Riding pads

A saddler would probably throw his arms over his head if you asked him for a good riding pad. No protection for the horse's back, no support for the rider, how can a harmonious relationship be found?

Other horse people, on the other hand, are very enthusiastic about riding pads and hide saddles. They want a natural feeling on the horse's back, want to feel every movement and have a little more support through the pad than when riding without a saddle.

So where does the truth lie? Is a riding pad or a felt saddle harmful to the horse's sensitive back?

The answer to this question is, as with many topics in the world of horses: It depends on you and your horse, and what you intend to do with the riding pad. What models and types are there and what are the respective areas of application? The riding pad, pad or also bareback pad means the same thing, namely treeless saddles that are attached to the horse's back with a girth. There are riding pads with stirrups and without.

The saddle is a treeless pad padded with lambskin. Lambskin has the advantage that it absorbs sweat and is antibacterial. Furthermore, the fur provides additional padding and thus protects the horse's back. This riding pad is available with stirrups, but you should use it without, because the stirrups can cause pressure peaks and this would stress your horse and damage the back if you were to ride with stirrups for a long time.

The hide saddle is well suited for short training sessions where you want to train your seat and follow your horse's movements. Furthermore, the pad is very comfortable.

The felt saddle, in contrast to the hide saddle, has a moulded inlay made of different foams. This inlay puts the rider upright and protects your horse from too much punctual pressure. The girth is fitted in a way that is gentle on the horse, and the horse's withers do not receive any pressure. Since the felt saddle does not use stirrups, no pressure is built up on the horse's back.

It is therefore a good alternative for seat training and a harmonious riding experience if you know your horse well. Riding a young, impetuous horse with such a saddle would not be a very good idea, because you need a firm seat for this.

Furthermore, the ride on pad from the company Barefoot is very popular when it comes to small training sessions that are easy on the back. This pad has the advantage that it has a V-strap, which distributes the pressure of the rider's weight over the entire pad. The ends of the girths are secured with so-called patches, which are filled with sheep's wool and prevent the girth from chafing.

Are treeless saddles now the future of riding and can you send your saddler home again?

Of course saddles have their place, a pad cannot replace a well-fitting saddle. Keep in mind that some conditions have to be met for riding with pads. For one thing, your horse should be well muscled, and you should not have more than 90 kilos of rider weight. Keep in mind that this is a general value, because every horse and every rider is different. Listen to your horse, he will tell you if he is comfortable with the pad or not.

If you want to do long rides, you should not use a ride on pad, but switch to a saddle just as you would for very intensive training. However, a bareback pad is a good alternative if you want to work on your seat and balance or feel your horse's muscle movement.

Young horses can also be gently accustomed to the rider's weight with the pad. And of course a well-fitting pad can bridge the time until the saddler has found the right saddle for your horse.