A horse pad is an object which is put under the saddle to provide some soft cushioning for the horse and to some extent to keep the leather lining of the saddle from coming into direct contact with the horse’s hack. Thus, it protects the horseback from friction and weight. It is also known as numnah, saddle pad, saddle blanket, or pad. The numnah must never be used as an attempt to make an ill-fitting saddle fit nicely on a horse. The horse pad acts as a defense between the horseback, spine, withers, barrel, and saddle.
Types of Horse Pad
Horse pads are made from various materials, the best being real sheepskin. These when fitted with the woolen side towards the horse, provide good cushioning and allow a certain amount of airflow between the saddle and the horse. Artificial sheepskins are available which have the added advantage of being easily washable.
Perhaps the most popular saddle pad or numnah is made from nylon padded with foam rubber. This is quite thick and the amount of cushioning is minimal but thick sponge rubber can upset the stability of the saddle. The nylon numnah is however inexpensive and easy to wash. Whichever type is used it should be fastened securely to the saddle so that there is no possibility of its slipping out when the horse is being ridden.
Buying a Horse Pad
For buying a horse pad, you need to know the type of saddle you have. The following points can help you in buying the horse pad you need- Before buying a saddle pad decide whether you are riding a Western or an English horse. An English horse saddle pad and a Western horse saddle pad differ a lot from each other. An English saddle pad is made up of cotton or fleece; the cotton ones may be quilted. A Western saddle pad may be made up of felt or fleece.
- A new horse saddle pad may take some time to fit perfectly.
- Make sure that the horse pad should add cushioning but does not change a saddle’s balance or pressure.
- Keep in mind the kind of horse pad fitting you require and the type of environment you will be riding in.
- Be careful if your horse has an old injury that needs special protection or if it has a conformation problem.
Care for Horse Pad
Remember that you need to maintain the horse pad for longer use. Regularly clean the pad to remove accumulated dirt or sweat that will affect the horse’s skin negatively.
Before placing the pad on horseback, make sure that there is nothing like manufacturer’s labels or hay on it.
Whenever you remove the saddle, look for white hair and run your hand over your horse’s back to find out if there are patchy hot, or dry spots. While washing the pad, check for wear spots or bunching. If irregularities are found on either the pad or horseback, you have to shop again and the market is full of various styles of horse pads to suit your requirements.
A horse pad helps in cushioning the weight of the rider and also provides the horse with a smooth base beneath the saddle. It makes both, the horse and the rider comfortable. If the saddle pad is not doing its job properly, the saddle pressing down will bounce your horseback and soar the rider in the air.
Even the paramount saddles in the world need the assistance of a good saddle pad to work flawlessly. Sometimes, you can find horse pads to be very expensive but buy the best pad to get a million-dollar ride and keep your horse back healthy. Horse pads show a discrepancy in shape and material based on personal inclination and approach to riding.
See more: Horse Mating