As riders, we know the importance of taking care of our saddles and horse tack. But what about our saddle pads? They play an important role in our ride as well, so it's essential to take good care of them.
In this blog post, we'll discuss why it is important to use a saddle pad in the first place and offer some advice on choosing the right one for your needs. Most importantly, we'll outline some tips on how to clean and store your saddle pads.
By following these tips, you can keep your saddle pads looking and performing their best for many rides to come. So if you're looking for some guidance on how to take care of your saddle pads, read on!
What is a saddle pad and why is it important?
A saddle pad is a piece of equipment that goes between the horse and the saddle. It prevents the horse's sweat from damaging the saddle and prevents the saddle from slipping. It provides cushioning and eliminates friction and abrasion. Saddle pads can evenly distribute the pressure of the rider. They absorb shocks and aid the saddle balance.
History of saddle pads
Saddle pads have been used since ancient times. The first recorded use of a saddle pad was by the nomadic tribes of Central Asia. They used felt pads to protect their saddles from the harsh conditions of the desert. In Europe, saddle pads were first used by the Greeks and Romans. They used them to protect their saddles from wear and tear. The Romans also used saddle pads to protect their horses from the cold weather.
In the Middle Ages, saddle pads were made of wool or linen. They were often decorated with embroidery and other embellishments. Saddle pads became increasingly popular in the 19th century. This was due to the rise in popularity of horseback riding as a sport and leisure activity. Manufacturers began mass-producing saddle pads in a variety of colors and designs.
What are different kinds of saddle pads?
Saddle pads come in a wide variety of colors, designs, and materials. They can be made from wool, cotton, synthetic fibers, or a combination of these materials. They can be quilted, padded, or simply flat. Organic sheepskin pads are gaining more popularity these days. White faux fleece pads are commonly used in dressage. Western saddle pads often have colorful designs and are made from a variety of materials, including wool, felt, and cotton. There are also specialty saddle pads for activities such as polo, show jumping, and eventing generally called English saddle pads.
How to choose a saddle pad?
The type of saddle pad you choose will depend on your horse's needs and the type of riding you do. For example, dressage riders often prefer a thinner, more contoured saddle pad that won't interfere with the horse's movement like white faux fleece pads. On the other hand, eventers and jumpers may prefer a thicker saddle pad that provides more cushioning and protection.
Why should you clean your saddle pad?
It's important to care for your saddle pad because it helps protect your saddle and your horse. A properly cared for saddle pad will last longer and perform better. Additionally, a clean saddle pad can prevent the spread of dirt and bacteria, increase your horse's comfort, and prevent the pad from slipping.
When and how often should you clean your saddle pad?
Cleaning your pad depends on how often you ride your horse and the conditions you ride it in. As a rule of thumb, brush out dirt, grime, and horsehair and let your pad dry after every ride. That way, you won't need to fully wash your pad after every ride. If you ride your horse in competitions or live in conditions that cause the animal to sweat a lot, you should fully wash your pad every time.
How to clean your saddle pad?
What tools do you need
You will need a utility sink, laundry tub, mop bucket, baking soda, rubber tool, sponges, and towels. Keep in mind that you should follow the saddle pad manufacturer's instructions so you might not need all of these tools, or you may need some extra ones.
Cleaning your saddle pad
Check your saddle pad manufacturer's cleaning instructions first.
Remove all the foam inserts and shims.
Remove all the dirt, hair, and sweat from your saddle pad. The best way to do this is to brush it with a stiff-bristled brush. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment.
Fasten the pad velcro to avoid them attaching to something else.
Once you've removed the surface dirt, fill a tub or your utility sink with warm water.Use water below 30 degrees as hotter water might shrink your pad. If you have a wool saddle pad, use cold water.
Based on the manufacturer's instructions, you can add soap, baking soda, mild detergent, or recommended cleaning products. Avoid detergents that contain dye and perfume.
Soak the pad for a few minutes. Gently rinse and work out the sweat and the dirt residue.
Alternatively, you can use a garden hose to spray the pad. Be careful not to apply a strong water stream from a short distance. This may damage your pad. Start further with lower water pressure. Adjust your distance and pressure as you need.
If you use a washing machine, select a gentle cycle not to damage your pad.
When done, let your wet pad dry on a flat surface in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Don't hang it over the railing and never use a dryer to dry your pad.
How to store your saddle pad?
If you're not planning to use your pad for a longer period, store it in a cool and dry environment to avoid the build-up of mold and mildew. Don't store anything on top of the pad to leave the fibers free. Fold it naturally the same way as it bends over the gorse, not backwards.
Saddle pad care TIPS
- Buy more than saddle one pad and rotate them. You'll allow them to be properly cleaned and dried.
- Don't use a dryer to dry your saddle pad.
- Don't leave your saddle pad out in the direct sunlight.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions, their recommended way of cleaning, washing cycles, and products.
- Front-loaded washing machines are better at washing your pads than the top-loading ones.
- Use a laundry wash bag or a pillowcase to tie shut your saddle pad inside.
- Don't store your saddle pad under your saddle.
- Avoid using any detergent if you have a sheepskin saddle pad.