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Use of Saddle Pads

9144 Views 14 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  HeartMyOTTB
I am just curious why back in the olden' days very few riders rode with saddle pads. It seems like from the eighties and before then, all riders rode without. About 25 years ago when my mother purchased a saddle from a saddle shop they reccomended her not to use a saddle pad, it was better to let the sweat soften the leather so it will mold to the horses back. I have always been curious to why they didn't use them then, but they do now. It seems like saddle pads provide no padding or protection (other than absorbing moisture) from the saddle as they are mostly just thin cloth.

Anyone know?
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its mostly just to keep the saddle clean. unless the saddle doesnt really fit them right & you need a correction pad.
In the older days people didnt really understand the need of a saddle pad.
nowadays we look at it as protection for the horses back , but back then , the "saddle pad" which was really just a piece of cloth, was used to keep the saddle clean , IF that.
Technically if the saddle fits right you shouldn't need any kind of pad. So, basically it's just to keep the saddle clean.
I've always heard its to prevent the saddle from rubbing the horses' skin raw while riding. Even if it fits right, there is still the very good chance that it might wiggle around some while riding, which can cause irriation to the skin.
That's just what I've heard, but haven't thought too much about it and this has sparked my intrest :)
Okay, interesting to know. It's just odd you don't see anyone ride with out them anymore.
Technically if the saddle fits right you shouldn't need any kind of pad. So, basically it's just to keep the saddle clean.
Gillian is right. The only use for a saddle pad is to keep the saddle clean from the horses body. Nothing more, nothing less.

Marketing companies like to make money, so they come out with schpeels that saddle pads correct and protect the horses back, and many buy into it and spend their hard earned money - putting them in the pockets of the companies who shovel them out.

All a saddle pad is meant to do, is just keep the dirt and sweat from ruining the leather of the saddle panels.
Saddle blankets do nothing to aid the fit of a saddle. They keep dirt, sweat and hair from affecting the saddle, nd may prevent small rubs from bumps/etc on the underside of the saddle (but a well-made saddle should have none).

Nowadays they have evolved to become an aesthetic accessory - They look good! Who doesn't love co-ordinating their gear or getting the smartest looking pad?

My saddle fits perfectly and doesn't need a pad. However, it has a felt underside and sweat would stiffen and stain the felt. I use only wool saddle cloths - They are even, don't get too hot or cold, aren't too thick, and look good :]
& to look cute/bright/pretty haha

i sometimes ride with out one, but not very often because my saddle will get dirty to quick
Oh that's very interesting. My QH who has a lot of TB in him acually does better with out a saddle pad. The gullets seemes to fit onto his higher wither better, and the saddle doesn't want to roll around. On my wide backed Irish mare, when I ride without a saddle pad, the saddle seemes to "sink" down a bit and opens up over her shoulders better as she moves. I haven't ever noticed it doing before with a saddle pad. Could be my imagination though =]
Its to prevent the saddle from rubbing the horses' skin raw while riding =

Exactly what i think! Riding without a saddle pad, wouldn't it pinch or rub on the horses back? I always thought the thicker saddle pad the better. I HATE the thought of riding without one.. :-|
Wouldn't it bring out the bad side of your horse while riding, like with a bad fitting saddle?

Do some horses go better without one? Wow! I might have a go with my TB !

Note me if im wrong!
Yeah, I have a very old hunt saddle that is VERY close contact. I rode my QH in it without a pad and was very impressed. Without a pad it felt so close contact. It felt like I going bareback, but still have the sercurity and comfort of a saddle. On my newer hunt saddle, which is a cloase contact with much thicker leather, I didn't see to much in a change of contact feel. Same goes for my newer dressage saddle. But yeah, you should try it, I prefer without better.
I only use one to keep my saddle clean... My saddle would be disgusting if not since my horse tends to sweat a lot.
However when I first got my saddle I did an initial break in period without a saddle pad so that his sweat/etc would help mold the saddle to the shape of his back better (as per the company's recommendation)
Here is a tid-bit of trivia for everyone on the subject! Did you know that up until 1955, saddles were only made to fit the rider, and not the horse? Very little consideration was given to a horses back on the show circuit. Perhaps that is why around the 80's no saddle pads were used, because at that point, saddles were being manufactured for the horses fit. And like someone said before, as saddles get more and more expensive, you want to preserve the leather... And to increase the number of fun and colorful appearal you have for your horse, of course!!
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