It could be for schooling, trail riding, endurance, or even rehabbing a horse. The search for the best saddle pad for trail riding is almost as confusing and as mysterious as the search for the best saddle. Many riders have a pad that they are very confident of, while others try out several models before they can decide on the one that best suits them; one that helps them solve the horse’s back soreness problem, or just one that gives just the right amount of cushioning.
When you are out searching for the right saddle pad, you first need to ask yourself the right question, and that question is: What exactly does the pad do for both me and my horse?
Listed below is the order of importance of a saddle pad:
- It minimizes friction
- Saddle pads do not trap heat.
- They wick sweat away from the horse’s skin.
- They add to your comfort.
- They also protect the horse’s back from pressure.
In a survey that targeted a variety of saddle pad users, most people were made to answer the question, “What do you want the saddle pad to do for your horse?” Many answered, “To protect the horse’s back from too much pressure.” But is that what really should be the main focus? What exactly is putting the pressure on in the first place?
You should never attempt to correct an ill-fitting saddle with a pad. Here, we would need to look into what causes your horse’s back soreness from the inevitable forces that work together during the process of riding a horse.
Here, we will take a look at the horse and the rider’s biomechanics in the walk.
The horse, walking on four legs has a four-beat walk that makes it swing naturally from side to side. We, as humans, are bipeds, and we can easily handle the horse’s walk, as long as they do not push simultaneously from back to front with both seat bones, which does not harmonize with the horse’s movements, counteracting any efforts that will keep the horse’s back in sound shape. Following the movement of the horse in a relaxed manner, switching between the forward movement and right and left sides of your pelvis to flow with the movement of the horse will see to it that you are not working against your horse.