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AskHQ: Flocking

Q: What are the different kinds of flocking in saddles?

A: There are several types of flocking that are commonly used in saddles. Below are the main types:

  • White wool has long fibre and is softer and settles more quickly than other kinds of wool. However, because it settles quickly it needs more regular checks and more regular top ups than the other variants.
  • Grey or brown wool is another very popular long fibre flock and tends to settle more slowly.
  • Synthetic wool is another useful option, but like white wool the saddle is going to need more frequent checks and more regular top-ups. Synthetic wool should never be used with pure wool.
  • Air flocking generally refers to a system of four air bags that provide a soft, flexible and even bearing surface. The air system is inserted into the panel and gives the saddle a flexible layer of shock-absorbing air. These bags can each be individually adjusted at any time.
  • Many saddles nowadays, in addition to flocking, have a panel lining. Materials used for the lining include foam or felt, which all help to provide a softer feel for your horse.

Saddles should be checked every six months, or whenever you notice a drop in the performance of your horse. However, they generally only need reflocking every two years, depending on the level of use. During the two years the flocking that is present in the saddle can be redistributed, removed or added to at your regular saddle fits, but by the end of two years the flocking is normally compacted and needs replacing entirely.