I don’t know about you, but I have a really difficult time finding saddle pads to fit my saddle.
As an ample-reared lady, I need some room in my saddle. I will cover my opinions on saddles for larger rear ends later.
I currently have an Ainsley ProNational Cross Country saddle. I know, I know, that is definitely not a saddle you would normally see at a rated show. I get that, but this is the only saddle I have ever found that gives enough room for my butt that I can sink back into it. I’ve had many others. I even had this saddle once before, but was pressured to sell it because it wasn’t the norm. That was a big mistake.
Some people think that the larger you are, the more padding you need. This just isn’t true, a proper fit with the right amount of padding will work just fine. Because I ride multiple horses, I have several pads that I mix and match to make the best setup for each horse.
My saddle is an 18″, but it is a long 18″. My previous saddle was an 18.5, and this one fits me better and seems larger. It also has a very forward flap. The flap makes it extra difficult, but my number one problem is finding square pads long enough to accommodate the seat.
I certainly don’t want to ride in a pad that is too short. That would create a pressure point on my horse’s back. Very few companies offer a good option.
Half pads are another issue. Not only is the length an issue, but also the width for the pads and back of the saddle.
Here are some options I currently have in my rotation:
Dover Rider’s Extra-Long Contoured Pad
This is a fantastic saddle pad. Not only is it long enough to fully cover the underside of my saddle and half pads, but it comes in both a contoured spine and straight spine model. Most of the horses I ride have pronounced withers, so I stick with the contoured version. At $35 dollars, it’s well worth it. I keep several around.
Another option for the base layer is a baby pad. Most baby pads are long enough to work, but they are usually just a square of material, so if your horse has withers it may not work. I do like the ThermoManager baby pads that SmartPak carries. They are kind of stretchy, so they will mold to fit a large-withered horse. I have a few, and especially in the summer, they are pretty handy.
The Diamond Wool Sure Seat Half Pad
Since it was introduced on the market many moons ago, the Beval Therapeutic Half pad in sheepskin and wool felt has been a staple of many people’s tack trunks. But, even in the largest size, you’d be hard-pressed to fit it under even a 17.5 inch saddle. This pad is nearly identical, only it is made for western saddles, so it even fits my cross country behemoth. I’m on my second one, in fact! I get them at State Line Tack, and they work very well for horses that need some wither relief.
The ThinLine Trifecta Cotton Half Pad
This pad is fantastic. It comes in white and black, and in multiple sizes. I have the large, and it is plenty long and plenty wide for my saddle. I had a large in the original ThinLine pad, which is just ThinLine material, and it barely fit under the saddle. It made me nervous because it had to be in exactly the right place to not cause pressure points. The trifecta is bigger. It is also shimmable, which is great. You can get front, middle, and back shims in the ThinLine material. I use this pad on everyone.
The EA Mattes Sheepskin Half Pad
These are great. I think this is my third one. They come in jumping and dressage styles, but I have used them interchangeably. I believe this is actually a dressage model. This is a large, and it is plenty long and wide for my saddle. They make a rolled back model, but always get them without the roll in the back so I have the maximum amount of useable space. I like the open spine on these, too. The sheepskin has a gap to allow for clearance.
When I say I’m on my second or third one of something, it isn’t because the item broke down on me or was defective. I have a tendency to give things away or sell them the moment I don’t think I need them anymore, or I like to have multiples. That’s just me.
One pad I’ve been coveting lately is an Ogilvy. I’m about to pull the trigger, and I will definitely share my experiences with it.
Here, Benjamin Moore models the Dover square pad with the EA Mattes and ThinLine Trifecta. (Shirt-Swing by Bette & Court, Breeches-Patrol by TuffRider, Boots-Fuller Fillies)