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How-To Guide

5 Star Saddle Pads are made with natural, 100% pure wool fibers with absolutely NO REUSED/RECOMBED OR SYNTHETIC FIBERS blended into the 5 Star felt.  5 Star Saddle Pads give you 4X more wicking ability which removes more moisture (sweat) and heat from your horse’s back during your rides.

I just cleaned three of my pads with this new 5 Star Saddle pad cleaner. Two were just a little dirty and one was real bad and crusty near the back of the pad. Two just needed spraying and I soaked the real dirty one overnight. After a good rinse and a couple days drying my 5 Star Pads look like new.” ~Larry Garner

Here’s how it works:

5 Star 100% pure wool saddle pads have the ability to remove 4X more moisture and heat from your horse’s back because of the pure wool fibers’ ability to “breath in” (wick) and “breathe out” (release). The “breathe in” process is when the removing of the moisture and heat takes place, and the “breathing out” process is when the 100% fibers release this heat and moisture both during the ride and after your ride.  To explain further – during the ride the 5 Star Pad continues “breathing in” the moisture and heat…more than it can release during the ride for 2 reasons:

1. Your horse is continuing to sweat and put off heat

2. You have a saddle on top of the pad that will prevent a 100% release of this heat and moisture build up during your ride.

In order for your 5 Star Pad to finish the “breathing out” or release process of the heat and moisture that it has wicked or “breathed in” during your long ride, it must have the opportunity to finish this “breathing out” or release process after the ride.  Continuing this process after riding, will allow your 5 Star Pad the ability to wick sweat and remove heat day after day and allow a long and productive pad life that will continue to give your horse the protection he needs and deserves.

To continue the breathing out or release process, it is VERY IMPORTANT to properly air dry the 5 Star Pad after each ride!!!


How to properly air dry a 5 Star Pad after each ride and after washing:

  1. Air dry outside in the sun if possible or in a well ventilated area with plenty of air flow around the pad.
  2. Never air dry a 5 Star Pad laying on its back.
  3. Air dry a 5 Star Pad on a rail or hang it up by the gullet hole.
  4. When air drying a wet 5 star Pad, it is a must that the bottom of the pad is exposed to dry air flow so that it will be able to continue the release process of moisture and heat to the opposite or top side of the saddle pad. This is why it is crucial that you do not store anything on top of the saddle pad during this air drying process. This will allow breathing out (release) a chance to move the moisture and heat out through the top of the saddle pad.
  5. If possible for daily rides, have a 2nd 5 Star pad for day 2 to alternate pads out. This allows the 1st pad’s wool fibers a chance to completely release and dry out.

WARNING: If you live in the southern US or in a region where there is high heat and humidity, it is very important that you follow the washing, air drying and storing instructions.  We have customers in these areas having issues with their pads, because the pads are not being washed, air dried and stored properly.  When the pads are not dried and stored correctly, the breathing process cannot finish the release of the heat and moisture from within the 100% wool fibers.


Washing a 5 Star Pad:

Wash pads with luke warm water or with a PH neutral soap. The warm water will allow the fibers to open up and release salt, sweat and dirt so that the natural fibers can breathe. Washing intervals should be every 40-50 hours of use! Wool fibers breathe in (wick sweat) and breathe out (releases moisture), but for the process to work at its optimal ability, the 100% wool pad needs to be air dried so that it can breathe out (release) the moisture trapped inside the fibers. Breathability is key during and after riding!


Storing your 5 Star Pad:

  1. Never store in an air tight space – be sure you store a 5 Star Pad in a well ventilated area.
  2. Do not store in extremely hot enclosed areas such as a tack compartment in your horse trailer.
  3. Never store a 5 Star Pad on its back.
  4. Always store a 5 Star Pad on a rail, saddle rack, or saddle pad bar. It can also be hung by the gullet hole for storage.
  5. Never store a pad while it is still wet.
  6. Never store a 5 Star Pad with anything on top of it. 5 Star Pads are always breathing, therefore they need to be stored so that nothing can hinder the drying process after riding or washing.
  7. Do not store a 5 Star Pad inside of a plastic bag.



