < Wool pads < Saddle pads and Blankets | Smith Brothers

I've never seen or heard of anyone using this pad but it doesn't look bad. It's a little cheaper made but light stuff wouldn't hurt it..I still like the pad I posted first more...Only comes in black and brown..No fun. Lol
Classic Work Pad <br>by Classic Equine

I've heard good things about the Tacky Too pads, I've never used one and probably wouldn't for barrels but it doesn't look like a bad pad.
Reinsman Tacky Too M2 Lite Square Pad - Horse.com

Not sure about this one either but it looks okay..
Mustang Felt Contoured Western Roper Pad 1in Gray - Horse.com

Anyway, those are a few pretty good examples..I think if you're paying around that price range I'd go with the ESP pad I posted first, it's definitely worth the money.

Please do me a favor and don't end up with something along these lines..
Mustang Canvas Felt Bottom Round Ranch Pad - Horse.com
Mustang Cordura Top Saddle Pad - Horse.com
     
    10-02-2012, 10:07 AM
  #29
Green Broke
Diamond Wool pads are pretty nice and much cheaper than many of the others we are talking about.
     
    10-02-2012, 10:10 AM
  #30
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumRunner    
As with any other thing int he horse world, you get what you pay for. There are some great lower priced pads out there but please don't do cruising through Horse magazine and pick the lowest priced pad. They're usually crap.. What are you looking to do with your horse? That could change what type of pad you should want to look at. If it's just light work then yes, you can go with those lower priced pads but if you're going to be doing some serious riding I would look into probably one of the better pads, they are higher cost wise but will eventually save you money because A. They last longer B. They're higher quality. And C. They're better for your horse and could save you money that would be spent on a chiro or vet visit..

Personally I love, love, love the Classic Equine ESP pads..I have a few and two I've had for two years now and they're still going strong. They fit my horses great and I've never had any problems with it. They're wool and memory foam..Great pads.

This would be a really good pad for you..If you don't like the red/black it also comes in burgundy/tan/brown, and black/turquoise/cream.
Classic Equine® ESP II Wool Top Pad < Wool pads < Saddle pads and Blankets | Smith Brothers

I've never seen or heard of anyone using this pad but it doesn't look bad. It's a little cheaper made but light stuff wouldn't hurt it..I still like the pad I posted first more...Only comes in black and brown..No fun. Lol
Classic Work Pad <br>by Classic Equine

I've heard good things about the Tacky Too pads, I've never used one and probably wouldn't for barrels but it doesn't look like a bad pad.
Reinsman Tacky Too M2 Lite Square Pad - Horse.com

Not sure about this one either but it looks okay..
Mustang Felt Contoured Western Roper Pad 1in Gray - Horse.com

Anyway, those are a few pretty good examples..I think if you're paying around that price range I'd go with the ESP pad I posted first, it's definitely worth the money.

Please do me a favor and don't end up with something along these lines..
Mustang Canvas Felt Bottom Round Ranch Pad - Horse.com
Mustang Cordura Top Saddle Pad - Horse.com
Thanks for all the options! Right now Pony and I are both working on getting back in shape, so I only want to do light trail riding, an hour or two max at a walk only.

I understand that the cheaper pads must not be as nice, because why else would they be so cheap, but can you explain a little more what makes the difference? It is so hard to tell online, when one can't feel things and see what they're really like.

A lady I work with recommend combing a 1/2" real wool felt pad liner with a Navajo style blanket over it, for sweat wicking and padding purposes without a ton of bulk. Does that seem like a good idea?
     

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