Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

Should I worry about spinal clearance?


A typical horse and rider will not need to worry about spinal clearance. In some cases in which your horse has a very high spine you may want a custom pad that will provide more lift on both sides of the spine. Be careful that there are no sharp or abrupt edges under your weight against your horse. Our bodies and our horse's bodies are all different. If you feel your tailbone or seat bones putting pressure on your horse's back you may want to consider getting a saddle pad that will provide more protection so that you can both be comfortable. In my experience my body is fleshy and soft where my horse's spine is under it. Most of my weight is on either side of the spine and not putting pressure on the actual spine itself. Our bareback pads are built so that the padding is on both sides of the spine and does not go over the spine.




How do I measure heart girth?


Place the soft tape measure or string snugly around the girth area from the base of the withers (the lowest point where the withers meet the spine) and all the way around where the girth/cinch will want to lay.




How do I clean my bareback pad and accessories?


General Or Light Cleaning

  • Brush off or vaccum loose dirt from wool felt base.
  • Simply wipe synthetic top with a wet cloth or brush
  • If you are cleaning leather please use recommendations from a leather professional.
  • If soap is necessary, use a mild detergent that will not bother your horse if some residue is left behind. I use my horse shampoo.
  • Use a soft bristle brush or a rubber bristle brush to clean.
  • Rinse thoroughly until all soap residue is removed.
  • Air dry until completely dry.
You can shop online for a "rubber brush for pet hair" like this one. Use it on your bareback pads and accessories, upholstery, carpets, etc. Picks up hair and fur like magic. NOTE about real wool: Wool is made from sheep and sheep get weeds in their wool. Please feel your wool often to check for debris that might need to be removed.




What about wither relief?


How do I know if my horse needs a high, average, or low wither relief? See the "Withers" page for examples of each. It's always better to go too high rather than too low. Some horses are more sensitive than others to pressure on their withers. If your wither relief is a little too low you may be able to get away with using a proper fitting saddle pad under it. Check your horse for soreness and listen to him/her. If your horse is acting up it could be from pain from an unknown source. Don't assume your horse is just being a brat. My horse has taught me this. If your wither relief is too high you can always add a saddle pad under your bareback pad or a fleece (or other padding) patch to the wither area to fill the gap if you feel it is needed. For just a small patch of fleece I've purchased a lambswool applicator from a home improvement store, cut it to the desired size and used a quality double sided carpet seaming tape to install it to the bottom side of my bareback pad wool. Worked like a charm.




What is the difference between the original (offered with the Ranger model) and sport (offered with the Rambler model) styles?


The Ranger is made using our "original style" with 4 color choices. We call this the original style because it was my original design from the beginning of Trailmaster Bareback Pads. The Ramber is made using our "sport style" with 2 color choices. We call this the sport style because it looks more sleek. You may request a Ranger model bareback pad with the sport style color pattern if you wish. We do not offer the Rambler in the original style however. But to get around this all you have to do is order the Ranger without the 1/2" contoured seat padding. The contoured seat padding and the two different styles are the differences between the Ranger and the Rambler.




Read First: General Information about our Bareback Pads/Bareback Riding


The Trailmaster Ranger model has 3/8" black felt base with a "core" of a very strong 1/8" thick material to help with weight distribution and "bony butt" support plus a 1/2 inch thck contoured closed cell foam in the seat. This bareback pad is strong and sturdy, protecting you and your horse from soreness that may occur without a pad or with a pad that is too soft. This model comes with 8 stainless steel 3/4" D rings for packing your trail bags and breast collar. The Ranger comes in our "original style" which has 4 color panels as seen on the illustration on the product page. The Trailmaster Rambler is built the same as the Ranger except that it does not have the contoured seat padding but has a 1/8" layer of padding under the entire "seat" panel. The Trailmaster Rambler has 2 color choices, the upper or seat and the lower. It comes with 8 stainless steel 3/4" D rings for your breast collar and trail bags. An important thing to be aware of is that this pad is flexible and does not have a rigid "seat platform" like a saddle so it will feel different on different shaped horses and it will also feel different with different density/thickness saddle pads. Though it is not imperitive, I recommend using a liner or a quality saddle pad under your bareback pad, especially if you are using stirrups. Be careful to use a pad or liner that is smooth over the spine- free from ridges or lumps on the spine or next to the spine since your weight goes across the spine location unlike a treed saddle. Using stirrups with a bareback pad is dangerous and can cause your horse soreness, as the pad does not have a tree to keep stirrup pressure off the spine and is unstable when you put more pressure in one stirrup over the other. These bareback pads are not luxury items. People who ride bareback much understand the need for a good sturdy bareback pad that is contoured properly. The Trailmaster Bareback Pad is designed to help you and your horse be more comfortable on long and or extreme riding conditions. The padding in the seat does not go across your horse's spine. This allows your weight to be on the padding on both sides of the spine and less weight directly on top of the spine. I have several customers who are using their Trailmaster Bareback Pad for long distance riding with great success. Our beta tester put 1200 miles on her original bareback pad. She's now upgraded to the new model but her original bareback pad still has a lot of life left in it! I have no reason to believe this bareback pad won't hold up for 2000 miles or more if cared for properly. Most of our leathers are chrome tanned and may need aditional waterproofing and stain guard. Please contact a leather specialist about leather care. Bareback pads are not saddles. Your bareback pad is designed to be a pad between you and your horse. It is not a safety device. If you are new to riding bareback do not be surprised if you feel wobbly and insecure when first starting off. Your balance will improve the more you practice. May the "horse" be with you. Happy riding!




Do I need a saddle pad under my Trailmaster Bareback Pad?


Although you do not have to use a pad or liner under your bareback pad, using one will extend the life of your bareback pad.




What material is the most grippy?


MOST GRIPPY- my rubber coated grippy fabric- hands down! GRIPPY- suede leather MEDIUM GRIP- crazy horse water buffalo hide and folklore are somewhat grippy. SLIPPERY- All of our top grain and full grain hides are slippery. I would never use them on the seat of a bareback pad.




What if I feel like my hips are spread too far apart when I ride bareback?


If you ride a very wide horse you may feel like your legs are spread too far apart. Our new contoured seat padding, our standard seat padding for the Trailmaster Ranger, may help you to feel less spread out. It has padding that is under your bum but not under your thights. We hope this helps you to feel more comfortable. If this is not quite enough we also offer a shearling seat cover with hip saver pad (1/2" foam that feels like a cross between foam and gel) may help you with this. Trim it to meet your needs. We've done our best to make a super comfortable and very stable bareback pad.




Can I request the rigging placement changed?


I have studied our rigging placement extensively and the current rigging placement is the very best for most horses. It may appear too far back to some people but in almost all cases it is at the perfect location. If the placement is moved forward it can draw pressure down from too far forward and cause the back of the pad to lift up when you are not sitting on it. Worse than that, it can draw the pad down too far forward making the pad shift back causing you to sit on the front edge of the pad. This being said, you can request to have your rigging moved forward an inch if you think that is better for the conformation of your horse. You must make this decision on your own. I cannot help you make this decision.