Happy Birthday Dino! And Thoughts On Saddle Pads

Today is my sweet boy's birthday!

The Birthday Boy!

Caradino is 16 today, and I am so, so grateful to have him in my life. He's taught me so much over the years. He's taught me all about managing Cushing's, locking stifles, and PSSM. Taught me how to soak and wrap abscessed feet, and the trials of treating scratches.

Dino has taught me how to really ride with my seat, how to connect a horse and ride truly 'through' back-to-front. He's taught me that getting ahead at the fences will never get you ahead in life, and that correct flatwork and variety in training are truly the keys to developing a better equine athlete.

But most importantly, Dino has helped shape me into a better human being. He's taught me patience. He's taught me how to communicate. He's taught me how to compromise. He's taught me to look first to myself to solve a problem, instead of blaming others. Dino has taught me that without trust and confidence, any partnership will suffer. With Dino, I learned that giving up is not an option. He's helped me get back in the fight over, and over, and over again. Helped me work through everything from serious veterinary issues to training problems, to mental demons. And Dino has taught me to work. I get up early every day, I do barn chores, I sacrifice being able to afford nice clothes, weekends away, and dinners out, and I work. Hard. All for my pony.

Happy Birthday, Caradino! You bring such joy to my life!

Meanwhile, in the search for the perfect show pad set-up, I've done some experiments!

I bought a cheap fluffy fleece half pad at Dover last week, with the thought that if I layered it on top of my fitted pad, it would provide the extra bulk I needed in the front of my saddle while maintaining the hunter/eq princess look I was going for.

White and fluffy.
Everything looked pretty good from the side, but the back...

Holy cow, that was a LOT more pad than I bargained for back there! But my saddle did seem to be sitting pretty level on Dino's back, and I figured it would squish down a bit once I sat in it, so I headed to the ring to give it a test drive.

It was terrible.

The simple act of mounting up caused the pads to squish down a LOT and my whole saddle slipped to the side! I righted the whole mess, tightened my girth, and rode off. It was still terrible. The extra bulk under the cantle tipped my whole saddle forward, and everything was so squished down in front that it totally defeated the purpose of adding an extra pad to keep the pommel off Dino's withers. I got off almost immediately, and took away the fitted pad in favor of the half pad alone.

Surely that would be better?


The half pad by itself was okay, but it pretty much compressed down to nothing once I was in the saddle, and really didn't offer the lift and protection I was looking for. Dino wasn't thrilled with it, and  had a hard time going round with just the half pad. He felt really hollow in his back the whole time, and just wasn't moving great. I could tell he wasn't comfortable with this set up.

Back to the barn for a different pad.

This time, I popped my Lami-Cell pad under the fluffy half pad. Now we were getting somewhere.

The Lami-Cell gave me the structure and lift in the pommel that I was looking for, and while it didn't give the picture perfect look, having the black pad against Dino's coat instead of on top of a white pad made it a little more unobtrusive. I'm also not crazy about figuring out how to clean sweat off of the Lami-Cell, which doesn't have any sort of cover on it, but if it makes my pony happy, then we'll use it on the bottom like this.

The difference in Dino's performance with this pad combo was like night and day! He was suddenly willing to lift his back and go round, was in front of my leg, and overall MUCH more comfortable. Lami-Cell under a fluffy half pad was the clear winner, and that's what we ended up showing in on Sunday. I'll keep this combination in use until I can afford something more fancy-looking like a Fleeceworks with shims, but this works pretty well for us at the moment.


  1. Can you make a simple cover for the Lami-cell pad, out of a pillowcase or something?

  2. If you make a cover, try using the material PUL (Polyurethane laminate)....it's what modern cloth diaper covers are made out of :-P. Essentially waterproof (if it gets REALLY soaked or very worn over time, it'll go through), but what's nice is that it won't make a crinkly sound like vinyl or something else waterproof might. You can buy that material by the yard online in a whole lot of colors!

  3. Good idea on the cover! I am not a talented seamstress, so I'd need to ask for help on that one! I think maybe making it out of white fleece would be better than a waterproof material... I'm ok with it absorbing sweat as long as I can wash it easily.

  4. Happy Birthday Dino!! The cover is a great idea :)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts