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 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 Trailmaster Bareback Pad and the Trailmaster Sport?


The Trailmaster Sport synthetic always has a full grippy seat or if leather, a full suede leather seat The Sport lacks the #2 and #3 color locations of the Original style. The Trailmaster Original synthetic has a grippy patch (either our rubber coated fabric or suede leather) on the seat color of your choice.




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


The Trailmaster Bareback Pad has a 1/4" 80% pressed wool felt base, (this is a natural wool from sheep and if you are not using a liner you should wipe your hand back and forth along the surface of your felt to check for vegetable matter. If you find anyting prickly just pick it out. On top of the wool felt is a very strong/tough synthetic felt that is 1/8" thick and inside of each seat panel is a separate seat padding. Read about the seat padding in the question for that subject. 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 is not a soft squishy foam bareback pad. This pad is made to give you more stability and long term comfort for both you and your horse. 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. 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 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 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 synthetic materials. We also offer leather for those who love the feel of leather. Most of our leathers are chrome tanned and 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 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.




What material is the most grippy?


MOST GRIPPY- my rubber coated grippy fabric and suede leather are the most grippy. MEDIUM GRIP- crazy horse water buffalo hide, canvas, Eversoft Vinyl LEAST GRIP- top grain/full grain leathers that are not oily, Top Notch 11.5, Sunbrella Horizon Vinyls and other vinyls such as morbern and naugahyde I always recommend a grippy seat or seat patch. I've had people very happy with the grip of the most and medium grip materials for their seats. I used a top grain premium leather for my seat with no extra grippy patch and did not like it at all. I personally would not use anything on my seat or seat patch that was less than a medium grip quality and preferably the most grippy.




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


If you only need a little help with this the 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. I trimmed the shearling out from under my thighs and it works well for me. If you are not sure this will be enough help please contact me. We are working on a new seat padding configuration that may help with this.