I dont typically show in western, I just ride a lot of trails and in my own arena. I was wondering if it would be excessive or seen as stupid if I used a saddle blanket on top of my pad out of the show ring. I know blankets are usually used for showing, but I love having different color schemes with my mare and since she takes a pony sized pad, I don’t have many pad color options to choose from.
Well, I trail ride in my dressage saddle but used to ride Western as a kid. I see lots of Western Trail riders and honestly couldn’t tell if any given horse has a pad plus blanket or a pad integrated into a blanket patterned top.
I have to say I love love love the Navajo inspired patterns on Western pads and blankets. I know as a teen I had a big fleece pad plus a knockoff Navajo blanket, but can’t remember if I went trail riding in the blanket or saved it for our little playday gymkhanas.
I school, I do short trail rides, I trailer out, and I do some back country riding and horse camping (not packing out). Ive done a few dressage tests since I returned to riding.
My feeling is that you should have comfortable quality gear for your daily work, I have one pair of functional white breeches that were a freebie, but I spend money on dark colored full seat breeches to be comfortable and tidy every day.
So I see nothing wrong in putting a blanket over a plain Western pad if it does not alter the saddle fit. Why not? Just make sure it is weather resistant and doesn’t run in the rain!
But if you want to, have at it. Your horse. Do what you want.
If the pad is helping in any way (the extra padding makes the saddle fit better), sure. I only put something pretty overtop for show purposes.
I do because I think it changes the saddle fit (although probably only in a minor way), so I like to keep things as similar as possible…although more serious show riders probably also have a dedicated show saddle…
Of course I also like dressing up my mares and I enjoy the fun of the colours and patterns of western as opposed to dressage!
CHT shared my thoughts —I have one western saddle for two different horses. When I ride the one with predominant withers, he gets an extra blanket over the pad to hold the saddle off his withers. The other horse gets just a pad. Works for me. Both my pad and my blanket are black. I’ve never been much for color schemes or bling –
In the working ranch world everybody does a Navajo over a wool or whatever your favorite shaped pad is… Comfort over fashion, but as long as you’re using a very thin Navajo blanket that doesn’t change the shape of your saddle fit why not?
I personally like the shaped western pads with the wither relief or cut out withers etc and I just saw some fun colored ones that weren’t too expensive (I come from the A circuit hunter jumper world though so expensive is relative… and I often trail ride or school my hunters in a Navajo + half pad because I remember the 1980s )
OMG, a hunter girl’s navajo pads from the 1980s. Later on, I had mine monogrammed. (That was A Thing, y’all.) And now I used those Immortal, monogrammed navajos underneath my expensive felt pad with my western saddle because I want something washable next to the horse.
The one drawback to putting nice wool pads over felt pads (or have them built in) so that the pad can’t be cleaned and reeks. Lots of Western folks I have shared tack rooms with think that’s ok. But I love how my synthetic, tough yestercentury hunter princess navajos mean mine don’t have to.