Saddle Pad Thickness - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By Feathers7
  • 3 Post By AtokaGhosthorse
  • 2 Post By QueenofFrance08
  • 3 Post By COWCHICK77
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-10-2019, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2019
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Saddle Pad Thickness


I stumbled upon this article: I wondering what your opinions were on this. I do know that more pad does not always equal "better", but is one-fourth inch (0.63 cm) really the "golden thickness"?
Candy Apple is offline  
post #2 of 5 Old 12-11-2019, 04:50 AM
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Before reading the article...
1) Depends on what the pad is made of...aka how dense the material is.
2) Depends on what it's intended for. Is it just a pad, or is it for distribution and/or dissipation of downward force?
3) Depends on whether you use a constructive saddling method, which implies more padding.

And now I've read the article and agree with this point: if a saddle fits perfectly, then yes - it is probably not a good idea to use a thick, inflexible, and non-fitted pad with it. I've never been a fan of those anyway. If you put the pad on the horse's back and it doesn't follow the shape of the back, or looks (and almost feels) like a plywood board sitting on the horse's back, I'm not having it. I like sheepskin (shave a gullet down the middle) or just a blanket for my western saddle. Foam in a spine-relief pad would be nice too. I think we recently had a conversation similar to this and @horselovinguy pointed out that a well-fitted saddle does not require a pad to help it fit. In my opinion, it's just there to help cushion and dissipate any sharp energy down onto the horse's back from the rider's seat.

Picture what would happen if you had a pair of shoes that fit and then you put on an extra pair of socks. It would obviously change the fit to the point where the socks were causing the pressure, not the shoes.
While this makes perfect sense, nobody in their right mind would wear a 'just right' pair of shoes with 2 pairs of thick, woolen socks. Right? You'd start with shoes that are slightly too big, and hence keep your feet warm and padded with the socks. The shoes would still need to fit the arch of your foot though! So enter constructive saddling. Basically it takes a saddle that would fit perfectly if it were narrower, and widens that a little. Cushioning and impact-shock material is then used to fill in the small amount of extra space, but leaves enough room for movement in the scapula. It's an interesting concept and appears to be working for my horse. Everybody's different! =)

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post #3 of 5 Old 12-11-2019, 12:14 PM
Green Broke
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As with all things equine - the situation with a pad can be very fluid. There are so many variables and some can be seasonal (Is this pad perfect thickness but too hot for summer? Do we need a sweat pad under it? Is my horse looking a might bit bony because it's early spring and the grass isn't in yet?)

Is my horse hard to fit? (that's my big thing with a pad - will it help Trigger's saddle fit him right?)

It's very situational, IMO. But. I read that article very early on in my own odyssey into horsemanship and found it very helpful. Personally, for everyone but my younger fillies and my bestest buddy trail horse, Trigger, I find that a 3/4" wool felt pad, contoured to fit the back of a horse, is all the pad we need. It allows for seasonal fluctuations in shape and size, and allows for room to put a sweat pad under it in summer.

My three favorites are a 3/4" Tod Sloan I acquired barely used (Fits everyone), and a 1" 5 Star that I acquired fairly well used but also with many long years of life left in it (Trigger's pad alone); and a very used condition Relentless 3/4" (Also fits everyone).

Teskey's has their own store brand in a wool felt and I've liked all of theirs. They start out stiff but break in quickly, last a good long time.

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
AtokaGhosthorse is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 12-11-2019, 12:43 PM
Join Date: May 2017
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I think it depends on the saddle as well. Best example of this is the thickness of an english pad vs a western pad.

I know Synergist and a lot of the similar endurance saddle makers use special pads/cushions on the underside of their saddles and they say they work best with thin pads as to not interfere with pad/panel movement. Reactor Panel, Orthoflex, and similar brands make their own thin saddle "booties" that velcro onto the pads instead of using a saddle pad for that reason.

So as usual.... It depends!
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QueenofFrance08 is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 12-11-2019, 03:13 PM
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The article was more about compression than a magical thickness.

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