Also known as a saddle pad, a numnah is an essential component of horse equipment. It is a pad, blanket or piece of fabric placed underneath the saddle.
What is a Numnah?
Referred to as saddle pads in America and as numnahs in the UK, they have been used for almost as long as people have been riding horses. They have been considered a crucial part of equestrian equipment for centuries. Some are a single thickness while others are designed to be folded for the perfect fit.
The use of a numnah, or saddle pad is closely associated with the western saddle. They are usually made from sheepskin/wool, cotton or synthetic material which have similar properties.
Saddle pads or numnahs are generally thicker than saddle blankets often sporting layers of felt or foam.
A numnah’s primary function is to keep the horse comfortable and to protect the horse while riding. It absorbs sweat and acts as a cushion between the saddle and the horse’s back while also preventing the saddle from slipping. The padding is designed to absorb some of the shock during riding in order to reduce fatigue felt by the horse’s back muscles.
How to Use a Numnah
A numnah is designed to fit snuggly underneath a saddle. Its application is simple and if you find it slips you may need a differently sized or shaped numnah. Alternatively, you could make use of straps or Velcro to ensure the numnah is kept in place for the duration of every ride. This will help to further reduce saddle slip.
Numnahs can be used as a way to improve the fit of an ill-fitting saddle. If it cannot be rectified by the numnah it may be time to consider buying a new saddle, but be sure to take the numnah along when doing so.