Natural Horse World

Beware of Bareback Pads with stirrups

Bareback pads were designed to provide extra padding and grip for riders who enjoy riding bareback.
barebackpadstirrupsWhoever thought of adding stirrups to a bareback pad was not thinking of rider safety or the potential for horse injury.

When you add stirrups to a structure with no tree or spinal channel it is very easy for the pad to slip when the rider becomes un-balanced and puts more weight into one stirrup.
This can be a disaster if the rider is caught up in the stirrup, or even if they fall free, the horse now has a pad and stirrups flapping underneath to scare them and for hooves to get caught in.

The stirrup and girth attachment going across the spine can also cause permanent damage to your horse as there is no tree or channel to relieve that very concentrated pressure.
Even the well padded neoprene type ‘bareback saddles’ will add concentrated pressure to the horse’s backbone when used for any length of time.

A bareback pad is not a replacement for a saddle, and should not have a girth strap that continues over the back for if its girthed too tightly, the spine can be damaged.
To see some examples of problems caused by badly designed bareback pads read this blog, and this forum post.

The Best Bareback Pad.
The Best Bareback Pad with a treeless saddle pad under.

When selecting a bareback pad, choose a suede or sheepskin type to give you maximum grip if you feel like you would need stirrups for balance.
It’s also best to choose a pad that has no girthing strap over the backbone (like the Best Bareback Pad), or to use a treeless saddle pad (has a spine clearing channel) underneath to relieve any pressure.

One of the big benefits of riding bareback is to gain an independent seat, so a bareback pad will assist in the early stages and keep you clean as a bonus.

And the big benefit for the horse when you use a bareback pad is having a looser girth, and not having your seat bones dig into them, especially when you ride bareback for an extended time (15 mins or more).
Try putting your hand under your seat bones next time you are on your horse, to see what it would feel like, and unless you have a lot of padding in that region, I’m sure your horse will appreciate a good bareback pad.

 

4 thoughts on “Beware of Bareback Pads with stirrups”

  1. Thanks for bringing the dangers to both horse and rider to the light – I had intended getting a pad with stirrups but this has helped me change my mind (for the better, and I’ll also gain in balance as well as safety)

  2. Howly Wood

    Great considerations and positive focus, this is a superb analysis, excellent as I am pad shopping and remember being a kid with these very problems! I thought it was just me with all that sliding around! Risks like that are easier to take in childhood but why not avoid the problems? Thnx!!

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