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From the Archives: Erin Rhea Show Pads

From the February 2019 Issue

Erin Rhea Stubblefield started designing custom show pads as a side job and hobby.

“I wanted to find a way to have a professional look in the show pen without breaking the bank and to allow others to do the same,” she said. 

“Showing horses is expensive enough as it is, I believe to look and feel your best in the show pen shouldn’t require the same amount of money as a house payment. I talked with a few friends who had the some connections and I quickly started designing my own show pads!”

western horse show pads

The Martinsville, Virginia native finds inspiration everywhere.

“Traveling has created quite a few saddle pad designs. Inspiration has come from a hammock in Yelapa, Mexico and also from a Monk’s robe in Tibet. I’ve designed pads with the inspiration of my childhood home as well as friends and family,” she said. 

“Their names usually reflect what inspired me when I designed them.” 

Erin draws on her inspiration to start the designs, drawing on her iPad either by hand or with a stylus.

“Sometimes it starts with a color scheme I saw and other times I just sit down and think ‘What colors would I never personally put together?’ to get myself thinking outside of the box. My messy sketches then get matched with yarn colors, and then hand woven on a large loom,” she said. 

western show pad

“Within a week, they can go from my mind, to iPad, to the back of a horse.” 

Erin has created several fun designs, which makes choosing her favorite a difficult task.

“‘Mermaids Have More Fun’ will always be one of my original favorites. I kicked off my business with that one. I’m also really happy with the ‘Queen of Hearts’ design from my Ranch Pad Collection. It was one of my very first Ranch Pads made and creating that line opened up my business to many more styles of riding including cutting and working cowhorses,” she said. 

“And my most recently created favorite is probably ‘The Ashley’, which is from my Pleasure Collection but it’s natural tones could easily allow a customer to use it for both the Pleasure or Ranch classes.”

The ultimate mark of a proud maker, Erin uses and loves her own pads.

“While there are plenty of other beautiful pads out there, I use mine and only mine in the show pen.”


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