Which material for pannels?
The choice varies according the manufacturers.
At The Sellerie La Garrocha, depending on the manufacturer, you can choose between horsehair, wool or latex pannels.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each material?
Horsehair and wool pannels make rather thick at first but they have the advantage of gradually and according to their use, settle, and eventually well molded to the shape of the horse's back through the appropriate the weight of the saddle. This kind of padding is recommended for young horses whose back is in training or for horses whose back is a bit difficult to dress.They can be used for dressage, because despite a period of adjustment and settlement, settling once completed padding becomes much thinner. It settles quickly but any saddler or saddle-fitter can easily add hair or wool when the need arises. Please note that it is easier to find a profesionnal who works with wool. The horsehair is the oldest material used for centuries, still used today primarily by tradition.
Latex pannels allows you to make finer and therefore from the first day, near the horse. But this type of padding is more suitable for a horse back already formed ... It is therefore important that the opening angle of the saddle arcade is correct because tolerance for adaptation is less. Latex is the newest material. It does not deform, the advantage is that it does not need padding, the inconvenient is that does not mold itself to the shape of the horse's back and so if the shape of the pannel is not suitable to the horse's back, you have to redo the entire pannel ... or change the saddle ...
To summarize: If the horse has a good back and seat properly adapted to his back, the latex is a very good choice due to its closer proximity to the first day. If the horse is young or still in evolution or difficult to dress, it is more prudent to choose wool or horsehair, even if the rider will feel at the beginning of removal, but will fade with use when padding will settle gradually and adapt to the shape of the horse's back.