Friday, February 25, 2011

Saddle Pad and Tack Ramblings

I've been pondering saddles and saddle pads for the past few days and I'm not sure what our best option is going to be.

After my saddle fitting I hopped on eBay, very excited to list all three of my saddles. So far it looks promising for my Collegiate Lynn Palm (I hope), hit or miss for my Circle Y, and perhaps a crash and burn is what the future holds for my Circle P synthetic saddle. So far it has had 2 views, and they're both from me. LOL

I actually LOVE the saddle. It is really comfortable and I can ride in that thing all day without any pain in my tookis and minimal pain in my ankles/knees from the stirrups. It's synthetic, so Lilly can stomp and paw in the muddy stream to her heart's content and I could care less! I'm still not thrilled with the length of the skirt, but it isn't rubbing on her hips so it's more of an issue for me than for her.

The saddle fitter, while a self-proclaimed novice western saddle fitter, said she thinks the saddle actually fits Lilly well. She likes how it sits on her withers and shoulders, doesn't think it's too large for her, and doesn't see any reason why I couldn't continue to use that saddle if I so desire. It's got full QH bars, so it's the only saddle I have with a "wide" tree (minus the new Pessoa), but it's actually the saddle that causes me the most grief.

None of this saddle stuff makes any sense. It depends completely on the saddle so it's hard to make any kind of statements or judgments on anything!

The only thing she said that might be a problem is how close it sits to Lilly's spine in spots. She thinks that maybe on the trails it's moving around a bit causing Lilly to get super cautious because she's used to having issues with saddle fit until she just decides she's not happy anymore. I don't know if that's the case, though, because her "get this saddle off my back" dance is the same for all the saddles, so I suspect it's still an issue with her withers/shoulders and not her back.

In either case, the fitter suggested I try a new pad before splurging on a new saddle. She recommended the following:
* a contoured pad so there's less pressure on her withers/shoulders (something I should look for in all my pads for Lilly)
* extra padding across the back to lift the saddle up off her back
* nothing extra around her withers/shoulders to limit the space
* made of something super soft to help cushion
* not gel (since it's so friggin hot here)

I gotta tell ya, that's a tall order!

And there are some UGLY pads out there... good lord!

They actually used the word "fashionable" in the description!
Don't worry, they have more colors! Sorry, at $139 I'm going to have to pass.

Which brings me to my next point... the cost of a pad like the one I need to make my Circle P fit will run me $150 - $200, assuming I can find the pad I described, which I haven't found yet. I have the saddle listed on eBay for $175. I'm just not sure that makes good sense, especially since I'm not even sure the saddle pad will fix my issue.

I don't need more tack I can't use and can't seem to get rid of.

You should see my garage... it looks like I'm running a tack shop in there! I have 5 saddles stacked on one saddle stand, saddle pads laying on top of that, leathers and irons on the floor, shims, a helmet, western reins, an english bridle, and a Wintec girth, all in limbo. The Equestrian Exchange isn't until September and I'm not sure I can keep these things around that long...

What do you guys do with tack you can't sell? Hold on to it? Pitch it in the garbage? Take it to a rescue?

It would be nice to have TWO saddles, each with their own accessories, each being show quality, that fit me AND my horse. I'm tired of having a little bit of everything. I only ride one horse for crying out loud. You'd think I'd have her needs figured out by now. :)


  1. I'm sorry this is such a struggle for you. I paid over $100 for the gray pad you saw on Apple Monday. Its worth every penny. I'll bring it when I come out with that saddle and we'll see how it does with your saddle.

  2. Your preaching to the choir. Gosh, it all seemed so easier years ago. Sometimes ignorance is bliss-LOL.

    Best of luck coming up with something that meets your needs, although I will say...there is a ton of stuff on the market. Wading through it can be wearing.

    I almost never get rid of any tack. I always seem to use it somewhere along the line. But then, I've got a herd of horses. Having only one would be a lot different.

  3. I wish I knew what to do with some of my old tack. Trying to eBay it always sounds so complicated, particularly for little things. When I was a kid there was a tack shop near me that would take in almost any used horse stuff in trade on new things. I really miss that.

    I just recently went through the saddle pad shopping thing and all I can say is wow, there are way too many choices out there, and some of the prices are insane! And even on $350+ saddle pads, the reviews are not all great, so it would seem price tells you nothing. I definitely agree about getting a contoured pad, though. Best feature ever!

  4. When the picture came up I thought: OMG She is NOT getting that, is she?!?! LOL!

    I felt the same way about the expensive pads and it was hard to find one that was contoured. I ended up getting one from Rod's that feels very similar to the Impact Gel but was 1/4" felt on top and bottom of 1/2" Neoprene. It was $40 and has vinyl wear "leathers" which I don't love. I think it's been totally fine for us, but who really knows. I like that it's basic enough that I can put it under my show blanket and I think it's better for the horse to have the saddle/pad feel the same at home as it does at a show. It's 31" at the spine, though and it is a little long and need to investigate if I can cut it down without destroying it.

    I still want to get one of the prettier blanket/pad combos from Prof. Choice or Classic Equine but it's harder to find them in the contour shape and I haven't found a contoured one that I didn't think was fugly.

    Good luck!

  5. Mel, who is also a reformed tack hoarder, just wrote two good posts about selling tack: part 1 and part 2. Maybe there's something in there that'd be useful for you? You probably don't have anything as awesome as, but you do have a good show network.

  6. Thanks, Alex! Not only is the saddle part of this a lot of fun, but now I get to deal with pads too! :)

    Cowgirls, that's right! Back in the day I just bought a saddle pad. "This one's pretty..."

    I've been holding on to a lot of this tack and I never use it. Now that I'll just have one horse with me I don't really see the need to keep storing it, especially if I can get everything figured out. I won't be using the extra because it's too big or doesn't fit somehow. I should only need the things I use for Lilly every day.

    Story, some of the stuff doesn't seem worth my time or the insertion fee to be put on eBay, but Craigslist reaches so few people. I've been keeping an eye out for used tack sales. I really have too much stuff. :)

    Speaking of too many choices, Country Supply has 235 items listed under "western saddle pads". Wow!

    LOL, SillyPony! Don't worry, I got you one too! :)

    I've often wondered if I can cut mine down too... there are very few pads that are shorter than 32" and a lot of the show pads are 34". That's just way too big for Lilly.

    Thanks for those links, Funder! She definitely posted some good tips about selling our stuff. It'll come in handy in one way or another! :)

  7. Damn that is an ugly pad...