Have you ever had this question? If so, don’t be embarrassed! I used to wonder what the difference between a baby pad and a square saddle pad was.
A baby pad is a thin pad that is often used under a regular saddle pad or a half pad. The purpose is to keep the underside of the regular saddle pad or half pad clean. A baby pad doesn’t have much to it, so it shouldn’t be used by itself under a saddle. It doesn’t provide any cushioning or support to the horse’s back and could be quite uncomfortable! Also, because a baby pad is much thinner than a regular saddle pad, it is easier to wash. They come in conservative colors like navy, hunter green, black, and white. You can also get some that are more flashy at SmartPak or Dover Saddlery, and Ogilvy allows you to completely customize your baby pad with body color, binding, piping, and embroidery.
If you’re using a saddle on your horse, a regular square (or dressage) saddle pad is the appropriate, comfortable option. You can use a baby pad underneath the regular saddle pad to keep it clean, but it isn’t required. You can also use a half pad or other special pad to help saddle fit over the regular saddle pad. These pads also come in conservative and funky colors. Some pads come with special moisture-wicking material on the underside as well to make it more comfortable for your horse in the summer.
So in short, use a baby pad to keep your other pads clean! It’s not comfortable or protective enough to be used alone on your horse’s back!
This may seem like a pretty elementary post, but some riders really don’t know what a baby pad is used for! Don’t be embarrassed – we all started somewhere!