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Re: RC: Sportsaddle advice

Tara Wheeler wrote:
> Can open, worms everywhere.  :)
> I just bought a gently used Sportsaddle.

Good for you.

> Could those of you who use them, please tell me the best pad 
> and girth to use with it?

Ideally for pads, if you're going to be doing any distance 
in your saddle, you need to use one with the firm open cell 
foam inserts. The most commonly used pads seem to be either:

Skito (can be coloured cotton duck on the top so are
nice looking, with sheepskin underneath, velcro pockets 
that open to the front to put the equalizer foam inserts 
in through. This pad is favored because it is contoured 
to fit the horse's back, particularly around the withers -
I think they even make a "cut back" version, with a slit
at the withers)


Toklat (sheepskin on both sides, so reversible during
a long ride, same velcro pockets opening to the front,
possibly better if you are a heavier rider - this seems
to be the case for my 195 lb husband - I'm speculating
because of the double layer of sheepskin? You might get
the same effect with thicker foam inserts, though. Although
Toklat make a SportsSaddle sized pad, you can also get 
away with using the cheaper, oversized barrel racer pad).

I have one of each and like them equally.

Another pad to consider in addition to the above, is a 
Dixie Mignight pad to put between pad and horse - this 
will stop your Skito/Toklat getting sweaty and filthy, 
and avoid you having to wrestle with taking out the foam 
inserts to wash the pad after every ride (which can get
dull, esp, if you have a broken shoulder, right Mar?). I 
promised myself I will get one of these in the near future.

It's really up to you with regard to girth. I never had any
luck at all with the felt one that comes with the saddle,
although others didn't have a problem.

I like mohair ones (I really liked the cheapie $5 "pony
cinch" I picked up at Stateline - OK, it wasn't good quality,
but for $5, it was pretty useful). I have also used neoprene
waffle ones.

Whatever works for your horse.

The main thing to remember, if you're using a foam insert pad,
is that until it warms up and smooshes down on the horse, your
cinch may *feel* tight - but check it about 15 mins after you 
put the saddle on the horse, or mount, and you may find it
has loosened considerably from smooshing down.

For this reason, it's good to use a mounting block when you 
first get on, as the saddle may slip a bit. Actually, it's
good to use a mounting block (tree stump, rock, gate, truck,
etc) anyway, just to avoid pulling your horse's back around
> Do you use a breastcollar with your Sportsaddle?

Yes. See aforementioned slipping. Also good for hills.
Also good to avoid having a wreck and knocking Debby Lyons
off the hill and into hospital. Breastcollars in hilly
terrain are a good thing.
> And those of you with the suede ones, do you worry about them 
> getting wet in the rain?

I don't worry about it, but I do get wet <grin>.

I rode every day for five days during the Christmas break
in the rain. Luckily, I was able to alternate saddles,
because after the first day, the sheepskin cover on my
saddle was completely sodden (I was riding in waterproof
trousis over my tights). The next day, I stole my husband's
saddle (suede, but no cover) and it got a bit soggy. The
soggy suede dried out a lot quicker than the soggy sheepskin,
that's for sure.

Apart from a white tide mark, it didn't do any harm. I think
brushing it out with a stiff metal suede brush would get 
rid of the mark (if I cared).

If you're worried, or it rains a whole lot, it might be worth 
spraying your saddle with a waterproof suede spray - I've not 
tried this on a saddle, but it has worked well on suede shoes/

Someone tried our saddles out at the weekend and I did notice,
as I was adjusting the stirrups for them, that the stirrup..
er.. straps had gone moldy where they fold over and into the
sleeves, so maybe watch for that if your saddle gets wet.

If you're really worried, you could maybe make yourself a 
waterproof tu-tu to wear around your waist and over the saddle? 

Hope this helps.

Lucy Chaplin Trumbull -
Repotted english person in Garden Valley (Sierra Foothills), CA 

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