Risers and saddle pads - can they be used for saddle fitting?

Saddle fitting is certainly an art and, if at all possible, having an experienced, qualified saddle fitter to check the fit of your horse’s saddle is certainly a good idea. However, with more modern saddles there are ways that saddles can be bought online.

This feature is about riser pads and saddle pads, and how these can be used to help the fit of a saddle.

Firstly, let’s address the difference between saddle pads and riser pads. On the whole, saddle pads sit underneath the horse’s saddle and can take the place of a numnah or saddlecloth for those who want to reduce ‘bulk’ under the saddle flaps. A pad under the saddle can help to absorb shock, even out any pressure and, in some cases, improve the amount of air that flows through the pad to the horse’s back, to help keep him cool. They do adjust the fit of the saddle so, if you’re thinking of using a pad or a pad and saddlecloth combination, ensure that the saddle fits when these are in place as, by using them, you’re creating a wider shape for the saddle to fit around.

Riser pads are a little different as, whilst these can help absorb shock and even out pressure, their main aim is to change the way that the saddle sits on the horse.

We sell a number of Prolite Riser Pads. Some have thicker areas to the front of the pad, to lift the front of the saddle, and some have thicker areas towards the back.

Adjustable pads enable the horse’s owner to adjust the pads to fit their horse, and can change these as appropriate. This can be really useful for horses with muscle wastage, or those who are improving their condition and topline as the riser pad can be adjusted along with your horse’s body condition. This can also help horses that are changing shape due to age or weight.

If you’re looking to raise the front or the back of the saddle, Wintec’s Raised Front Protector and Raised Back Protector are both made from shock absorbent foam and help to quickly adjust the fit of a saddle. These don’t allow adjustments to be made like some other riser pads, but for people who require a permanent, economical solution, these pads are certainly worth considering.