Saddlecloth fitting checklist

Riding saddlecloth.jpg

A horse who feels comfortable will be happier and more willing to work, so ensure your saddlecloth fits as well as possible with our simple guide.

Points to consider

Size and shape – saddlecloths come in different style options that are designed to suit the cut of the saddle. For example, a dressage saddlepad will be straight cut to match the flap shape of a dressage saddle.

This also applies to a jumping or GP saddlepad – they are cut to follow the shape of a saddle for the best possible fit.

Using the wrong shape and size may result in the saddle sitting on the binding of the saddlecloth, causing pressure points and rubbing.

The right cut – Another consideration is the overall cut of the saddlecloth. Putting the comfort of your horse first, look for a saddlecloth that’s shaped to follow the contours of his back.

This encourages the pad to sit up into the gullet of the saddle. Saddlecloths that aren’t well shaped may have a tendency to press down on your horse’s withers and back, causing discomfort.

Modern fabrics – A growing number of different fabrics are being used for saddlecloths nowadays. Cotton is still a popular choice, but modern, breathable materials will help your horse to stay at a comfortable temperature when he’s working, as well as also having shock-absorbing properties. These high-tech saddlecloths can cost a little more compared to traditional cotton ones, but for many owners they are worth the investment for the benefits they can offer to your horse.

The checklist

  1. Choose the right size and shape (dressage, jump, GP) of saddlecloth to suit your saddle. Using the wrong shape and size may result in the saddle sitting on the binding, causing pressure points and rubbing.

  2. For comfort the saddlecloth should follow the contours of your horse’s back and sit up into the gullet of the saddle. If it’s cut in a straight line, it will press down on his withers and back and potentially cause discomfort.

  3. Once fitted, there should be approximately one inch visible around the whole of the saddle.

  4. Fasten the straps to the saddle to hold the saddlecloth in place.

  5. If you’re not sure which pad is the right one to use, ask your saddle fitter for advice.

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now. Find out what’s in the latest issue here