could an anti slip pad cause white hairs and a friction burn?

Nov 7, 2014
I have a saddle that was fitted by a master saddler who was well recommended by instructor and mates. Saddler recommended I ride with an Acavallo grip pad as saddles slip forward on pony and all saddles move to the right with me a bit. The pony's back has filled out and possibly a bit to late I had the saddler come out to widen it. Fine so far but... Pony subsequently started to get a little irate when being saddled and I noticed white hairs have come through where saddle points sit, but only on the left hand side. I occasionally get on from the ground but mainly use a mounting block.

I called the saddler who came out within a few days at their own expense and said saddle was a bit too wide adjusted it again and changed the girth straps for the right hand has a balance strap and the left only has the first two. I also attended a pallatise practioner who has straightned me up.

saddle moves to one side and forward a tad with the gel pad and if I get off hairs are ruffled and pony not happy, but if I use a cotton numnah the saddle stays in place hairs are unruffled and pony is happier.

Could the pad have created a friction burn as if Im twisting to try and even saddle up it may have been twisting the skin. I don't want to change saddles and it seems to fit so at a bit of a loss really!


Equine Karaoke Queen
Apr 15, 2012
Yes, it's why I personally wouldn't use one. I'm sure they work for some horses but I'd try to find an alternative. My saddler says he'd really only recommend a thin cotton pad under a saddle (especially if that was what it was fitted with - any extra padding will change the fit slightly).


Well-Known Member
Jun 21, 2000
I think they can. Really if you need an anti-slip pad under your saddle then the saddle doesn't fit correctly. We have a saddler on here who might be able to offer more advice SBloom I think her username is.

My own saddler has said the same as Rubic's about really there should only be a thin cotton numnah underneath the saddle.


Learning all the time
Jul 18, 2005
North west
The White hairs on the left side could be caused by pressure from the saddle "hanging on" so to speak - if it is prone to slipping right, then her withers on the left will be what stops it.

That would be the most logical answer, I doubt it would be from getting on or tightness as you would expect that to be more even pressure :)

Anti slips have their place - but they can be as much of a problem as a solution - they can cause issues as the saddle slips with them and then gets stuck there - usually with the hair forces against the way it usually lays.


Well-Known Member
Sep 14, 2009
Yes, absolutely it could. It will grip by pulling the hair. Am AMAZED that a master saddler would recomend one - no actually, I am not amazed having seen the saddle that a master saddler put on my friends cob many years ago!

I would agree that a thin cotton high wither numnah is all you should use, or a prolite pad if necessary if the horse has lost weight.

Saddling is a nightmare!!
Nov 7, 2014
It is really bizarre. I rode her tonight with her mattes cotton saddle pad and the saddle. Took it off and all hair was neatly in place, smooth and unruffled. With the acavallo pad it looked like some one had frantically scratched and twisted her fur! Some tiny bits of hair have also pulled out. I seriously am now convinced the pad is the cause of the marks and not the saddle. Very odd! Bless her she quite happily trundled around in the dark in it in the menage with howling wind, showers and just a miners lamp for light.


Well-Known Member
Sep 14, 2009
You should be very happy you have a good pony. I suspect I would have been buried it the pad had caused white marks and ruffled hair. He won't even tolerate wool - or the gold standard, sheepskin!!!


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
My mare gets a sore back from grippy pads, I won't use them on her now.
If she is built really downhill causing saddles to slip forwards a crupper might be the way to go, or perhaps a shimmed pad to level the front up but that would need fitting by your saddler as extra padding would alter the width.


Active Member
I am not a big fan of grippy pads. It is likely that the grip pad is affecting the fit of your saddle and making it unstable, if it lifts it at the front (as thicker pads do in the vast majority of cases) then it can make it move forwards as the weight goes onto the cantle and the front loses contact and rides up the neck.

I have been fitting tricky, wide flat backed horses for 6 years and never even considered a crupper yet!
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Reactions: Jessey
Nov 7, 2014
Thanks all for commenting. Steph I agree that the pad changed the fit of the saddle. I don't know why they suggested it as the saddle fit was tested with out it for fit by them and the pad sold to me just before the saddler left. Pony used to be downhill build and has narrower shoulders than her barrel and a forward girth groove. She has now evened up in front but as we have to ride down a VERY steep hill to leave the yard or the ménage most saddles moved forwards. This one didn't but with the pad there seems to have been some kind of torque effect so it moved back and forth a bit and to one side until my posture issue was sorted. I suppose it was like having your hair twirled around and pulled out by the roots. Poor pony I think as she wasn't handled till 6year old she assumes every thing humans do is weird/may involve some kind of discomfort so puts up with a lot. Old boy would have decked me pdq!


Grumpy old nag
Aug 5, 2009
Not much to add than what others have suggested. But I do feel your pain, or rather your pony's pain! It took me three years and several saddles, a lot of wasted money, to find a trustworthy saddler who fitted and sold me a saddle that doesn't slip to one side, move forward or cause my horse or me any discomfort.

The saddler told me that I should only ever use a plain thin cotton saddle cloth, and if I feel I need something else to keep the saddle in place, then my saddle no longer fits my horse and/or me. I hope you can get it sorted, your pony sound like a lovely forgiving sort.:)
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