I have a problem with saddle pads.
I just don’t like the way most 'run-of-the-mill' saddle pads are designed. The size, the material that they are made from, and most of all…their price(!).
After working at One Stop Horse Shop for a while I have come to appreciate the differences in riding disciplines. I understand the different needs of the dressage rider, the eventer, the pony clubber and the showies. It has been a fascinating journey, and I enjoy hearing the vast array of stories from all the horse enthusiasts out there.
But...I am a trail rider (and proud of it!). I love going bush all day, finding rivers to swim in, relaxing on a cool crisp morning as the sun rises over distant hills, riding by myself or in great mobs of riders, and never quite knowing what’s around the next bend (possibly a great big bunyip in the shape of a plastic bag caught in a fence - if you ask my horse!).
This is where saddle pads differ greatly. I look at the saddle pads that are sold through the shop and think to myself "that pad would only last an hour before it would be soaked through with sweat" or “"white?… who makes a white saddle pad! My trail horses and I would turn a white pad brown (or should I say 'caramel') before I even got out of the yard!”.
And then there is the size. Quite frankly, my stock saddle would eat up most of the saddle pads on the market and there would certainly be no room for my saddle bags to sit upon it. The western saddle pads are great, but they are also thick and heavy, with not quite enough drop for my liking when you ride in a stock saddle or swinging fender and the like.
So if you are reading this and nodding your head in agreement (I hope at least some of you are!) then I have finally discovered a saddle pad I like. It is called the Pioneer Wool Saddle Pad - With Pockets.
I really like the fact that this saddle pad is made from a wool blend, making it more natural and breatheable, and it is not a thick heavy pad. If you have a well-fitting saddle then the pad should protect your saddle from sweat, and provide extra comfort for the horse, rather then altering your saddle fit completely (like some tend to do!).
It has ties at the front and back to attach to your saddle D’s to stop it from slipping. I personally didn’t find this was necessary, but it is handy to have if you have one of “those” horses.) There are suede wear strip under the saddle flaps and at the middle at the front, which is handy to figure out where the middle of the blanket is and see if the blanket is slipping.
But what made me smile were the pockets. Such wonderful and useful pockets!
These amazing pockets are really quite large with a long thick velcro strip. When I first discovered the velcro I thought hooray - no more water bottles flung out during a good gallop. They are also divided in the middle so you can put your lunch on one side and your dunny paper on the other side. Its large enough to hold a 600ml water bottle or a few cans of Bundy…or anything else your heart may desire for the perfect trail ride!
The pockets are long but they are attached over a large area. They stop a lot of the bounce that can occur with normal saddle bags that you attach separately.
The only thing that I possibly change is the length. If it was an inch longer it would sit perfectly. I have an extra-large stock saddle and the pockets are brushing the edge of the saddle flaps. They don’t interfere with the saddle placement, but a tad longer would have been perfect.
Their comfortable thickness allows you to throw them in the washing machine to clean… (yer, yer… my fellow complains about the horse hair on everything too! But how else are you going to clean them - I ask you?!)
One of the best things are the price, they are only $59.95. At that price you can afford to get a second one when the other one is drying on the line or when your other half still hasn’t gotten over having white horse hair on their underwear!
And if you want one for yourself - you can get one here >
Or visit us in our Smythesdale store.
Until next time...