Freedman’s Low Back Memory Foam Pads: A Possible Answer for Saddle Stability on Horses with Lordosis

White Papers Freedman’s Low Back Memory Foam Pads: A Possible Answer for Saddle Stability on Horses with Lordosis

Horses with lordosis, commonly and colloquially referred to as ‘swaybacked,’ often present a unique challenge to saddle fit, rider position, and the question of whether the horse can even be ridden comfortably and safely. Depending on the severity of the condition, and with an individual assessment of each case from a consulting veterinarian, it is possible to ride these horses with proper specialty equipment.

Studies show that filling the low area, or the ‘well,’ of the horse’s back with a ‘filler-‘type pad can bring better stability to a saddle. The result of this filler pad is a stable platform to place the saddle on. At Freedman’s, we have designed two of these filler pads.

Lordosis. What is it? Why is it important to understand?

In semi-scientific terms, lordosis, or a swayed back, refers to an abnormal curvature of the spine characterized by an exaggerated inward bend, primarily located in the lumbar region. The lumbar region is comprised of the lower part of the spine, and lordosis manifests when there is an excessive concavity or a u-shaped curve in this area.

This abnormality of the back can affect many breeds of horses, including the American Saddlebred, Morgan and Arabian horse. The condition arises from various factors, including genetic predisposition, conformational abnormalities, or environmental influence, such as poor nutrition or improper exercise regimens, during important growth phases.

Understanding lordosis and how it can affect your horses’ performance and comfort is crucial before undertaking the task of outfitting them with suitable tack. Mild cases may not significantly affect a horse’s ability to comfortably carry a rider, but more severe cases could potentially impact back strength, and therefore the ability of a horse to be under saddle.

An equine healthcare professional should be consulted for proper evaluation before riding horses where it is thought that a case of lordosis could be diagnosed.

How Freedman’s can help!

If your horse has been cleared to ride, you’re probably presented with a few challenges when it comes to tack. Saddle fit and proper positioning are an important issue to address in these low-backed horses. At Freedman’s, we’ve designed and engineered two saddle pads in collaboration with Acavallo, that can help in creating a system that is comfortable for the horse and safe for the rider.

Covered in a non-slip gel/silicon material, Freedman’s Low Back Memory Foam Gel Pad and Extreme Extra Low Back Memory Foam Gel Pad stick to the horses’ back with the gel/silicone covering. The memory foam interior helps to fill in the void of the back, creating a more leveled platform for the resulting saddle pad and saddle to be placed on.

These low back pads should be placed in the well of the back and used in collaboration with the Freedman’s Acavallo Memory Foam Gel/Silicone Pad. When done so, the low back pads will “stick” to the silicone of this second pad, creating a non-slip, level foundation for the saddle. A Freedman’s cut-back saddle can then be placed on the layered, two-pad system and is stabilized by the silicone on the top pad. This stabilization of the saddle brings many benefits, including greater comfort for the horse and the desired ‘rider-ready- position for a more level and directional ride.  

What is the difference between Freedman’s two low-back pads?

Both pads are for horses with low backs. The Low Back Memory Foam Gel Pad measures 3.5 inches thick and is 19.5 inches long and 14 inches wide. This pad is for low-backed horses, but not those with soft backs or extreme cases of lordosis.

However, the Extreme Extra Low Back Memory Foam Gel Pad is designed for horses with truly soft backs and extreme inward curvature of the spine. This pad measures 4.5 inches thick and is 18 inches long and 14 inches wide.

Please refer to our diagram to see the differences in back shapes and which low back pad may be most suitable for your horse.

Both pads should be used in combination with Freedman’s Acavallo Memory Foam Gel/Silicone Pad for the best outcome of stability. When used in conjunction with Freedman’s complete saddle system, including the Stabil-Flex Girth, these two low back pads can make a huge difference in a horses’ performance.

Read more about Freedman’s Saddle System here.