The saddlecloth is a thin lining that sits between saddle, saddle pad, and horse. On winter morning rides, it serves as added insulation and enhanced comfort. On warmer days, it can be a light, breathable blanket to absorb sweat or distribute heat. For many riders, a personalised saddlecloth can be used for team branding, recognition in horse racing events or as a fashion statement. Though most all-equine tack can be custom-made to a rider or horse’s needs and specifications, saddlecloths have the added bonus of offering a slew of aesthetic choices including diamond cut, quilted, ribbed and embroidered.
Because of their flexibility as a product, it is common for riders and horse owners to purchase multiple saddlecloths for a single horse. These saddlecloths reflect changes in seasons, changes in style, and changes in riding discipline including:
- Recreational riding
- Riding lessons
When purchasing a saddlecloth on eBay, it is important to take weather, temperature, comfort, sensitivities of both horse and rider, saddle shape, horse size, saddle size, and aesthetic preference into consideration. There will be sellers that offer custom options, which will vary from seller to seller.
Among some of these custom options are:
Some horse owners choose to have one kind of saddlecloth used throughout the year; other owners choose various ones fitting the weather condition and season. To care for your horse, it is ideal to provide them with a personalised saddlecloth made of the correct material.
Materials for winter
Materials for spring or autumn
- Knitsaddlecloths - knitted material is lighter than wool, so it can also be used during spring or autumn, around 10 – 18 degrees Celsius. It is not too warm to cause the horse to sweat in the day, but it is warm enough to keep the horse comfortable at night or in the morning.
- Cotton saddlecloths - cotton is one of the best materials for saddlecloths so long as it is not too cold. Though they can also be used in cold weather, in those cases they usually require excessive lining. Cotton thread can be light with enough breathing space in between fibres, ideal for restoring and releasing a balanced amount of heat.
Materials for summer
- Light cotton - cotton is a versatile fabric, and as such can be quite light if manufactured as such. In that case, it is the perfect material for horses in hot or warm climates. It is breathable, and easy to customise with just the right linings and designs to make it comfortable for the horse.
Saddlecloths come in a range of style options.
The way the cloths are sewn together, or quilted.
Trimmings and linings
The way the cloths are lined or trimmed.
Within quilting there are many options for riders to choose from. These include:
- Wool saddlecloths - wool is the best material for saddlecloths in cold weather, around 10 Degrees Celsius or lower. However, because of their thickness, customised options are not as flexible as they are for cloth made from other material. In very cold places, wool is regarded as the most effective material for insulation, comfort and cushioning to enhance the riding experience for both horse and rider.
- Knitsaddlecloths- knit is another popular material for saddlecloths in cold weather. When cloths are knitted very tightly, they are able to retain heat for the horse. Compared to wool, knitted saddlecloths are generally made from lighter threads, so will usually not be as heavy or warm.
- Diamond Quilt - a style of quilting that allows for diamond shapes in the saddlecloth’s basic design
- Wave Quilt - like diamond quilting, wave quilting simply refers to quilting in wave shapes (varying in types from simple curves to more complicated curlicues) on the saddle cloth’s base design
- Box Quilt - again, another variation of quilting design, these bases are usually made up of square shapes or sometimes rectangular or mixed quadrilateral “box-like” quilting
- Flower Quilt - possibly the most complicated of quilting options, these quilts resemble diamonds with flowers joining them at all vertices.
- Ribbed - ribbed quilting is the simplest option of all, providing the base with what appears to be lines that look like corrugated board.
Once a base is chosen (whether quilted, stuffed or neither), trimmings and linings are the next step in putting together the ideal saddlecloth on eBay. Among the most popular options for these are:
- Sheepskin trim - sheepskin trimming is popular in cotton saddle cloths to provide better insulation and to keep the cloth from rubbing against the horse’s back uncomfortably as well as to keep it from slipping around
- Fleece lining - even warmer than sheepskin, fleece lining, both on the inside, and on the bottom side, of the saddle cloth, allows for greater warmth in the winter months as well as added friction to keep the cloth in place. The only problem with fleece lining is that it becomes matted after time, and so even a perfectly good saddle cloth will need to either be changed or relined before it has been worn for long.
