Many equestrians see no harm in storing a saddle on steel bar saddle rack like this one. But we and equine saddle professionals know the real damage and harm that is done to the panels of a saddle when stored this way.
Observational studies, professional experiences and product tests all attest to the damage. We took a gel filled 3/4 inch thick Port Lewis Impression pad and placed it under a saddle on a saddle rack. The severe impressions left in the gel indicate the forces your saddle panels are exposed to on a saddle rack.
The pressure exerted by the steel bars causes deep ridges and indentations to form in the panels and flocking, ultimately compromising balance, fit and performance. You might not notice it but your horse definitely will! Depending upon the type of saddle and flocking you have, the damage to your saddle could be irreversible.
An uneven or lumpy saddle panel can prevent your horse from giving of its best and badly fitted or maintained panels are a common cause of sore backs and other more serious back problems in the horse.
Think of how sensitive your foot is to the tiniest pebble underneath it, and it will give you some idea of how your horse feels the lumps and bumps in a saddle panel on its back! Just like the story of the “princess and the pea”.
What might seem to some to be relatively minor saddle issues gradually affect the horse’s muscles and their ability to function properly. An insult to one muscle works progressively to spread that insult to another and yet another muscle in a chain reaction. That chain reaction will affect way of going, performance and foot conformation. Carried to its logical conclusion it will cause firstly, performance deficits and progress to subsequent sub-clinical lameness (not very visually evident, but manifested by “just not moving right.”)
Since the saddle is a rider’s primary communication device, the horse needs to feel subtle changes in the rider’s position and balance through it. When exposed to damaging pressure the flocking will become compressed and lose its springiness and ‘give’, ultimately resulting a great deal of ‘static’ or interference in the message to your horse.
At SaddleMattress we’re passionate about saddle performance and optimum comfort for the horse. We believe saddle panels should conform to a horse’s back and not to the bars of a saddle rack they rest on.
That’s why we created SaddleMattress -the first product dedicated to protecting the panels of a saddle when stored on a standard English saddle rack.
SaddleMattress is uniquely designed to cushion saddle panels, protecting them from damaging pressure and helping to maintain their integrity and balance for optimum performance. It’s technically smart and superbly practical, designed by an equestrian for equestrians.
Our unique, patented product is the culmination of 2 years of product development and testing. The product design combines materials technology and precision engineering to provide 3-way protection:
Each SaddleMattress has a zippered cover for easy removal and convenient laundering. The underside of the cover features a pocket that slides over the back of the saddle rack and secures with 2 Velcro seals – once secured, SaddleMattress hugs the rack and stays in place when removing and replacing a saddle.
We’ve rigorously tested our product to ensure it offers the optimum protection for saddle panels – read on for our test results...
We repeated our testing using a gel filled 3/4 inch thick Port Lewis Impression Pad. The difference was striking – with a SaddleMattress in place, no damaging pressure points were observed.
We even asked a saddle fitting professional to run a comparable test using advanced pressure sensor technology and the results were similarly impressive. With no saddle protection, pressure is clearly exerted along the length of the bars and panels creating many areas of high pressure and damage hotspots (indicated in green, yellow and red). Conversely, with a SaddleMattress in place, the weight of the saddle was redistributed over a much larger surface area minimizing pressure and eliminating hotspots.