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Buying a Saddle Pad For Your Tucker Saddle

What makes a good saddle pad for your new Tucker Saddle?  Following is my criteria for what I consider a EXCELLENT pad for any saddle.

  1. Contoured to the top line of the horse with easement over the wither.
  2. Material used offers wicking and cooling properties - wicking moisture from the horses back and allowing air flow through the pad to wisk away heat and moisture.  Must not encapsulate heat against the horse.
  3. Pad adds at least 1/2 inch of "float" under the saddle to allow muscle movement under the saddle tree, but no more than 3/4".
  4. Padding in the saddle pad does not hinder a close contact feel at the leg.  
  5. Ease of Cleaning.  Pads should be washed on average of every three to four rides, more often during hot weather, in order keep the bacteria count down and to remove abrading salts from the pad. 
  6. Must follow the contour of the saddle to protect the underside of the saddle from your horses body sweat and dirt at all points.

 Here is my list of "Don'ts"

  1. Don't buy a pad, then put another pad under it!  All that does is raise the saddle above the top line of the horse making it unstable and increase the density between horse and saddle reducing air flow.
  2. Don't buy pads thinking it will FIX a bad saddle fit.
  3. Minor shimming may be needed for an EXCELLENT fit in order to adjust for horse conformation flaws that no saddle will accomodate.  So recognize the flaws and be sure to choose a pad that will allow you to ad shims as needed.
  4. Don't buy a pad that puts a plastic or rubber material of any kind against the body of the horse.  Not one of this type of pad has passed the heat encapsulation test, and many that are advertised as "non-slip" have caused heat abrasions and hair shearing. In addition, many of perforated type allow sweat to go through the pad to the bottom of the saddle.  Repeated soaking with sweat of the bottom felt lining of your Tucker Saddle will ruin it.

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