Find out everything about alpaca wool in equestrian sports
FAQ: Alpaca fleece saddle pads and saddle pads
Alpaca fleece saddle pads and pads - find out here why they offer a highly functional alternative to conventional lambskin saddle pads and are also the optimal solution for extremely sensitive horses!
Our alpaca wool comes directly from Peru. We only work with Fair Trade certified retailers.
The wool fibers arrive in Europe raw and unprocessed. They are cleaned and prepared for further processing into a uniform fleece. The fleece is created in a partner factory in Switzerland. Here the fine fibers are woven into our fleece. In recent years we have been researching what floor density and height is the optimal composition for a saddle pad.
The alpacas live in their natural environment in the mountains of Peru. There are many alpaca farms there, where the raw material alpaca wool is obtained by shearing 1-2 times per year. The special thing compared to lambskin products: The animals (which have a life expectancy of 15-20 years) are only sheared to make our products and can then continue to enjoy their life in the meadows.
The two fibers differ in the origin of the animals, the fiber structure, the diameter, the insulation properties, the moisture management, the allergenic potential, the durability and ultimately the price.
Both alpaca wool and alpaca fleece (used for the saddle pads and saddle pads) offer benefits in terms of comfort, moisture management, temperature regulation, padding and shock absorption, durability and hypoallergenic properties. The main benefits are the natural padding of the alpaca fleece, which helps distribute pressure evenly across the horse's back. This can relieve pressure points as well as the extreme breathability of alpaca wool. It allows air to circulate between the horse's back and the saddle, thus preventing excessive heat build-up and sweating. Read the details of each property here .
The most important difference and advantage of alpaca fleece is that such a saddle pad has significantly less height than a lambskin pad. The rider sits closer to the horse and its movement without sacrificing shock-absorbing and thermoregulating properties. An optimally adapted saddle still fits perfectly and does not become too tight despite using an alpaca fleece saddle cloth or alpaca fleece pad.
Particularly suitable for...
The exceptional softness of alpaca fleece ensures greater comfort for the horse and reduces discomfort and irritation.
The moisture-wicking properties ensure that the girth or saddle area stays dry and minimizes sweat formation that can cause skin problems.
Alpaca fleece provides improved air circulation, reducing heat and moisture build-up, which can be beneficial in preventing or treating skin problems.
It does not contain lanolin, making it hypoallergenic and reducing the risk of irritation or allergic reactions in sensitive horses. In addition, it provides additional padding and cushioning, distributing pressure more evenly and reducing the risk of friction, chafing or pressure points that can worsen skin condition.
Scuff marks are areas in a horse's coat where the hair appears rubbed, worn or damaged.
They can be caused by friction or pressure from ill-fitting tack, blankets or equipment. They can also arise from friction on rough surfaces or from excessive scratching due to itching or skin conditions.
To avoid chafing, pay attention to the correct fit and adjustment of saddlery and equipment as well as skin-friendliness and the material that lies directly on the (sweating, open-pored) skin.
Chafing has been proven to provide cushioning, softness, moisture management, protection and breathability through the use of alpaca fleece products such as saddle pads, saddle pads or girth protectors. However, proper fit, adjustment and general care are just as crucial to preventing chafing and keeping the horse's coat and skin healthy.
Horses can be allergic or sensitive to lanolin, a waxy substance found in sheep's wool. Lanolin allergies in horses can manifest as skin irritation, itching, rashes or hives when they come into contact with wool products or substances containing lanolin.
If a horse cannot tolerate sheep's wool (=lambskin products), it is important to avoid wool products containing lanolin, such as lambskin saddle pads or blankets. Instead, alternative materials that are hypoallergenic or less sensitive should be considered. Examples include synthetic materials such as alpaca wool, neoprene, polyester or fleece made from non-wool fibers.
It should be noted that every horse can have different sensitivity and react differently. If you suspect that your horse is allergic or sensitive to lanolin or sheep's wool, it is best to contact a veterinarian or equine dermatologist who can assess the situation and make a clear diagnosis.
Saddle tenderness in horses can cause discomfort, pain, soreness and skin irritation if left untreated. It can also cause behavioral problems and affect performance. Alpaca fleece saddle pads can help in these cases by providing cushioning, pressure distribution and softness that relieves discomfort and reduces the risk of soreness and skin problems. The moisture-wicking properties of alpaca fleece keep the saddle area dry and minimize sweat-related discomfort. The breathability of alpaca fleece promotes air circulation, preventing heat and moisture build-up. In addition, alpaca fleece is hypoallergenic and therefore suitable for horses with sensitivities. The natural properties of alpaca fleece, combined with proper saddle fit and monitoring, contribute to the horse's comfort, well-being and optimal performance.
Cotton meets alpaca wool
Cotton is highly breathable, allowing air to circulate and heat to dissipate. This helps prevent excessive sweating and heat buildup. Cotton has excellent moisture-absorbing properties that efficiently wick sweat away from the horse's skin. Cotton is a soft and pleasant material on the horse's skin. Since it is a natural fiber, cotton saddle pads are considered hypoallergenic. Additionally, cotton is a very durable fiber with the ability to withstand regular use and washing without losing its functionality or shape. This makes saddle pads made of cotton durable and reliable.
Cotton can be optimally combined or layered with other materials to provide additional padding or support when needed. By combining the moisture-wicking and breathable properties of alpaca fleece with the moisture-absorbing and soft properties of cotton, this combination provides optimal comfort, temperature regulation and moisture management for the horse's back during riding or other activities. The synergistic benefits of alpaca fleece and cotton make this combination an ideal choice for saddle pads that promote horse well-being, performance and overall satisfaction.
Care and cleaning
First of all, it is important to emphasize that alpaca fleece is naturally antibacterial and does not need to be washed as frequently as saddle pads made from synthetic materials. The alpaca fleece saddle pad or pad should be folded and placed in the machine with the fleece on the inside so that the cotton side is on the outside when the drum rotates. Before washing for the first time, the saddle pad should be soaked in cold water for 48 hours to prevent the pure cotton from shrinking. The saddle pad can then be washed at 30 degrees on a wool cycle with appropriate mild detergent. The alpaca fleece is usually almost dry again when it comes out of the machine and can be fluffed up a bit with your fingers. Under no circumstances should it be combed with a brush with a hook, as the rods can get caught in the woven structure.
Under no circumstances should the fleece be combed, as the sticks can get caught in the woven fleece and damage it. Instead, you can use a (clean) brush with natural fibers, for example, to brush the fleece in a similar way to the horse itself and thus brush out the loose horse hair. Only when the fleece has been freed from hair should you wash it.
Cotton fabrics can be effectively cleaned in the washing machine at a temperature of around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). At this temperature, the detergent and water can effectively loosen and remove dirt, oils and stains from the cotton fabric.
Especially for very sensitive and allergic horses, the saddle pad should be as germ-free as possible. A 100% natural, chemical-free solution helps here: ironing with steam! The pure cotton can easily come into contact with heat. Of course, the hot iron should not touch the alpaca wool.