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Save Your Seat
 By Winniefield Park   •   13th Apr 2017   •   1,060 views   •   0 comments


Lots of riders have problems with rubbing and chafing from the saddle. There are a few simple ways to prevent this. If you’re just learning to ride, you might just need some time to ‘toughen up’. But sometimes, you need to make some adjustments or add some padding or protection to avoid soreness and discomfort.

How Your Saddle Fits You
We’ve talked about making sure that your saddle fits your horse, but it’s just as important that your saddle fits you. A seat that is too large or small can cause uncomfortable chafing. In a saddle that is too small, you might find yourself pushed up against the pommel. Or, you might slop around in a saddle that is too big. Either way, riding is going to hurt. Both English and western saddles come with different seat sizes and builds so it's worth trying several out to be sure that you’ve got one that fits both you and your horse.

Fleece Pads
Even with a well fitting saddle, your seat can get sore over the long haul. Take a tip from long distance riders and put a sheepskin pad over your saddle seat. Real sheepskin pads will help you stay cool in summer and be cozy in the winter along with keeping your backside more comfortable. These come ready-made to attach to your saddle without shifting. There are several different designs made for English, western and endurance saddles. Some cover just the seat, some extend down to cover the flaps. They are long wearing and easy to maintain and won’t damage the saddle

Gel Pads
Gel pads have a bit more shock absorption than wool pads. Again, they come in several different designs for different saddles. The downside of these pads is that they may hold heat and damp on hot days. These pads don’t usually need more than a wipe with a damp cloth to clean them and are very durable.

Foam Pads
Foam pads will be a bit softer than gel pads, and depending on the type, might not hold as much heat during hot weather. Some are made to be very low-profile, and many people feel these pads improve their grip in the saddle. Foam pads don’t last as long as gel or wool, but their inexpensive price means you won’t be too worried about replacing one when it wears out.

Stirrup Leathers
Adjusting your stirrups to the right length is important for your seat comfort too. Ride with your stirrups too long, or uneven and it can cause you to slip around in the seat and get chafing along your leg. Too short and you might experience chafing along the inside of your leg. So, make sure your stirrup length is right. If you still get rubbing consider using leathers that aren’t quite so thick. Or, use wool, foam or gel wraps around your stirrup leathers. Western riders avoid this problem altogether with the wide fenders.

Clothing
You can buy clothing that provides a bit of padding too. There is padded underwear for riders with lots of different styles that feature ‘no-show’ seaming, no-chafe gel liners and other seat saving inventions. Breeches and pants should have flat seaming so you don’t get rubbing along the inseam. There are also bottoms that have padding and patches for extra grip which helps you stay more securely in the saddle.

Creams and Lotions
Products like Body Glide have been used by other sports enthusiasts to prevent chaffing and blistering. Be sure to read the label to find out if it's appropriate for the area you want to use it for. Many distance riders opt for cheap petroleum jelly along pant seams and seat areas. This is hard to wash out any fabric it gets on, though.
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