Can a pad fix my saddle problem?
My (cheap western) saddle fits my horse (a little arab mare) pretty well, but there are two points where it puts too much pressure: right under the base of the tree. By points, I mean just that, they're not horizontal or vertical lines of pressure, just two small points. The rest of the saddle rests nicely with even pressure and maximum contact area.
It's okay for very short rides; it's not that bad... But it definitely needs to be fixed before any long rides. If she's ridden too long the way it is now, the pressure eventually becomes pain, and she lets me know about it by bucking a little. (Don't blame her for trying to buck off something that probably hurts.)
So, could a special pad help alleviate these two pressure points?
Which would be better:
1) a thick, foam-like pad, cutting holes in the pad in that area.
2) a gel-filled pad, which should redistribute the pressure to the whole pad (if such a thing exists).
3) something else I haven't thought of.
Yes, I could just replace the saddle, but besides these two points, it fits well, and I like it. If I could fix the problem with a different pad, it would be cheaper and easier.
Ive always heard saddle pads just make the problem worse... but maybe thats just normal ones.... im not sure
Do you have a pic of your saddle?
There are memory foam pads out there that MIGHT help...but I would still always worry about it.
I don't personally like padding to fix the problem. Rather buy a higher quality saddle that fits.
If the mare is in pain, the saddle doesn't fit. If you have to ride her very little before she is being obvious about the pain, then a pad would just make the pressure of the points worse. Look for a saddle that gives her releif, so she doesn't hurt and you don't have to worry =)
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If the saddle is too wide, then padding can help. If the saddle is too narrow, there's nothing you can do. Pictures would be helpful.
And yes, I can certainly see an ordinary pad would make the problem worse, but since the pressure is only in two points, a pad with those points cut out might work fine... has anybody tried that before?
Also, I would buy another saddle, but the money isn't there, especially not to buy any of the ones in local stores, which seem to exclusively carry $1000+ saddles... And without being able to try it on first, I doubt I'd find one that fit better.
By 'at the base of the tree', where exactly are you talking about? On each side of her withers where the fork of the tree meets the bars like where the scars are on this horse? (you can see the small white spots by his withers)
If so, you might have some success with a different pad that is more supportive (and more expensive). Though I wouldn't suggest trying to cut holes in a pad to relieve the pressure. IME, all that does is changes the pressure point to another location and sometimes makes it worse to the point that it wears sores on their back.
You might look into this company
CSI Saddlepads ? Western, English, Paso Fino, Endurance, Arabian and general purpose equine saddle pads.
but I don't know how well they work.
If the saddle tree is the wrong angle, it can cause the tree to cause pressure points. If the tree flares too much away from the horse, that would cause the upper points to press in to the horse, as illustrated in smrobs' picture above. A thicker pad would help lift the saddle up off the horse, alleviating some of the pressture.
If the tree angle is too steep, then the pommel will sit too high off the horse and the base tree points will dig in to the shoulder. There's nothing you can do to fix this issue at all.
We really need to see pictures in order to advise you correctly.
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