We travel from horse show to horse show and see poor-fitting saddle pads all the time. Not enough by itself, some misguided riders often combine a too-short saddle pad with a thick halfpad, creating even more pressure points.
Here is our latest video, showing how to choose a saddle pad that fits your saddle and horse. Some of the recommendations are basic common-sense and should be obvious, but in practice many riders show with pads that don't fit. It's essential to have a perfectly-fitted pad to avoid pressure points.
So, to recap:
1. Buy a saddle pad that fits your saddle.Ideally, bring your saddle along when you go buy a saddle pad. When you put the saddle on top, you should have about 1.5-2 inches all around your saddle.
2. Remember: cotton shrinks!If you use a cotton pad, make sure to buy it a little too big (2 inches rather than 1.5”) to account for shrinkage. High-tech saddle pads like ECOGOLD's do not contain cotton or poly-cotton so they don't shrink.
3. Careful: forward flaps!Check for a forward-shaped saddle pad if you have that type of saddle.
4. High-withered shape? Get a high-withered pad! Sometimes, riders with high-withered horses get a square pad and pull it up at the front to try to make it fit. A better option is to get a saddle pad with a high-withered shape.