Saddle panels - which type?

Bounty

Well-Known Member
Joined
24 February 2006
Messages
4,231
Location
Gloucestershire
My head is spinning! Trying to research potential new saddles for Feemy and am a little bewildered.

So far have come across:

Leather panels with wool flock, latex and wool flock, and latex and cair/flair,

Also serge panels with wool flock. I know these are brilliant, but is there a downside? I'm presuming there must be or more saddles would have them?


So - pros and cons of the different types please!

Am thinking the latex might increase sweatiness under the saddle? From what I've heard Cair isn't much cop, but is the flair any better?

Told you my head was spinning, LOL!
 

toomanyhorses26

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 October 2007
Messages
2,652
think the serge panels take a little more looking after but mould better to the horse back and are warmer so better for cold backed horses and some are less aesthically pleasing and can be little more expensive/harder to find as they are rarer compared to totally leather saddles. Leather saddles are easier to obtain/sell/maintain etc but don't always help a horse with back issues - an old horse of mine was hopeless in a leather saddle but was fab in a serge panelled saddle which was about 40 years old!! Only expireience I have had of cair was on a very round pony who would have been a nightmae o fit anyway but I don't think cair particulary helped or made things worse and the pony ended up in a normal woll flocked saddle after 6 months anyway - when I was looking around for saddles a while back a user called cbanglo was really helpful and answer all of my numpty questions about saddles that I managed to send him/her and cleared up alot of points I had. I stand to be corrected on the points above as these are just from personal expirience
 

TPO

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 November 2008
Messages
4,896
Location
Kinross
Saddle Company saddles are a popular make that have a serge underside. I've got a "cold-backed" (no on can find any pain) mare so going down this route with her while she's being restarted.

I think Flair is preferable to Cair in this country. Cair was designed in Oz and does it's job over there. It's slightly colder over here
and Cair solidifies in the cold making it rock hard when it's cold and that can alter the fit/horses comfort. I'm not sure if that could be avoided by keeping the saddle in the house or somewhere warmer than the average tack room. I'm sure someone better qualified than me will be along to explain it better.

Good luck with your hunt, it's a minefield!
 

flyingfeet

Well-Known Member
Joined
16 March 2006
Messages
8,073
Location
South West
Well here's my thoughts:

Serge panels - great if you don't use a numnah, designed to absorb sweat, but seriously who doesn't use a numnah??? Good on stock saddles, but saddle company tends to make amateur saddles (sorry!)

Latex panels - Never need restuffing, but then hard to change the shape. If they fit your horse then great. You cannot tell they are latex and with a numnah it makes little difference to the horse. Latex you can push in an does have a little give (my pessoa did)

Foam panels - like latex trying to provide a panel that doesn't need re-stuffing. Hard to tell apart from latex

Cair panels - Its actually quite hard to tell where they put the air bags. Didn't seem tp make much difference, but certainly no side affects. Depends whether the bates tress fits your horse.

Flair panels - they are squishy and in theory must be more comfortable. Offer the widest range of adjustment. However beware poorly retro fitted saddles and be aware that wow's are marmite and take some time to get right!

I am basing the above on my Saddle company dressage saddle and stock saddles (serge), pessoa saddle (latex), Henri de rivel (foam), Bates close contact and stock saddle (cair) and wows (flair)... I've been through a lot of saddles!
 

jnb

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 November 2005
Messages
2,278
I had a show saddle with latex panels which looked fab (very close fitting and aesthetically pleasing) but I could not get it to sit right on my cob - it was very downhill.
My next show saddle I had wool flocked leather panels with gussets - this helps when adjusting the saddle so you can fit the saddle a lot more accurately and can ensure the saddle is completely level.
The latex ones there is no adjustment - you can only really adjust the fitting by widening/narrowing the front of the saddle and this can cause tilting uphill or downhill.
Probably haven't explained it very well. though
 

CBAnglo

Well-Known Member
Joined
13 February 2008
Messages
3,238
Serge panels are not actually meant to used without a numnah - the sweat actually is absorbed into the wool and can affect the flocking.

There are many makes that have serge panels. They are really soft and mould much better to the horse unlike rock hard leather panels or worse, anything to do with air.

The only downside is that you really need to make sure that the person reflocking the panels does it properly and that the flocking is properly regulated - otherwise you can stretch the panels out of shape and they do not shrink back.

With Fia I would be looking for something with shortish panels as she is so short backed! And probably a flattish seat and decent flaps to take up your long legs!
 

ihatework

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 September 2004
Messages
17,823
My thoughts on the matter!

Serge panels - make saddle lighter, absorb sweat, mould well to horses back. Downside is that the internal flock becomes lumpy much more quickly (due to absorbing sweat) and you must keep a very close eye on this or else you will get sore spots. Total reflocks every couple of years not uncommon.

Leather panels, wool flock - gives good fit/adjustability. Can still go lumpy and give pressure points. Not always as close contact, although there are exceptions.

Foam/Latex - give good close contact, never go lumpy, mould to horses back. Downside is that they are unadjustable and so either fit or they don't. Can use pads to adjust mind.

Air - Cair and Flair are pretty different. Flair can be adjusted but you need a flair saddler to do this and have seen saddles go flat/loose air and can mean more saddler visits. However works very well on some horses. Cair can't be adjusted. Early models had issues with the bags but think the more recent models are improved.

I've just bought a new model pessoa. It has a foam bottom layer and a flock upper layer so I'm hoping to get the best of both worlds.

Having recently tried lots of different saddles, I have to say that in general the foam/latex types did give a much nicer feel
 

SpottedCat

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 May 2007
Messages
11,668
Agree with Ben and Jerrys but just to add, foam/latex close contacts can give a 'sucking' feeling onto the back of the horse, which is apparently not good for some horses.
 

Bounty

Well-Known Member
Joined
24 February 2006
Messages
4,231
Location
Gloucestershire
Thanks all


From all of your experience I'm gathering the latex/foam will be the thing to aim for, in the long run. Doesn't sound as though it would be ideal so a changing 4yo though, so will keep it in mind for her 'grown up' saddle when she hits 6!

In the mean time will aim for a latex/flock compromise, or stick the the traditional wool flock with leather or serge.
 
Top