When it comes to saddle pads, it turns out the old timers had it right. The natural fibres they were using are still the best material to put against your horse. There are a few good reasons why wool still rates higher than other materials in studies done on saddle pad performance.
In recent years the use of synthetic materials for saddle pads have become quite popular with companies claiming the superiority of these materials. And many of the synthetic materials are fantastic. For Nasa space programs. But not necessarily for a living breathing animal that sweats and has pain receptors in the soft tissue of their bodies.
Keep in mind the main reason we use a saddle pad is to keep our saddles clean and to provide added comfort and protection to our horse’s back muscles through shock absorption, breathability and temperature regulation.
If we use synthetic materials we are loosing the benefits of the saddle pad for the horse. The main reasons for this are the inability for synthetic materials to breathe and therefore they will trap heat against the horse. The horse’s back will not be able to dissipate the heat, and sweat will accumulate against the horse.
Can you imagine wearing a neoprene, gel or foam strap around your torso on a warm day while out for a hike? Imagine how fast you would want to ditch that?
And this is where wool comes in. Nature has always had the answer to what we should use against our horses.
The beauty of wool and wool felt is its ability to regulate heat and pull moisture away from the surface areas of a warm body. The way mother nature has designed wool fibre will keep a horse warm in the winter, and cool in the warmer riding seasons. All while absorbing the sweat from the horse’s back.
Wool also protects the horse in the ability to absorb shock while being rode. When a rider is in a trot or canter, a wool felt saddle pad will cushion the horse against the bounce of a rider’s movements back into the saddle seat.
Whether you are needing an endurance saddle pad, Australian saddle pad or western pad, you will need to consider the shape of the saddle. Your pad should compliment the contours and shape of your saddle to provide the best fit.
We make sure our pads are contoured for the horse’s spine, offer wither relief cut outs, and nylon straps for the sweat flap of an Australian saddle, and girth straps for English style saddles.
Quality of wool is highly important when looking at wool pads. Many cheap saddle pads are made of a lower grade felt which can have synthetic fillers and lack proper cleaning of the felt. Look for F10 or F11 which is a standard for best quality in wool felt.
After a few good rides a wool felt saddle pad will begin to mold to your horse’s back. This will compliment a well fitting saddle and last for many years.
And if you need a custom saddle pad made to your saddles specs? We are happy to help. We started building these pads because we couldn’t find a good quality wool felt, especially for the Australian saddle. But saying that, we have built pads for Western, English and Endurance riders. If you have specific requests please reach out and let us know.