I think I mentioned on a blog a couple months ago that a saddle pad company called Skito had decided to sponsor us. We had been getting desperate to keep our horses comfortable. We’ve tried all kinds of saddle pads, combinations, double and even triple padding, using shims and towels, cutouts, non-slip rug material- you name it. The horses were holding their own and doing ok, but they sure could be better. When Skito decided to lend their support, we had great hope.
Over the last two months, we’ve talked back on forth with Tom- the owner. He’s helped us adjust to the new pads, learn how to use them properly, helped us with trouble shooting, and sent us additional packages to customize the pads just right. I was waiting to report on how they did until I saw if there were any changes.
What we learned the hard way is when you use your horse hard, day in and day out, it is absolutely vital to have the best saddle pad money can buy. We used to think that meant your decent $150 – $200 saddle pad that you can get in most tack stores or catalogues. Those work fine for your average rider. But not for this. We had no idea that there were saddle pads that are much better than those. Granted, they are more in the $300 to $400 range, but worth every single penny. It’s amazing how much more you get for that increase in price. I so much wish that we had heard of the small companies that make ultra high quality specialty pads because it would have saved us a lot of grief on this trip- especially in the beginning. Skito is one of those companies and they have been a lifesaver.
Here’ the deal. It doesn’t matter how well your saddle fits your horse. If you use your horse hard, over time his back will hollow out. Not so much from losing weight- but more from compressed or dissolved fat in the area of the saddle where weight is always pressing down. There is no way around it- like it or not- a heavily used horse’s back will change. That means your saddle will no longer fit properly. Then you will have all kinds of problems pop up on your horse’s back… speaking from personal experience! In addition to this situation, there are many, many horses out there whose saddles do not fit them well. A horse’s back changes over its life just as a person’s body changes over theirs. As they get older, fatter, thinner, more muscled, or less muscled- even a saddle custom made for that horse will not fit properly forever. And besides, the vast majority of horse owners do not have quality saddles nor do they even know if their saddle fits right. Trust me, I’ve been there too.
Skito to the rescue! Just about any horse would benefit from one of these pads. They specialize in making horses comfortable under saddles that don’t fit quite right. They feature removable and adjustable, customizable, 100% retention, memory foam. The thickness of the foam and the shims can be adjusted according to the discrepancies in the fit of the saddle and the sunk in areas of the horse’s back. That way, the saddle settles into the foam, is balanced on the back correctly, and eliminates the pressure points that traditional saddle pads do not prevent- no matter how thick they are.
I am going into detail on all this because our most consistent challenge of this whole trip has been trying to keep the horses comfortable. I am so happy to report that the sore spots that were on Satchmo are completely gone and the much worse spots that were on Apache are almost all healed up. Not only are they comfortable now, the side effect to that is that they are acting much more spunky and energetic and are walking out faster than they have since Nevada! We actually hit a 4 mile per hour average the other day when we normally can barely keep up a 3 mile an hour average! It’s wonderful seeing the horses acting so happy and comfortable and we have Skito pads to thank for that. It’s been a serious challenge and headache for a year now, and we are utterly grateful for these pads that are making so much difference!