If these steps are not adhered to for a 5 Star Pad, the pad can begin to rot and disintegrate.

If 5 Star Pads are not properly cared for as outline from the very beginning of its use, we cannot stand behind the product. These steps of care are much more critical if the pad customer lives in the southern US or anywhere the temperature and humidity are considered high during the majority of the year. We know if the pad has been properly cared for and washed (no pressure washing) and properly air dried. These pads will last 2,000 plus hours with all of the protection that they have when they are purchased new. We recommend that you never store 5 Star Pads in an air tight storage tack room or hot air tight tack compartment in a horse trailer. Storage of pads works best where air can move at all times. Pads should be stored in a well ventilated area so they can breathe and release moisture. Never store 5 Star Pads with anything on top of the pad that will prevent proper breathing while drying whether drying sweat from a day of riding of drying after being properly washed.

How to choose the right style, size and thickness for your 5 Star Pad:

Style: Choose a pad style that complements your style of riding and your saddle.  If you need assistance, call us at 870-389-6328

Size: Measure your saddle and choose a pad that will have no more than 1-2” of pad showing around your saddle.

Thickness: 1/2” Thick Pad – Great for showing, reining, cutting or pleasure horses when you still need protection yet want to put a colorful blanket over the under pad for show purposes.  3/4” Thick Pad – An excellent all-around saddle pad for those that need a daily exercise training pad and may also need to throw a blanket over it for the show ring.  7/8” Thick Pad – The best all-around use saddle pad recommended for trail riding, team penning, cutting, reining, and barrel racing.   1” Extra Thick Pad – Designed with ranch work in mind, for roping, performance, colt starting or heading to the mountains with lots of gear.  1-1/8” Supreme Roper Pad – Specially engineered for team roping, calf roping, steer stopping, and performance.
There is no need for double padding with a 5 Star Pad:  No more pad or blanket is necessary with the 5 Star Contoured Saddle Pad. Double padding creates movement and slippage. This slippage is usually compensated for by over cinching.  The contoured fit of our pads means a limited need for cinching with minimal saddle movement. Square cut pads do not follow a horse’s back contour. This can result in unnecessary pressure and improper saddle fit which may cause pain and injury to your horse or mule.

How to care for and store your 5 Star Pads and Cinches:

Equipment: 5 Star Cleaning Sponge, Rubber Fingered Curry, or a Flat Rubber Curry.  Prevent dirt and hair build-up on the underside of the pad by brushing occasionally. This keeps old hair from trapping dirt and sweat and embedding it deep into the pad.  To remove embedded hair and dirt, rotate a dry 5 Star cleaning sponge in a circular motion on dry pad. Wipe the hair off of your 5 Star Cleaning Sponge surface with your hand occasionally.  For pads with heavy crusted sweat and dirt, break up these areas with a rubber fingered curry or scrape gently with a dull edged object being careful not to cut the felt. Use a vacuum to remove excess grime and loose material. A brush or a swift slap with your hand may also be used to sweep away dirt and hair.

Washing your 5 Star Pad: Washing is only necessary after 100+ hours of use or when the pad is beginning to feel hard in the pressure point zones (shoulder points & loin areas). Avoid using soap, as you will risk leaving soap residue that might irritate the animal. If you do need to use soap, Woolite ® or your favorite horse shampoo is recommended.  When washing, make every effort to wash pad from the center to the outer edges in all directions.  Simply hang or hold pad by the gullet hole and begin rinsing from the center to outer edges of the pad. Rotate the pad as you rinse so that the dirty water flows outward to all the edges rather than just soaking into the pad. NEVER LAY PAD FLAT TO RINSE, as it only drives dirt and sweat salts into the pad.  This is true with any type of pad.  Use only enough water to dissolve sweat salts and dirt residue so that they will be carried away in rinse water. Then hang the pad by the gullet hole or lay naturally over a rail.  DO NOT LAY PAD ON its BACK TO DRY as it will stretch the leather and pull out the inner lacing. After pad is dry, flex pad in the areas that have not softened. This will fluff and loosen the felt which restores optimum compression protection.

