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What to Look For in a Saddlepad

We are all aware of how many saddlepads are on the market. Hundreds of colours, styles and fabrics can make it quite an overwhelming experience! As horse owners, it can be hard to see past the claims and figure out which saddlepad is of true benefit to your horse’s back. Trusted for over 30 years by professionals, PolyPads remains to use the same fabric and construction to produce a winning formula.

What to look for:

Potential for Rubbing – Rubbing is a common complaint among horse owners. Our horse’s skin is sensitive and can be easily irritated. Make sure to avoid rough finishes and ensure what you use, fits. Rugs, tack, boots and saddlepads can all contribute to rubs, so it’s important to be considerate of this when making your purchase.

When fitting your saddlepad, you should always ensure that it is pulled up into the gullet of the saddle at the front and back, preventing it from dropping onto the spine. Some saddlepads feature a section of tape along the spine. If the saddlepad is not finished correctly, this spine tape can cause irritation to your horse. If the spine tape isn’t trapped within the outer binding, bound tightly, or if the binding has a rough edge, the edges can ruffle and cause rub points on the horse’s back. That’s why all PolyPads feature soft touch binding, that traps the spine tape to reduce the chance of rubbing.

Easy to wash – Sitting directly against your horse’s skin, saddlepads quickly pick up grease and dirt as your horse sweats. This dirt can also cause rubs to your horse, so it’s important that you can easily wash and dry your saddlepad. PolyPads are famously easy to care for – simply pop in the washing machine on a 30°C cycle and lie flat to dry naturally. Make sure that any saddlepad you choose is easy to wash. The Classic, our original PolyPad, is fully reversible. This design means the PolyPad can be flipped over, providing more uses before washing is required.

Durability – We’re all too familiar with the current cost of living crisis, plus the cost of keeping horses! It can be tempting to choose a cheaper saddlepad to make things a little easier on the bank balance, however, it’s always worth considering how long your purchase will last. It’s always better to invest in a quality product that will stand up to the demands we expect of our equipment. With many equestrians still using a PolyPad that was purchased in 1988, it’s clear that a PolyPad will more than stand up to the task in hand!

Fit – Perhaps the most obvious one, the correct fit is paramount to keeping your horse comfortable. A saddlepad that is too long on a horse with an active hind end can cause excess movement in the saddlepad, which can again lead to rubs. A saddlepad should offer adequate coverage under the saddle. The saddle should not rest on the binding edge, so ensure that the saddlepad is big enough for the saddle. Whilst we offer a variety of sizes in our PolyPads, we can also make a saddlepad to your dimensions. By making everything by hand in the UK, we can accommodate changes in size – just contact us!

For horses with a pronounced wither, it’s important to pick a saddlepad with enough clearance. Ensure that the saddlepad is shaped over the wither and is flexible enough to allow movement.

We hope that this has helped you to make an informed choice about which saddlepad is best for your horse. As horse owners ourselves, we care about your horse’s back and we’re always looking for ways to improve their comfort.

Who uses PolyPads?

We love that so many people use PolyPads on their horses – and we also love that the people using them are so diverse! PolyPads are famously used by top event rider Piggy March, who regularly uses the Classic or Performer for the XC and Show Jumping phases on a number of her horses. At this year’s Badminton Horse Trials, Piggy finished 4th with Vanir Kamira! Being deemed worthy enough to use on some of the best horses in the world it’s no surprise that the younger generation are also fans. Instagram users will no doubt be familiar with Kizzy and Ettie, two gutsy young riders who are living the childhood dreams of many of use! Their quest to find a comfortable, smart, small enough saddlepad lead to the creation of the Shetland Forma. The PolyPads are trusted to help distribute pressure from the pony pad, keeping their ponies comfortable.

PolyPads are also regularly used by show riders such as Danielle Heath, during warm ups and at home. We saw many of you warming up at the Royal International Horse Show this year in your PolyPads. It was wonderful to meet so many of you!

View the PolyPads range by clicking here.

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