How Saddle Tush Pads and Gel Seats Can Change Your Life
By Chris, Five Star Ranch Staff Writer
Okay, call me a wimp, but over the years I’ve become a fan of saddle seat seats. The funny part of this is that for the first twenty years I rode I was a purist – I rode in a normal leather seat saddle with little padding. I’d say I like to feel the horse – the less padding the better. I was hard core.
Then one day I was in the saddle shop with my riding partner. Whereas some people go to the mall, we go to the tack shop. It was a cold blistery day and we had cut our ride short that day due to the weather. She needed some horse supplies so we used that as an excuse to visit our local tack shop. As we stood there drooling over several saddles we couldn’t afford we happened to see the sheepskin seat covers.
The saleslady who knew us and knew our weaknesses came over and told us how great they were for winter riding. The soft sheepskin was much warmer to sit on than bare leather. Well, anything that could help us brave the elements and extend our riding was worth trying. We were sold. We each bought one – after all, if we both had one we couldn’t be wimps.
I rode in that sheep skin pad for several years until I wore it out. I started using it that winter, but by Spring I had grown to like the extra padding so it stayed on my saddle throughout the year. When it finally wore out I went out seeking a replacement. By then the market for tush pads and grown and I discovered that you could find pads in a variety of materials. My second pad was a suede covered gel pad.
Over the years my inventory of saddle tush pads has grown. In addition to sheep skin pads I now have them in memory foam, gels, and other materials. I have them for both my English and Western saddles.
When my daughter first graduated to an adult sized western saddle I put a fluffy fleece western saddle pad
on her saddle to fill up some extra room and give her a more comfortable ride – it was still a tad big for her and the pad took up a little extra space and helped her feel more secure until she grew into the saddle better.
This ability to change them out gives them an advantage of the built in padded seats that are becoming popular. I guess the next step is to put the tush pad on top of one of the padded saddles – then I’ll really be in heaven.
Okay, I admit it, I have crossed over into wimpdom, but you know what, the pads really are warmer in the winter.
Below are some saddle seat pads I’ve used or seen on the trail. The gel pads last longer, but are a bit more pricey. All the pads are wonderful though. I have seat pads and tush cushions on nearly all my saddles. Call me a comfortable wimp.