The saddle cloth has been a key piece of equipment across many different equestrian disciplines for centuries now. Often believed to be one of the first devices that humans employed for the purpose of horse riding, saddle cloths are still one of the most widely used and helpful pieces of equipment that riders have at their disposal.
However, this popularity has meant that the variety of saddle cloth available has become almost endless and although in some ways this is a good thing with consumers, it leaves many potential buyers feeling like they don’t know where to start when looking for a new cloth.
This eBay guide will focus on the different types of saddle cloth, the benefits of each of these designs as well as advice on how to buy one using eBay.
What is a Saddle Cloth
In broad terms, a saddle cloth is a blanket that is placed over a horse’s back; they are usually underneath a saddle.
The saddle cloth’s job is to provide protection for both the horse and rider; it can absorb sweat, protect the horse’s back and stop the saddle from slipping.
Saddle cloth designs have developed a lot in recent years, incorporating modern technology to perform their job more efficiently and effectively.
What Different Types of Saddle Cloth are Available?
There are a number of different types of saddle cloth, all of which have their own positive attributes when compared to one another. Here is a list of the most common types of saddle cloth that are available as well as a brief explanation of their individual strengths.
Classic Saddle Cloth
A traditional saddle cloth is defined by its square or rectangular shape. It was cloths like these that riders originally used instead of saddles to keep themselves stable whilst sat on a horse’s back. In the present day however, the classic saddle cloth tends to be a little bit more complicated. Designs are often available in quilted cotton with a great deal of padding, for the protection of both the rider and the horse.
A numnah is a variation on the saddle cloth that is popular with riders who regularly use an English style saddle. Whilst a classic saddle cloth is simply square or rectangular, numnahs are produced in the shape of saddles. They are popular with show jumpers, eventers and those who participate in dressage. A numnah also has the potential to be used to balance or support a poor fitting saddle, improving the rider’s safety as a result.
A saddle pad may come in either a square or saddle-shaped form. Their job is to provide support to a saddle that may not have originally been fitted to the horse that is wearing it. These saddle pads mean that it is possible for a rider to use any saddle they want safely. Saddle pads will come as a series of different shaped pads that will fit around the saddle to ensure a good fit.
What Materials are Saddle Cloths Often Made From?
Designers have chosen to manufacture saddle cloths from many different materials in recent, usually looking to provide a perceived benefit to the rider due to the properties of their chosen materials. Below is a list of the common components used in constructing saddle cloths, as well as explanations as to what their strengths and weaknesses are when used for this particular job:
Many saddle cloths will have quilted cotton added featured within their design, often for one of two reasons. Firstly, it may be to add to the overall aesthetics of the cloth. Quilted fabric is a traditional British countryside favourite and it never goes out of style. Secondly and perhaps more practically, this material is known for having good absorbent qualities. This serves one of the primary functions of a saddle cloth; to absorb any sweat that the horse may produce.
Sheepskin is often seen as one of the most attractive materials to have a saddle cloth constructed from. Not only does it is capable of good levels of absorption, it’s also hardwearing and effective at its job of keeping both the rider and their horse well protected. Many sheepskin saddle cloths will come with a woollen backing, meaning this is the part that will come into contact with the horse. This wool backing is soft on the horse’s hide, meaning they will not suffer any form of skin irritation.
Emerging more recently, neoprene’s toughness coupled with its durability has made it a perfect material for use within equestrian equipment, especially saddle cloths. Its use however has become particularly commonplace because of its non-slip qualities, which is ideal as it serves the saddle cloth’s primary purpose of keeping the saddle in a secure position on the back of the horse. It is also worth noting that neoprene can be less as a less expensive alternative to more traditional materials, such as sheepskin.
Another more recently innovated compound, the use of gel in saddle cloths is becoming increasingly common. The gel that is most frequently used in saddle cloths is polyurethane gel. This kind of gel is well known for its cushioning abilities and is used in bicycle and motorcycle seats. For this reason, polyurethane gel does an effective job of cushioning both the horse and the rider when used in a saddle cloth. For this reason, it is certainly worth thinking about a saddle cloth with gel inserts when considering the options.
All of the materials listed above have a wide variety of properties that make them ideal for use in the manufacture of saddle cloths. It should be noted that of course, many saddle cloth models will be constructed from more than one material and many could contain any combination of the four compounds listed above. It’s a good idea to try and find a saddle cloth which contains at least one of these materials, as it can generally be considered to display the quality of the product.
How to Buy a Saddle Cloth Using eBay
Buyers may not have realised before, but equestrian equipment retailers will often list a large number of their products on eBay, meaning there is always a fantastic range of saddle cloths to browse on the site. Here are some top tips for finding the perfect saddle cloth for the job using eBay:
eBay have developed some useful search functions to help users filter through the thousands upon thousands of listings on the site and easily find exactly what it is they are looking for.
One of these search functions is the filters, which alter depending on the search terms a user inputs into the search bar at the top of the page. For example, if a user searches for “saddle cloths” when their search results are returned, the page will also display a set of equestrian related filters, so that users can refine their search in an effective manners
For example, buyers can filter so by type of equipment, brand, price, condition and even the materials that the product has been made with. This kind of attention to detail means that it is possible for users to eliminate any unsuitable items from their search, leaving them only with listings that they are likely to be interested in
eBay sellers will also usually provide a great deal of information about the product they are selling in the item description section on the listed item’s page. Here, they may give potential buyers a whole host of useful information about their products, often going into extensive detail.
There has never been a better time to search eBay for a saddle cloth and using the brief tips outlined in this guide, buyers can expect to find an absolute bargain for themselves.
Think about the particular designs that are on offer to consumers on saddle cloth market, is a traditional, rectangular saddle cloth required, or would it be better to look at a numnah or perhaps a even saddle pad style if a rider is looking to use the same saddle on a number of different horses.
The materials that are used during the construction of a saddle cloth can often tell buyers a lot about the product’s quality. Seeing materials like sheepskin, neoprene, quilted cotton and polyurethane gel are all used in good saddle cloth models and eBay users can identify these kinds of materials with a good product overall.
Finally, be sure to take advantage of the advanced search features that eBay have provided for their users to ensure that finding the perfect saddle cloth as a simple and speedy process. It’s also a good idea to read the additional information that a seller chooses to list about their product, you will find that they often give you extra, helpful information that can make choosing the right saddle cloth a much simpler task.