Some of the additional features offered by eBay sellers who offer bespoke saddle cloths include:
- Colour - Most, if not all, eBay sellers offering custom saddlecloths will allow buyers to choose the desired colour of the cloth.
- Size - This is the most important additional feature for saddle cloths, since the size of the saddle cloth will largely determine its fit on the horse’s back, and the comfort it can provide the horse, as well as its conformation to the shape of the horse’s saddle and other tack (like saddle pads and such). It is important to measure a horse both in height, width of back, distance from withers to haunches, and size of horse’s saddle to get the most accurate reading on how large or small a saddlecloth should be.
Saddlecloth’s lateral measurement
1/2 inch longer than the saddle pad, so as not to irritate the horse’s withers.
Saddlecloth’s vertical measurement
1/2 inches longer than the saddle pad such that it meets the girth of the saddle.
It is possible, in many cases, to have saddlecloths embroidered with names of horses or riders. For many riders, this serves the dual purpose of firstly identifying the saddlecloth and preventing loss, as well as secondly providing the horse and rider with an accent to enhance the aesthetic value of the overall experience. Embroidery requests typically require: choosing placement, thread colour, thread material, size, and lettering (the horse’s name, rider’s name, team name, horse’s stall number or polo number).
In some cases, it is even possible to ask for special quilting on saddlecloths. Though not as common as embroidery personalisation, some sellers will offer options to choose from, such as wave quilting, square quilting, diamond quilting.
Though not entirely usual, it is possible to ask of some sellers, to add beading to saddlecloths - usually for the benefit of younger riders who prefer it for its aesthetic value. In many cases, these beads can be designed to shape, and are usually custom chosen by the buyer over a range of options that cover everything from size of bead, to overall decor.
For riders who have won certain accolades, or own materials they think of as sources of nostalgia and sentimentality, they may send these to sellers to have them integrated into saddlecloth patterns.
More common around Asia, in the mountains, and with Western riders, tassels and other hanging accents can be added to saddle cloths to give them a more rustic, “native,” or “ethnic,” feel.
Many eBay sellers can offer these features at an added cost. Having a bespoke saddlecloth made can be used for riders who enter competitions, so that their team has one brand and identity. Many riders opt for some level of personalisation to their horse’s saddlecloth, adding flare and design for the horse.
Things to Look Out for When Buying Personalised Saddlecloths
It is important to take note of a few basic suggestions when creating anything for a horse and rider pair:
- Overly flashy colours (such as fiery red, or neon) can be irritating to certain horses. It is vital to ensure, before purchasing anything reflective or fluorescent, that one’s horse (or other horses in the vicinity) is not skittish or prone to spooking around bright colours.
- Similar to the problem with flashy colours, many horses can be sensitive and are known to bolt at the sight of glitter or sudden flashes or changes in light. As such, glittery beading and the like should be handled with care when placing on any custom tack such as saddlecloths.
How to Buy a Personalised Saddlecloth on eBay
eBay is a great source for creating your own style of saddlecloth. It is easy to create your own style by choosing material, colour, size, and embroidery. Writing style and as well as lettering can also be personalised for the saddlecloth. Sellers offer easy drop-down menu options to make the bespoke saddlecloth exactly how you like it. Not all sellers offer personalised saddlecloth services so be sure to check that the seller you are choosing does. Generally, sellers of second-hand cloths do not offer such a service, while professional retailers often do.
To search for personalised saddlecloths on eBay, visit Sporting Goods in the portal. Click on Equestrian and then Horse Wear and Equipment, Saddle Accessories & Numnahs. Most will already come with a range of options to choose from.
The sellers can be contacted so that you can discuss additional options for the perfect look and fit.
When you’re ready to purchase an item, you can either place a Bid, Buy it Now, or place your Best Offer. eBay also makes it easy to purchase via PayPal for quick and smooth transactions. eBay users are protected by the Buyer Protection Program.
Saddlecloths are sources of comfort and warmth for a horse, as well offering aesthetic value to individual or team riders at horse shows. When buying saddlecloths it is important to take into consideration the sensitivities and needs of the horse to ensure that the value of the tack is optimised.