If you’re riding a horse, you’ve already won.
Rodney has always had a torn-up back [Daddy Dearest]. It looked more scarred than deformed and the saddle seemed to fit. Still, we decided see what would happen if we put a thin piece of felt to fill in any possible gap.
Thin, ha! We ended up wedging an inch of felt in there.
My tack designer found a western wither pad that came as two 11″x 8 1/2″ x 1″ rounded felt pads joined by nylon straps, State Line: Western Felt Wider Wither Pad. We – the barn “we” – cut the straps off and shaped one of the felt pieces to match the area behind Rodney’s withers, mostly by thinning it toward the back and bottom edges.
He loves it. We have shaken off the first 10 or so minutes of anxiety at the beginning of each ride. Turns out the saddle was wobbling more than I realized. More on this tomorrow.
The photo shows the taper on the pad. This is where “we” did the most carving. The upper left corner in the photo is the lower back inside corner on the horse. Curry comb for size. Cat for supervision. It is impossible to keep hay off of this. Rodney has a regular cotton pad under, so he isn’t being poked by hay stalks.
The filler pad has been feature since September. Long enough that it’s here to stay. For now. We are still messing with the rest of the padding.
Last weekend, we tried a full-size, square felt pad. Nice but thick. We tried a folded western saddle blanket. Thinner, so I feel more of the horse. Seems to have the same effect as the thicker, stiffer felt. We have not determined if he likes the additional saddle pad for the cushioning (felt), to keep his back warm (wool), or both (?). We know he likes to be warm. [Piling on the Therapy].
It’s a work in progress.
“BTW, filler pad stayed. The second saddle pad did not. He preferred more stability over excess padding.” [Being Happy Alpha, Peeling The Emotional Onion]
Thank you for reading,