How can I determine if my saddle fits properly?
Put your saddle on your horses's back with no padding underneath, and without girthing up. Try to run your hand in between your horse and the saddle from the front of the saddle all the way along the muscular area and under the bars of the saddle. Your hand should be in palm up position with the back of your hand against your horse and your palm feeling along the bottom of the saddle. Notice how the saddle feels from the horse's perspective. Does the saddle fit tightly in some areas and looser in others?
Can a Cavallo pad be used with a treeless saddle?
Cavallo saddle pads are perfect with treeless saddles. Most riders can take an inadvertent bounce from time to time and with a treeless saddle this can be a little uncomfortable for both horse and rider. Horses are most comfortable when weight is evenly distributed along the muscular structure on either side of the spine. Cavallo pads provide the panels that the treeless saddle doesn't have, but in a much softer and more flexible form.
My horse is sensitive to neoprene. Will your Cavallo Pads affect him?
The Nitrex used by Cavallo for their pads does not contain the sulfur which may be the culprit in neoprene sensitivity. We are not aware of any issues regarding sensitivity.
My horse has started to get a patch of white hair appearing on his wither area and his loins, does this mean my saddle doesn't fit properly?
While white patches on the withers are more common than on the loins, but they both represent a disparity in saddle fit. This is usually because the saddle is too tight in these areas. When you get both problems occurring together, it usually means a “bridging saddle” i.e. the saddle is too tight at both the withers and the loins.
What is the difference between a gel pad and the Cavallo Total Comfort System Pad?
Gel is a heavy dense product which responds to weight and pressure. The weight of the saddle bars and the rider coupled with the forces of movement cause the gel to disperse and progress downwards. This is counter-productive to the horse’s natural movement. Gel becomes ‘dead’ weight on the skeletal and muscular structure, inhibiting your horse’s impulsion and numbing the natural function of his finely-tuned body. Cavallo saddle pads are a unique combination of technically advanced materials that do not resist movement, but rather respond and allow your horse to move freely.
I have a high withered narrow Thoroughbred Jumper, and I seem to be progressively falling further behind her movements. Do I need a WEDGE pad for her?
It sounds as though the saddle is not level, but is actually sloping down into the mid-section of your horse’s back. She could be dropping her back to avoid discomfort, or the saddle could be propped up and too tight at the wither end. To determine the problem, put your saddle on with no padding underneath and do not girth up. Try to run your hand in between your horse and the saddle from the front - your hand should be in a palm up position with the back of your hand against your horse. If your hand slides in easily, then you have enough room at the wither and the Cavallo Wedge Pad with all its benefits and features would be a good solution to your balance problem. Whilst all Cavallo pads create more room at the wither, they cannot make your saddle wider. If your hand really has difficultly sliding in, your saddle is too tight at the wither and you should consider a new saddle.
My saddle is a bit tight for my horse. I know your pads are thin and lightweight, will they correct this?
Saddles are restrictive and often a bit tight. When your horse is in motion, the whole structure of the leg moves and the back of the shoulder blade pushes into the bars of the saddle. Cavallo have identified the area, just down from the withers, as the most common place for discomfort through saddle fit. In the past when this area was acknowledged as sore, more padding was put under the saddle to cushion the area - however this is not something we would recommend.
Do you use a saddle cloth with the Cavallo pad?
This is up to you. The pad can be used alone or directly on to the horse's back either Merino wool side to the back of the horse or closed cell foam (black side) to the horse. Alternatively you can use a thin saddle cloth on the horse's back with the Cavallo pad on top. Some people even use the Cavallo pad to the horse with a thin saddle cloth between the pad and the saddle. Try not to add too much extra bulk as this will defeat the object of having a thin memory foam pad.
Do you have evidence that supports the descriptions of how your pads perform?
Cavallo Saddle Pads are made through a lamination process of 3 different types of materials: New Zealand Merino wool, open cell memory foam, and patented closed cell nitrex foam. As well as alleviating saddle fit discrepancies, Cavallo aims to reduce concussion and absorb the shock transmitted from horse to rider and from the rider through to horse. Cavallo’s materials, both individually and as laminated together have been tested at Satra, (internationally recognized testing authority in the UK). Satra has rigorously tested Cavallo's three individual materials to conclude a high level of durability and shock absorption.
Cavallo has tested the completed saddle pad to assess heat sources through various external temperatures and riding conditions. Infrared thermometer gauges have detected no additional increase in temperature as compared to pure wool pads and when compared to an assortment of purely or combined synthetic construction pads, Cavallo pads show less temperature increase as a result of the aeration throughout. Through a range of tests it is determined that use of Cavallo Saddle Pads have been seen to more evenly distributes saddle pressure when used with a saddle.
Cavallo have done comparison testing with regular felt pads, wool pads, and Cavallo Total Comfort System Saddle Pads to determine the ability a pad has to absorb shock, reduce concussion injuries and soreness, and re-distribute the weight of the rider off the horse’s spine and onto the muscular structure of the horse. It is the lightweight nature of Cavallo pads along with the memory foam and the gullet, that assist in contracting where there is more pressure and remaining full where there is less.