Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Supplemental padding--do I need it?

First, evaluate the conformation and muscle development of your horse's back from all angles, looking for differences in his size and shape from side to side.

When you evaluate you horse from the rear (depending on how tall both of you are, you may need to stand on a stool or a bucket – (just be careful and don’t scare the bejeebers out of the horse and get yourself kicked into the next county) and look for any differences in the shape of his body. Some horses are more developed on one side than the other or have muscle atrophy from a previous saddle. If that's the case, then you may just need shims to fill in the gaps until the muscle grows back.

Now, ask yourself the questions below.
  • Does he slope from the croup downwards towards the withers? Then you need to use a front wedge or riser pad to make the saddle sit level and keep the rider from tipping forward or struggling to sit up correctly in balance.

  • Does he slope upwards from croup to withers? Does the rider struggle to not fall backwards in the saddle? The solution for this problem is a rear wedge or riser pad which will level the saddle and enable the rider to sit in balance.
  • Is the horse a swayback? Then padding needs to be in the middle to fill in some of the sway and enable the rider to sit level. If he is table-top level...a regular saddle pad or even a thick bath towel will suffice.

Every horse is not the same shape or size all the time, so take a good look at your horse regularly to determine his/her needs.

We have found that the newer models of Ansür Saddles with the gullet ususally do not need additional padding. These pads are used mostly for Classics and older models of the Carlton and Konklusion.


  1. I just wanted to add, more specifically, that I've had no need to use a supplemental pad with my Excel.

  2. It's often a good idea to ride in the saddle as well before making all the padding adjustments. My Ansurs will change shape to suit the horse as they kind of "warm up" when I ride. That is another good time to check the fit to see if supplemental pads are needed.