Question: My lovely appaloosa mare, Leggs, and I enjoy rambling round the countryside (hacks/trails of 10-20 miles) and a few long distance rides each year. Leggs’ current saddle pad is a bit too long, rubbing slightly over her lumbar spine/loin area. The problem is that we live in the UK and ride western. Well, Leggs is Western and has been a great teacher so now we amble along happily understanding each other. The point is that there are no Western saddlers anywhere nearby to go and explore suitable saddle pads. Instead I’ve done some research online and come up with two possible options and wanted to see if any of you have experience of them. I am considering the Cavallo Western All Purpose – Performance Enhanced and the Horsedream Products 30mm pile merino lambskin western pad with a twill outer. I think the outer is a bit like a normal English numbna. I hope anyone with a Cavallo saddle pad could let me know what you think of its performance as to import one to the UK costs half as much again on the usual price – very expensive! Or if you use a merino wool pad without all the extras, like felt and woven exterior, how does it work? I want Leggs to be as comfortable and happy as possible, so if you’ve got any comments on the above or even another saddle pad idea it would be good to hear. Liz n Leggs

Monty’s Answer: Recently, I filmed a series of lessons for Equus Online University called ‘The Science of Saddle Fitting’ with saddle tech, Robert Ferrand. Our findings confirmed that no saddle can fit perfectly under all circumstances, but we can optimize the effect of a proper fitting saddle accompanied by an effective saddle pad cushion.

Since 2007, I have been working with a Canadian company, Cavallo Inc., that has reached out to assist us in this effort to maximize the effect of the saddle pad in the area of protecting the horse’s back. In this video, you will see me reviewing the qualities and benefits of Cavallo pads as I work with my horse, Nice Chrome.