Sponsored by Best Ever Pads

If there is one thing about the equine industry, it is the fact that the second we think we’ve seen it all, horses tend to show us otherwise. Especially when it comes to saddle and saddle pad fit, the varieties of conformational differences on horses can often leave us scratching our heads. Some horses have backs that are totally round with no withers, some with an average back and some withers, and some are narrow or have broad shoulders with high withers. While poor saddle fit can be a whole other story, selecting a good saddle pad can help your saddle fit the horse as it should. Best Ever Pads tries to solve some of those problems with a multitude of custom pad options. In addition to Best Ever’s signature collections, you can build the perfect custom-fitting pad for those hard-to-fit horses.

Kush Collection: The Kush collection is one of the main wool options that can be used to build any of the available pad series. It is a washed and pressed 100% wool with a density of 136 oz per sq. yd.. It is a soft and flexible wool that is resistant to compression and can be ridden straight against a horse’s back. It comes in the thicknesses of ¾”, 1”, and 1.25”. A ¾” Kush pad is great for a horse with a rounder back, a 1” for a horse with an average back, and a 1.25” for horses with decent withers that may not need a build-up pad.

Round-Backed Horses

For a round-backed or “mutton-backed” horse, it is commonly best to ride a thinner pad. Issues with round-backed horses include saddle rolling, the pad slipping out the back, or dry spots from too much pad and pressure. In cases of dry spots, they are the most concerning when the dry spots are smaller and more localized. This means that there is a certain spot where the pressure is so harsh that it is keeping blood flow from reaching the area, eventually leading to soreness and white spots. Good options for these scenarios are a ½-inch Kush pad with fleece or a ¾-inch pad in OG or Kush wool. These pad options can also be customized with a deep contour spine that will help with wither clearance, keeping the pad from slipping backward, and prevent rubbing of the hair on the lower back of horses that are built downhill.

OG Collection: The OG collection is a soft and durable 100% needle-punched wool that offers great compression protection and requires no break-in time. This firm and breathable wool is 112 ounces per square yard. Similar to the Kush collection, it is available in a ¾” and 1” thickness. This is a simple and quality pad that works great on round-backed and average-backed horses.

Average Horses

An average-backed horse can be described as one that has some withers but does not typically have issues with saddles fitting too low or saddles rolling. Recommendations vary based on the discipline for which the horse is used. As far as performance horses go, barrel horses with average withers typically do well in a 3/4-inch pad with fleece or a 1-inch pad—either pad can be made with OG or Kush wool. There are also scenarios where an average-backed barrel horse may need a ½-inch BHS pad with fleece, or the 1D-Lite pad. These circumstances may include a horse that needs additional support under the saddle, narrow horses that do not have a ton of withers, or horses with EPM that are more sensitive and need more protection.

For an average backed rope horse, a 1-inch with fleece in Kush or OG wool or a 1 1/4-inch Kush pad usually does the trick. It is important to protect the backs of rope horses, because they take more pressure and hits to their backs than most disciplines. These pads can also be a good fit for ranch horses and using horses, and fit can be specific to the horse’s build and saddle fit.

Cadillac Series: The Cadillac series includes a 3/8” closed-cell foam insert through the bars of the pad with an additional ¼” insert placed over the shoulders. This series is designed for extremely high withered and senior horses with narrow and bony backs. This pad aids in comfort and keeps it from collapsing in areas behind your horses’ shoulders by offering extra support. This collection is available in ½”, ¾”, and 1” pads.

High-Withered or Swayback Horses

High-withered and swayback horses are builds that require pad customization more frequently. There is a wide range of high-withered or swayback builds in horses, including narrow horses with high withers, high-withered horses with broad shoulders, swayback horses with high withers, and more. Best Ever offers several build-up pad collections for these horses—BHS, Cadillac, Chronic and Prodigy. Each of the collections come in the Kush or OG wool and a range of thicknesses. The Kush wool comes in a ½-inch, ¾-inch and 1-inch for build-up pads; the OG wool comes in a ¾-inch or 1-inch for build-up pads.

BHS Series: The BHS collection features a 3/8” closed-cell foam insert. The BHS collection is ideal for horses with slightly above average withers to high withers, such as thoroughbreds or other more narrow-built performance horses. The additional support provided by the BHS pad helps with evenly distributing saddle pressure and spine relief. This collection is available in ½”, ¾”, and 1” pads.

There are many options when it comes to using build-up pads. Inserts can be movable, they can be fleece or closed-cell foam inserts, and you can design custom cut-outs in areas where a horse may need less pressure while still needing build-up in other areas of the back. Fleece inserts, like the ones used in the Best Ever Chronic collection, are great for a horse that is having “chronic” back pain or is more sensitive. These fleece inserts do a great job of adjusting to where the horse needs support and away from where there needs to be less build-up.

While there are many options out there for pad fit, the common goal is to keep equine athletes as comfortable and sound as possible so that they can enjoy their jobs along with us. Sometimes pad or saddle fit take some experimenting and thinking outside of the box, and that is one of the main objectives of Best Ever Pads. As a company built on a foundation of more than 40 years of true horsemanship, the team at Best Ever wants nothing more than to work with you to make sure you have the perfect custom pad for your horse. Click here to find options or speak with a representative about the best pad for your horse.

saddle pads for horses with swaybacks
Fleesar Series: Fleece is an awesome addition to any pad with its’ added comfort, shock-absorption, and moisture-wicking abilities. It is really helpful for horses that have thin and sensitive skin or in scenarios where a current pad is rubbing the horse’s hair. Fleece can be added to OG and Kush pads in the thicknesses of ½”, ¾”, and 1”. It can also be added to the BHS or Cadillac series pads in the thicknesses of ½” or ¾”. Thinner fleece bottomed pads are great for round-backed horses that may have sensitive skin or need additional comfort. A 1” fleesar with a deep contour spine can work for some minorly sway-backed horses.

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