Monday, July 6, 2009

Saddle Panels - Part 3: Comparing & Adjusting Panels

Comparing & Adjusting Wool Stuffed vs. Felt Foam Panels
Should the panels need adjustment to better fit a specific horse, there are some differences in the process necessary to make them. With the felt foam panel, the panel is removed from the saddle and partially disassembled. Additional wool felt or foam is added to the panel. The panel is re-assembled and re-attached to the saddle.
The Wool panel adjustment is considerably easier. More of the loose wool material is stuffed into the panel (with a special tool) as needed through little stuffing slits in the shell of the panel. The saddle does not need to be taken apart to make the adjustments. This adjustment, however, should only be made by a good, qualified saddler as it is very easy to unevenly stuff the panels unless you know what you are doing.

At Beval Saddlery, our saddlers are experienced with all types of saddle construction. We are very comfortable working with either foam or wool stuffed panels and use only the finest natural wool flock or natural latex foam to make these adjustments. As always, if you have any questions about saddle fitting or adjustments, please contact one of our saddlers.

Both types of panels are constructed quite differently and they are both made from a different combination of materials. Likewise, these panel types are adjusted differently. This does not necessarily mean that one is better than the other, but they both offer different options as far as fit and adjustability. Hopefully, this has given you a little insight into the differences between the two types of panels.

If you have any questions or comments related to this topic, please post your comments here on our blog. Visit for more information on our repair & saddlery services as well as custom tailoring.

Until next time, happy riding!


  1. Hello,

    I'm not quite sure how to post this, but I have a saddle fitting question that I hoped you might be able to advise me on.

    I have long owned an integrated Butet deep seat, which I love and has served me and my horse quite well for many years. In the last year, however, my horse has gained some weight during a layup, and my saddle fitter told me that the tree was now too narrow on him. Horrified, I recently purchased a wide tree used Butet (not integrated, flat seat). I have been riding in this saddle, but worry it may be *too* wide now that he's starting to fit up again. The balance is pretty good and the seat looks more level (the older saddle was a bit tipped back), but the saddle sits a little low over the horse's wither and rocks sometimes when he's really moving freely through his back. It doesn't rub or pinch in any obvious way, though, and he's shown absolutely no signs of discomfort.

    The horse is a large guy, but has a fairly unremarkable build: average shoulder, moderate withers, straight back, symmetrical side-to-side. He's had a wonderful, sound back as long as I've had him.

    What might you recommend? I'd love to have a Beval rep look at the saddle and horse, but there's no one close to me. Do you think I should try to pad this saddle up? Or does it sound like the fit problem is related to panel configuration vs. tree width? How will I know when/if I can return to my original saddle?

    I can arrange to have the original saddle fitter back for another evaluation if I need to, but I just spent a lot of my annual horsey budget on the new saddle, so I've been reluctant to call her out again.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. Thank you for contacting us! Since this is a very specific case, it would be best for us to speak with you directly. Depending on where you are located, we may be able to accomodate you or recommend a saddle fitter in your area. Regardless, we would certainly like to speak with you to get more information and to ensure all your questions are answered. Please contact us directly at 800-524-0136 or send us an email with your name and contact information and we will be happy to arrange a call. We look forward to speaking with you soon!