Thursday, June 04, 2009

Which Bareback Pad

I rode Serts bareback last week during an hour long interval training session. While bareback is a lot of fun, Serts sweats a lot during the summer. And I was swimming in sweat quite soon. Also, with his distance training, he has dropped some weight and is a little less comfortable to ride than when he was fat and sassy.

So I went on a quest to find a bareback pad. There are a couple things I look for in a bareback pad. Must be able to use a regular girth (english or western). NO stirrups. I think they're dangerous on a bareback pad and refuse to have them. No strap that goes over the top of the pad to rub my legs.

I did some research on my own, then asked the good folks on Ridecamp for some suggestions.

Here is what I looked at.

Cashel Bareback Pad: Around $100. This is just a big piece of foam you sit on. Heat build up concerns me greatly. (This is not the soft saddle. I had one of those and while it was super comfy for walking, the flaps bunched if we trotted any.)

Best Friend Comfort Plus Bareback pad: Around $75. Looks comfy, but I wonder about the spot where the girth comes into the pad. Also found some indication that this pad bunches up and doesn't lay nicely on the horse.

Stacy Westfall Gel Ultrasuede Bareback Pad. Around $140. Pricey, but looks very interesting and comfortable, but no mention of rings to attach a breast collar.

Little Joe Bareback Saddle ($230): Looks interesting, but I didn't like the look straps over the top of the pad. The same complaint I have about the $30 pad I have in my tack room. Maybe it wouldn't bother most people, but I want to ride in shorts and I'm delicate. ;-D

Natural Ride ($150): I like that this has a bit of stabilization, but it didn't really appeal to me.

Skito bareback pad ($250): Really like this one. Uses the same foam pads their other pads use, hopefully creating a spine channel. Uses an English/dressage girth and has crupper/breast collar rings. Can get a high profile version. Pads can be removed for a closer feel. Easily washed in the washing machine as the pads can be removed for cleaning.

There were some others I looked at briefly, but kept coming back to the Skito.

I'm in the process of getting one from Naomi Preston of www.TTeamforendurance.com. I did a special order to get the right color, fabric and high profile version, so it might take a couple or three weeks to get to me.

The price was a bit higher than I initially wanted to pay, but this pad should last for years.

I hope to be able to use this for some short training rides over the summer and to use with my nieces when they come to ride. Allowing the benefits of bareback without the slippery sweat issues!