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Wool Saddle Pad Benefits
There is nothing like a Wool Saddle Pad…But Why?
Surprisingly, wool’s technology has science still trying to play catch up. But it is no surprise. Mother Nature has had thousands of year’s head start with countless test subjects. What she has come up with is nothing short of a technological marvel.
When a horse exercises, his muscles create heat. A horse will product sweat which is the horses’ built in cooling process. Heated blood travels close to the skin surface of the horse. As the sweat evaporates it creates “evaporative cooling” that cools the blood at the skin level which returns to the heart cooler. Which in turn allows the horse to perform better and longer. Research shows that because of wool’s effective cooling management, a horse can maintain a lower and more stable core body temperature when having a wool saddle pad next to skin instead of synthetics.
Did Mother Nature stop there? No, she has been hard at work with sheep and she has just about got it perfected. To aid in the cooling effect the wool on sheep is a sophisticated water pump. The wool fiber is for the most part a hollow tube with a water resistant outer coating, much like a straw. The inner layer, its cortex, is hydrophilic (water-loving). The cortex (or center) can draw away from the horse’s sweat about to one-third of its weight in moisture, and because it is in a water proof tube it will not feel damp. Pretty amazing huh?
With all this water retention, a wool saddle pad’s shining advantage is breath-ability. The cork screw shape of the wool fiber creates air channels that allow air to travel freely within the saddle pad. All the while water getting drawn up the water proof tube away from the horse to the top where it is release into the air.
Saddle Pad Resilience
Additionally, the cork screw shape of wool fibers also gives give saddle pads particularly good resilience. This means that saddle pads made from wool will retain their thickness. Even better is that the fibers act like tinny springs and will allow you to cinch your saddle tight with less pressure than other synthetic pads. This is dramatically more comfortable for both horse and rider, as it will act like a mini suspension system.
Saddle pad will stay in place
Many a rider know that when a horse sweats, synthetic pads, like neoprene, memory foam or pads made of plastic fibers will start to slip and slide. Wool’s twisted fibers act like a kind of Velcro when it placed against the hair of a horse. For this reason wool saddle pads have been the pad of choice for Barrel Racers and Ropers.
A Wool Saddle Pad is not Fleece Saddle Pad
Do not be confused with Sheep Fleece under your horse working the same as a wool saddle pad. Yes it is the same original material except that fleece is pointed upside down when used under a pad. It has the exact opposite effect as you are pointing the ends of the wool fibers down towards the horse. The wool fibers are designed to draw water in one direction. When this is down you will cause your horse to trap the sweat on his back. Plus they will become extremely slippery. But if you have a fleece pad you have already seen this. Or if you have had Fleece slippers, your feet get sweaty. This is a big difference from wool socks that keep your feet dry. Wool saddle pads are cut fibers so that enough of the fibers point the correct direction and will in turn pull sweat away.
Conforming to Your Horses Back
Another nice benefit is that wool saddle pads will conform to your horses back. After a few rides, your wool saddle pad will take on the shape of the horses back. This will greatly reduce dry spots. Please understand that saddle tree fit is the most important factor to fitting your saddle. A good wool saddle pad can help a lot though.