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jsandberg 01-12-2011 12:01 PM

Pad Vs. Blanket
I do mostly trail riding and I just starting to build my collection of my very own tack. I have been using my aunts for a very long time because I use her horses. But anyway I was wondering how do you feel about using just a blanket as opposed to using a pad? My saddle fits great on the horse I use and my aunt does have pads I just thought of having my very own. I can see the blankets tend to be cheaper than pads but I want t make sure I am getting something that is not hurting my horse. Tell me what you think?

Poseidon 01-12-2011 12:47 PM

Do you ride English or Western?

I ride western and always use a pad 1) because that's how I was taught and I don't really think about it anymore and 2) Western saddles don't have the padding underneath them that English saddles do, so the pad provides cushioning on the horse's back and protects them from pressure points that your butt can cause.

Pads are more expensive, yes, but if you take care of them, they'll last for a long time. Or you can put a blanket on top of your pad (as in, the pad is inside of the blanket) to keep it cleaner than without.

If you ride English...I have no idea.

jsandberg 01-12-2011 12:50 PM

That helps a lot and makes sense I ride western as well and have always seen a pad as well. Deffinetly sounds like it is worth the extra cash to make it comfy for my Horsie!

Poseidon 01-12-2011 12:53 PM

Yep. And you can creep around random online tack stores and occasionally you'll find a really good deal. Or if you have a local tack shop, check for sales. I saw a flier for a tack shop 20 minutes away having a weekend sale. I got a Reinsman Tacky Too pad (which I find online for around $80-90) for $60.

bsms 01-12-2011 12:56 PM

I use a 3/4 inch wool pad with a western saddle - usually. Sometimes I just fold a Navajo blanket underneath. If the saddle fits well, a lot of padding isn't needed, and the density of a folded blanket seems enough to keep the horses happy - but I haven't tried just a blanket on any LONG rides...nothing over an hour.

One of these days I'll probably break down and get a 30x30" Navajo blanket and use it with the wool felt pad. That would look decent and I wouldn't have any fear of the horses getting hurt.

With an English saddle, I normally use the Navajo blanket. It probably looks weird, but the horses seem comfortable. The sweat is even, the hair flat, and they seem happier on mounts and dismounts with a wool blanket than with a cotton pad.

PaintLover17 01-13-2011 12:32 AM

I always use a pad... two actually. It depends on the horse but most seem to prefer the extra padding. My mare has a strangely shaped back and enjoys having 2in of padding between her and the saddle.
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tinyliny 01-13-2011 02:08 AM

If saddle fits. use minimum amount of padding necessary. a folded navajo would be fine. make sure NO wrinkles. this is advantage of pad no fold no wrinkles.

sorry my arthritis makes t;yping hard

luvs2ride1979 01-13-2011 07:58 AM

You should never use a blanket alone. All should be used with some kind of liner pad, at least 1/4" thick felt. Only those really thick doubled wool blankets could be used alone, under a saddle that fits the horse really well and on a horse with plenty of muslce on his back.

Today's western saddles are not made to be used with only a thin blanket, no matter how well they fit a horse. The synthetic fleece under most saddles does not provide any real protection to the horse from the bars of the saddle. There needs to be some real padding between the horse and the saddle tree. At minimum you need a 3/4" felt saddle pad alone, or a 1/2" felt liner pad under a thin navajo pad (single or doubled). A 1/4" liner only works with higher quality wool blankets that are thick, like the Mayatex show blankets or similar.

If you're doing a lot of trail riding up and down hills, over varried terrain, I would suggest a quality 3/4" felt pad. If you don't have the budget for something like a 5-Star pad, Diamond Wool makes a decent felt pad. I have a couple of theirs and they have done well for me. Another option is a Toklat Woolback or Coolback fleece pad. These pads are fleece material and the coolback comes in fun colors. They provide some real cushion to the saddle and the saddle "settles" in to the fleece, helping the pad stay in place. They whick moisture to help keep the horse's back cool.

On the flip side, too much padding can make your saddle unstable and it can change how it fits the horse. Think about wearing multiple pairs of socks with either too big or just right shoes. It just feels awkward. If you want extra cushion, you can go with a quality theraputic pad like a ProChoice pad, Supracor, or Skito (my favorite!). ThinLine makes a great pad that's quality felt with their shock absorbing thinline material sewn in to the top. Or you can buy a pad made of just the ThinLine material and use it with a thick blanket or other pad. I have four ThinLine pads and 5 Skito pads and really love them. They perform well. I also have one Supracor and like it too, though it's a bit stiff.

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