Asked in Care of HorsesHorse Tack
What do you put on a horse before the saddle?
October 03, 2011 2:23AM
Always before the saddle comes the saddle pad, which is different than the saddle blanket. Whether you ride western or english* style a clean, dry pad comes between the saddle and the horse's back. A good fitting saddle and pad greatly reduce wear or rub spots that can occur during normal riding. There are many different kinds of pads and I recommend getting the best one you can afford. It will last longer and may protect better than a cheaper pad. Remember after your ride if the pad is damp with sweat to turn it over to dry and air out before your next ride.
Sometimes people confuse the purpose of a pad v. blanket. The pad is thick and offers buffer for the horse, where saddle blankets are fine but only over the pad. The blanket is more for looks than protection. Blankets are usually only seen with western saddles. Blankets are a staple for the western rider who shows their horse.
If you don't show a simple inexpensive blanket that can be machine washed is a good idea.
*The exception to this rule is saddle seat riders. It is common that saddle seat riders do not use any kind of pad under the saddle. I think this has to do with a closer contact with the rider's seat and legs to the horse's back and sides.