Occasionally it’s necessary to use a specific type of pad to augment the fit of an English saddle. A riser pad (sometimes also called a lift-back or wedge pad) may be necessary if a horse, due to age or conformation, has a back that dips or declines noticeably behind the withers. Certain saddle designs also tend to situate a rider too far back toward the cantle, a problem exacerbated when mounted on a horse with a somewhat sunken back. The riser pad, slid beneath the saddle, lifts the cantle and rear panels of the saddle. Not only does this help the rider achieve a more balanced seat, but it can also help alleviate pressure points on the horse’s back.
- To check if you need a riser pad, set your saddle on your horse’s back without any padding. If the cantle sits noticeably lower than the pommel, you may need a riser pad.
- Foam riser pads can be incorporated into fleece pads for a more polished look in the show ring.
- If you consistently require a riser pad, even as you switch horses, then you may need to reconsider the style, design and size of your saddle.