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. I was using a pad that had panels for under the saddle bars but it caused a ridge under my butt cheeks and my horse did get sore from it. The spine and where your weight is should be smooth enough to not cause sore/ tenderness for 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 actually go over the spine.

How do I measure heart girth?

Place the tape measure snugly around the girth area from the base of the withers (the lowest point) and all the way around behind the elbows where the girth goes.

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. If you use a higher wither relief than your horse needs, the tail of the pad may tip up a bit. Although his may not be appealing visually, it will not hurt the pad or the horse as it will lay down when you sit on it. I do recommend trying to get as close as possible to a proper fit for the withers. If the wither relief is too low for your horse the pad may work it's way back and in the worst case may cause soreness for your horse in the wither area. If you use a saddle pad under your bareback pad be sure it has proper wither relief and a smooth surface along the spine. We now offer an adjustable wither relief that makes adjusting the wither relief simple and takes any guessing out of the equation.

What is the difference between the original Trailmaster Bareback Pad and the Trailmaster XL?

The XL is larger, has a larger seat area and does not have the extra seat padding that the original pad has. There are two advantages to this. You can feel your horse better and you can add your own choice of extra pad under your Trailmaster XL. The body of the XL is not quite as rigid as the original since it does not have the seat panel and extra seat padding though it still has great body to it. The Original has the extra D ring placement near your knee for tying the bottom of your pommel trail bags down. (you can request this custom D added to your XL if you wish) The XL is slightly less in cost due to the fact that it takes less time to make. I will add more differences as they come to my mind.

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

The Trailmaster Bareback Pad has a 3/8" wool blend felt base and inside of each seat panel is 3/8" 10 lbs high density memory foam and 1/8" polyester pad. 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. If you are a heavier rider or concerned about extra comfort I recommend using the merino wool liner and 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. 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 stable 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 will help you and your horse be more comfortable on long rides. 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 has 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. We use marine grade, non corrosive, highly abrasion resistant, UV resistant materials. 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 as well as give a bit more comfort for your horse. The bottom of our bareback pads are a wool blend that may have a piece of vegetable matter (weed stems or seeds) that occur naturally when using real sheep wool. You should feel your felt before every ride to be sure it is smooth with no vegetable matter if you are not using a liner of some kind.


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