Storing your 5 Star Pad:5 Star Equine Products recommends hanging your pad on a rack or folding and laying it flat on a shelf. NEVER place your saddle on top of your pad on a rack for storage! Your 100% Pure Virgin Wool pad needs a chance to dry and breathe in between rides. This simple method of storage will prolong the life of your pad and ensure many years of protection for your horse’s back!

100% All Natural Cinch and Breast Collar Care and Cleaning: Remove dirt and grit before or after each use. Rinse in water if needed, then air-dry. Only use mild horse safe shampoo to wash. NEVER BLEACH, it will destroy the fiber’s protective layer. Try to store clear of pets!

Measure your horse from the center of the underside of his chest in the girth area. Bring the tape up to just below the widest part of his ribcage (about 4″ above and behind the elbow). Multiply this measurement by two and you will have a good idea of what size cinch your horse needs. Our Cinch sizes are crafted in 2-inch increments. A horse between 12 and 14 hands would most likely need a 22 inch cinch, 14 – 15 hands would need a 24 or 26, depending on how deep-bodied he is from withers to center of girth (or how chubby!), and then 28-30 for more round horses in the 15 hand range and 32-34 for large 16 – 18 hand horses. It is rare for a horse to need a cinch longer than 34, unless they are extremely large in stature. A horse requiring a cinch under 20 would be very small, indeed.

The cinch is measured from the inside outer ring of the flat brass buckle, which will hug the horse, not be bulky and not press uncomfortably on the exterior abdominal veins*, which carry blood flow from areas of the abdomen to the heart and lungs. Note: it is unwise to over-tighten your cinch, and your saddles should be well balanced and secure without doing so. Over-tightening the cinch is uncomfortable for your horse in the buckle/latigo area, plus puts undue pressure on the wither area. If you need to tighten more securely for extreme maneuvers such as cutting or roping, please do so for as short a time period as possible. In our experience, a shorter girth will actually help with saddle “roll” more than a longer cinch will. If you choose to use a cinch buckle “chafe” or cover, it is important to keep it clean of dried sweat and dirt, or it can be abrasive and cause cinch sores. 5Star western cinches are woven of natural mohair, which cleans easily and should remain soft and comfortable to the horse. It is always important, of course, for the rider to make sure that the cinch is lying flat against the horse’s body and has no wrinkles or folds, and that the horse’s skin is not folded nor pinched anywhere!

Cinch Fit: Is your cinch the right size for your horse? When you unsaddle your horse after a ride, if you notice a swollen/puffy place where your western cinch ring was located, it’s not a good idea to ignore it, even if it goes away in a few minutes. Swelling in the area along your horse’s side where your cinch buckle was located can be an indication that your cinch is too long for that horse and usually pulled too tight. Over tightening may be related to a saddle that does not fit the horse, or to a rider who braces hard in the stirrups for balance and worries about horizontal “roll” of the saddle. This situation is detrimental to the horse as well as the rider and can result in sore backs for both, as well as damage to the “heart girth” area of the horse’s body. Behavioral problems in the horse are a natural phenomenon resulting from such discomfort.

Swelling can result from pressure on the exterior vein, which is a major vessel carrying blood to the heart and lungs. This vein follows a route from the abdomen along the outside of the rubs toward the shoulder, behind which it loops upward to pass behind the shoulder blade (scapula).

On the horse’s side, just behind the front leg, there is a flat area. The vein loops upward above this area, and that is where the cinch ring should be positioned. Positioning the hard cinch ring directly on top of the vein adds pressure that traps blood, stresses the vessels, can harm the capillaries and result in bruising pressure damage to the soft tissue.  5Star has an assortment of different brass and stainless steel buckles. They are flat backed to disburse pressure better than the round ring type. However they still need to be placed correctly, not directly on the major vein.

When roping or in extreme riding conditions, a cinch will need to be tightened to the extreme for longer than necessary. Even though the cinch may be of a correct size for the horse, the latigo crosses the external abdominal vein and can block blood flow to cause vascular damage and bruising of the muscles and soft tissue.