Can your saddle pad affect how well the saddle fits?

Fitting your saddle correctly to your horse is paramount in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the horse. Incorrectly fitted saddle can, in fact, cause back pain, spasms, and decrease the performance of the horse. A saddle that does not fit properly can be painful, thus making your horse uncomfortable during the ride. But did you know that even a wrong kind of saddle pad can affect how well your saddle fits?

Ophena Evolution Saddle Pad

The importance of properly fitted saddle

When you purchase a saddle for your horse, the most important thing is to make sure that the saddle fits the horse's back properly. Unfortunately, many riders make the mistake of not fitting the saddle. Ideally, when a saddle is put on the horse's back, it should stay on the correct spot, not sliding or moving sideways, and with enough room between the withers and the spine. 

The idea is to put the saddle on the horse's back without a saddle pad to check for the right fit. This is because saddle pad that is too thick, for instance, can cause the saddle to fit improperly, or cause the illusion that it does fit the horse better. 

An improperly fitted saddle can cause, for instance:

  • Back pain for the horse
  • Spasms
  • Decreased performance
  • The horse may misbehave during the ride due to uncomfortable saddle

What to put under the saddle?

Of course, everyone knows that a saddle pad is a must when riding. However, the purpose of a saddle pad is to make the leather sit more comfortably on the horse, and to absorb sweat. This prevents the saddle from rubbing against the skin and causing sweat burns and loss of hair. 

In a perfect situation, the saddle needs nothing else but a regular saddle pad underneath. However, in some cases, riders need to put some more cushion under the saddle, such as:

  • Sheepskins
  • Gel pads
  • Shock absorbent pads
  • Pads that prevent the saddle from sliding

The first thing to do after fitting the saddle is to make sure that the saddle fits even with your saddle pad. For instance, a saddle pad that is too thick can cause the saddle to sway from side to side, or to side backwards or forwards.

On the other hand, a saddle pad that is too thin might not absorb sweat well enough and it may cause skin problems. 

Always remember to have a professional saddle fitter to come and fit your saddle for the horse. They can, when needed, also guide you about the use of gel pads and other pads underneath the saddle.

Ophena Evolution saddle pad

Ophena launched a new Evolution saddle pad in 2020. It is luxuriously comfortable, midnight blue jump saddle pad that completes any look. It has been designed with the horse in mind, without compromising the beautiful design. 

Our customers love our Evolution pad and safety stirrups (Ophena S and Ophena T). Take a look at our shop and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.