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Research Assessment #7

Saddle Pad Research- Current Products

Date: 12/4/20

Subject: Saddle Pad Research- Current Products

MLA/APA citation:   

“Dover Saddlery Quilted All Purpose Piped Saddle Pad.” Dover Saddlery,            piping/p/X1-190395/. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

“Essential® Square Pad.” EquiFit, 

        variant=24043557060689. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020. 

“Roma Circle Quilt All- Purpose Pad.” Dover Saddlery,

        Accessed 30 Nov. 2020. 

“SmartPak AP Saddle Pad with COOLMAX® Lining.” Smartpak,

        with-coolmax-lining-18062. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020. 

“SmartPak Medium Diamond Deluxe AP Saddle Pad.” SmartPak ,

        diamond-deluxe-ap-saddle-pad-9502. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

“SmartTherapy All Purpose Saddle Pad.” SmartPak,

        22032?_br_psugg_q=smarttherapy. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020. 


        As I continue to develop my original work, the final product being a well designed and constructed saddle pad, I found it important to look at existing saddle pads on the market to gain ideas for shape, material, and overall design. Throughout my previous research, I have found the importance of combining a precise set of materials and a particular structure. One of the most common traits that I found within my research was the quilted nature of the saddle pads. Each saddle pad I came across had some kind of quilted pattern whether it was small squares (“Essential Square Pad”) or larger squares (“SmartPak AP Saddle Pad”) or even circles (“Roma Circle Quilt”). The purpose of this quilting design was to provide more support to the horse and allow for better breathability from the saddle pad, therefore, decreasing the overall build up of sweat. Since this seemed to be a major structural component of almost every saddle pad I came across, I believe it is vital to include some kind of quilted pattern within my design. 

        One of the major things that I have gathered in my research is that stress sweating and sweating, in general by the horse, can cause an increase in fungal and bacterial buildup. It is very important that the saddle pad fits the horse correctly and provides relief in sensitive areas so that sweat caused by discomfort or stress does not factor into possible bacterial infections. A horse’s spine is typically quite sensitive and can be prone to injury with the wrong saddle fit. In my research, I came across a saddle pad made by Equifit that has built in support around the withers that supposedly takes pressure off of the horses back (“Essential Square Pad”). This particular pad had extra polyester padding towards the top of the saddle pad that provided relief to the horse which likely decreased the overall stress on the horse’s back (“Essential Square Pad”). I found this particular design structure to be very important to what I am trying to accomplish. My main goal is to decrease the possibility of fungal or bacterial growth underneath the saddle of the horse. The best way to make sure this happens is to decrease the amount of sweat buildup that is happening, so decreasing even a little bit of extra stress on the horse may decrease the overall sweat during a normal ride. Obviously this makes it imperative that I find a way to incorporate some kind of anatomical padding in the top portion of the saddle pad to protect the withers and the sensitive back of the horse. 

        An interesting new piece of technology that I came across while researching these saddle pads was a new design of saddle pad called SmartTherapy by SmartPak (“SmartTherapy All Purpose”). This new technology utilizes the heat coming off the horse’s back during a normal ride and redirects the heat as soothing infrared rays into the horse’s back, relieving stress and stiffness (“SmartTherapy All Purpose”). While this diverges a bit from my main goal for my original work, I found it very interesting to read about this new technology and the possible impact it could have on horses and decreasing their stress and discomfort levels while working. Another thing that was emphasized with this particular saddle pad, was the need for a light fabric that promoted breathability (“SmartTherapy All Purpose”). This presented a new dilemma regarding my chosen materials for my saddle pad, as I now knew that I needed to find something that was durable and strong but also light and breathable. These are two completely different traits in fabrics which, will prompt me to do some additional research regarding fabrics and fabric blends so that I can determine the best fabric that will accomplish both of these goals deemed essential to the success of the saddle pad. 

        Another continuity among the saddle pads that I researched was their composition. In all of the saddle pads, cotton played a major role in the composition of the saddle pad whether the saddle pad was 100% cotton twill like the Equifit saddle pad or a blend of cotton and polyester like the Smartpak Medium Deluxe Saddle Pad (“Essential Square Pad”, “SmartPak Medium Deluxe”). This allowed me to conclude that cotton needed to be a major material in whatever fabric I chose, due to its ability to absorb moisture and its breathability. I am curious if it would be better to use 100% cotton or some sort of cotton blend. This will definitely need to be a focus for future research. 

        Additionally, I was able to determine the approximate size of my saddle pad from this research as I was able to find the dimensions of prominent saddle pads which gives me a better understanding of the size for my final product and the amount of materials I will likely need. The length of the saddle pads ranged from 21” to 23”, so I will likely make the length of my product 22” since it seemed to be the most common (“Dover Saddlery Quilted”, “Essential® Square Pad.”, “Roma Circle Quilt”, “SmartPak Medium Diamond”, “SmartTherapy All Purpose”). The width of the saddle pads ranged from 18” to 20” so I am planning on having the width of my prototype be about 19” since that was the mean of the measurements (“Dover Saddlery Quilted”, “Essential® Square Pad.”, “Roma Circle Quilt”, “SmartPak Medium Diamond”, “SmartTherapy All Purpose”). 

        Overall, this research provided me with numerous ideas regarding the structure and design of my saddle pad and allowed me to make some more concrete decisions about the actual dimensions and material of my product. I feel as though this particular research has given me the ability to feel more set and comfortable in what I am trying to create and I feel as though I can start working on designing the pad and making plans for gathering the materials and eventually pulling all of this together.

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