In this month's blog, Tricia talks numnahs and it’s a subject she is keen to share her thoughts on!
What do we use numnahs for? To keep the saddle clean, to pin our number and flag on? Anything else? If our saddle fits well there shouldn’t be much more of a job for them.
Just browsing online for a few minutes, you'll soon see numerous designs - all created with a purpose in mind. The thing to remember is that, as with anything bespoke, the benefits of use become bespoke too.
The same is true for us humans. For example, stretch jeans were created to be more comfortable but I find they look baggy really quickly on me. Velcro straps on children's shoes replaced fiddly shoelaces but did it stop our children learning to tie a bow? If you choose a numnah that was designed to solve a problem how do you know what that problem was? Does it actually make another problem?
It doesn't mean it will work for you or that is it even right for you and your horse.
The case I am trying to make is that people need to think about what they buy.
Teaming the wrong numnah with a perfectly well-fitting saddle could result in slipping and movement. A saddle needs to sit still - numnahs made of silky material can cause saddles to slip. Thick quilted saddlecloths will increase movement and may affect the balance and cause instability. Adding a gel pad or fluffy under the saddle on top of the new numnah doesn't automatically solve the problem either; it may exacerbate it.
Another numnah issue that concerns me is the strap we put the girth straps/billets through. Have an intelligent look at how they line up. If you have to pull the numnah to the guide what affect does this have? Pull the front down onto the wither? Drag the numnah back? Pull it forward so its tight behind the saddle?
Where are the D’s on your saddle? We use these to attach the numnah to the saddle. If you have long straps half way down the numnah was made for a double flap saddle and to be held on by the billets not the D. Short tabs at the top are for the D’s.
Think about the embellishment and detail on your saddlecloth. Some have 'design' features which are going to affect the fit of your saddle and others which may interfere with the balance of the saddle.
The 'Matchy Matchy' craze is fun but before you end up with a tack box full of saddlecloths and an uncomfortable horse with a sore back, think about the design of the saddlecloth and speak to your saddler before getting that credit card out!
You can read Tricia’s comment on juggling life with horses in another of her latest journal.