Gel Pad Advice!
Hi! I was wondering if anyone has experience/info/comments with gel pads. I was considering one for my horse to help make the saddle fit better. The saddle fits ok, but I think it squeezes her wither area a bit. Would a gel pad help fit the saddle to her in a more custom way? Oh, this is a dressage saddle on a QH.
You cannot fix a too-tight saddle with extra pads. It's like putting thick socks on with shoes that are too tight.
Some pictures of the horse and saddle would help. Take them with saddle on, no pad, lightly girthed. Get a side shot (standing on level/hard ground with head up), a back view (stand on something if you need to), and a 3/4 front view of his WHOLE shoulder (a close up of the withers tells us nothing).
As for gel pads, most are worthless. They will trap and even create heat and the gel simply moves away from pressure, so there is no shock absorption or comfort for the horse with a saddle that doesn't fit just perfectly.
I have to agree with the "gel pads are worthless" comment. I used to be a big time gel pad user and would only use them as an extra pad. However I later learned that the gel pads do become heavy on a horses back, they also get very hot and trap heat as they are not breathable. Now I don't go near gel pads - I use sheepskin half pads instead. They are soft and light and very breathable.
If you are wanting to use extra padding you might want to think about getting your saddle fitted with the extra padding so it isn't to tight for your horse. My QH doesn't care how he is ridden, but my TB who is sensitive prefers the extra padding. With him I use a square saddle pad, half pad, and then my saddle. I got my saddle fitted with the extra padding so that it is the perfect fit. Just a thought!
Rule Number 1
If the saddle dosen't fit - it dosen't fit.
If your saddle is pinching the wither area then it will cause your horse nothing but discomfort and pain. It will unbalance her as she will compensate for the pain on the forehand. There is also a real possibility that the saddle will be ' bridgeing ' which is less obvious and big cause of back problems
A gel pad or any other accessory will do nothing to solve the problem of the saddle being the wrong shape.
Some pics of the saddle ( without pads ) would be useful.
I do have to agree that there's no pad in the world that could make a too tight saddle fit. However, I don't agree that all gel pads are bad. Most of them are pure crap for reasons already mentioned. Alfa Gel pads are the only good gel pad that I'm aware of. The one thing that sets them apart from other pads is that they're full of holes. Like a piece of swiss cheese. This makes them lighter, breathable and the gel isn't that liquid type of gel so it doesn't get squished out of the way.
But anyway, you need to look into getting another saddle.
I would just get a new saddle, like everybody has said nothing is going to fit a too tight saddle.
I also agree that gel pads are useless, in my experance they always either bunch up or slide around.
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