Choosing Saddle Panels
When you're buying a saddle, a consideration in your decision making process may involve the way in which the saddle's panels are filled.
Saddle panels are designed and intended to distribute weight and pressure evenly along a horse's back. Much discussion has gone into the creation of saddle panels, and two main schools of thought have developed. One school favors wool flocked panels and one school favors foam filled panels. Air filled panels are also popular with some riders.
Historically, saddle panels have been flocked with wool fibers. Long strands of wool, wool fibers blended with synthetic fibers, or synthetic fibers alone are placed by hand into a canvas lined panel. Foam is a modern innovation for saddle panels. It can be either synthetic or natural latex, and it is placed into the lining of the panel to fill out the form.
Advantages of Flocked Panels
You can find flocking in many saddles, such as in the Steffen Peters Advantage Dressage Saddle.
Advantages of Foam Filled Panels
You can find foam filled panels in many saddles, such as in the Hermes Corlandus Dressage Saddle, which uses natural latex foam, and the Circuit Premier Master Saddle.
Combination Wool and Foam
Some saddle manufacturers have combined the benefits of both flocking and foam into their saddles, as described here:
The CAIR Panel System replaces traditional panel fillings with air as the cushioning agent for the horse. Each saddle panel has two independently sealed Air Panels, with the air acting as a fluid medium to constantly adapt to the horse's working muscles to eliminate pressure points. The CAIR Panel System is found in Bates saddles, such as the Isabell Dressage Saddle, and in many Wintec Saddles, such as the 2000 All Purpose Saddle.
For more assistance or to request a catalog call 1-800-989-1500. Or, stop by any of our retail stores to speak with a Dover Saddlery product adviser. Visit www.DoverSaddlery.com for a complete store listing and the full product offering.