Horse riding requires proper preparation and equipment. Equipment does not only consist of the rider’s gear such as proper shoes, clothing, or helmet, but also the things that improve the horse’s comfort such as saddle pads.
How to use saddle pads
Saddle pads’ primary task is to protect the horse’s back. They adjust the positioning of the saddle, cushion impacts and hits on the spine and properly distribute pressure. However, it is not a solution versatile enough to improve the situation if the saddle is wrongly fitted and should have never been put on the horse. A saddle that is too wide or too long cannot be corrected even by the best pad, so if you have a wrongly fitted saddle, we recommend a visit at a saddler or buying a new product.
BTW. I know probably the best specialist in case of saddle fitting with saddle pads. I mean Equishop. You will find all types of saddle pads & numnahs in their online shop.
Types of numnahs
There are many saddle pads available on the market. Which one to choose so that it meets your horse’s needs?
- Natural fur numnah – it is a very thick pad that is most often made of sheep wool. It absorbs sweat well and cushions impacts, however, it is recommended to use a saddle one size bigger than without it.
- Faux fur numnah – this type of product is of worse quality and regardless of the price – it will look good only at the beginning. Faux fur is known for pilling, lumping, and looking plain ugly really fast. Besides the look, a faux fur pad is less elastic and worse at absorbing impacts – especially when it is a little worn-out.
- Gel pad – it is a product very easy to keep clean. All you have to do is to rinse it with running water and dry or leave to dry on its own. It protects the horse’s back well and evenly distributes pressure. The gel material does not absorb sweat and is antibacterial. Its thinness allows you to store and clean it easily. They often have perforated texture, which allows the horse’s skin to breathe.
- Sponge pad – the functionality of sponge pads is similar to those made of faux fur. They tend to lump and lose their shape. Sponge pads at the beginning come back to their original shape but with time they lose their plasticity and damage easily. Its low price lures you to buy it, however, we recommend using sponge pads as a short-term, emergency solution.
- Foam pad – they are a great solution similar to gel pads. They are light, elastic, and easy to keep clean. They are much better than sponges. They absorb impacts better and provide higher comfort. They are often profiled which makes the saddle fit even better to the horse’s back. These pads are made of stiff foam or memory foam. The second type is often used as padding, as it molds to the shape of the horse’s back with temperature.
Choosing the right pad is a very individual choice and depends on many aspects, such as financial abilities, frequency and style of riding. While making that choice, you need to consider your own safety and safety of your horse as the most important factors.