A horse’s saddle pad is one of the most important pieces of equipment in a horse’s tack collection. It keeps the saddle from rubbing and causing sores, protects your horse’s back and provides a barrier between the saddle and your horse’s skin.
Finding the right saddle pad for your horse can be a difficult process. There are many different brands and types of saddle pads on the market, which makes it hard to know which one is the best. To make your search easier, we’ve created a list of the top 5 best saddle pads for horses, which we have reviewed in detail below.
- Weaver Leather Western Gel Seat Saddle Pad is the best value for your money.
- ECP Equine Half Saddle Pad – Best for Comfort.
- 5 Star Equine Extra-Thick Rancher Western Saddle Pad – Best for Ropers.
- Weaver Leather Herculon Saddle Pad – Best for Durability.
- Weaver Leather Western Gel Seat Saddle Pad – Best for Gel Pad.
- Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Saddle Pad – Best for Budget Shoppers.
Our Top Overall Pick
- ECP Equine Half Saddle Pad is our pick based on value, durability and utility.
|ECP Equine Half Saddle Pad||Check Price|
|5 Star Equine Extra-Thick Rancher Western Saddle Pad||Check Price|
|Weaver Leather Herculon Saddle Pad||Check Price|
|Weaver Leather Western Gel Seat Saddle Pad||Check Price|
|Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Saddle Pad||Check Price|
Top 5 Best Saddle Pads for Horses
1. ECP Equine Half Saddle Pad – Best for Comfort
- Diamond-quilted cotton top
- Inner cotton lining act as a shock absorber
- Four pockets with shims of memory foam
- Four Velcro closures (two at the back and two at the front pocket)
- Top line
- Price: Check Price
ECP Equine Half Saddle Pad provides excellent comfort to your horse. It comes in with a diamond-quilted top made from cotton fabric. The inner side has brushed cotton that renders a comfortable contact point and also acts as an efficient shock-absorber. It comes in with four pre-stitched pockets. Each of the four pockets has three shims of memory foam, which reduces pressure at one point.
The pockets have Velcro closures – two at the front and two at the back – which provide a contoured fit and firmly position the saddle. The top line allows maximum air circulation, therefore allowing sufficient breathability. It can effectively absorb moisture and is suitable for longer rides. This is the best choice if your horse is not in shape or slowly recovering from an injury. It is available in several colors.
- Top line allows maximum breathability and circulation
- Cotton underside renders comfort
- Velcro closures are easy to adjust and allow firm positioning
- Memory foam shims of the pockets reduce pressure points
- Can efficiently absorb moisture
- Velcro closures might unfasten from slight pressure
2. 5 Star Equine Extra-Thick Rancher Western Saddle Pad – Best for Ropers
- Made from high-quality natural wool felt material
- Allows limited cinching to prevent slipping off
- Specially designed for western saddles
- It has double padding for maximum comfort
- Has a contoured fit for even weight distribution
- Price: Check Price
5 Star Equine’s Extra Thick Rancher Western Saddle Pad is a great choice for roper and ranchers. It is made from high-quality, natural, 100% virgin wool felt. It makes it best at absorbing moisture and wicks it to desiccated areas on the coat, helping in heat regulation. Additionally, it allows limited cinching that prevents slipping of the saddle. The square-shaped pads do not cover the horse’s back to avoid uncertain pressure and unsuitable saddle placement that will make your horse more prone to injury.
This pad is specially designed for the western saddle, and specific attention is given to the height of the withers and the back line of the horse and hip. It ensures that the saddle retains its firm position, and the saddle pad renders a contoured fit. It also comes in with a cleaning sponge for better maintenance.
- Made from 100% natural wool felt
- Absorbs extra moisture and helps in heat-regulation
- Limited cinching prevents slipping off
- Durable and easy to clean
- Offers a contoured fit
- Only suits western saddles
3. Weaver Leather Herculon Saddle Pad – Best for Durability
- Contoured shape shape
- Top consists of durable Herculon fabric
- Sturdy build helps withstand rough use
- One-inch lining of tan-colored wool blend felt
- Grained leather wear on the top
- Price: Check Price
Weaver Leather Herculon Saddle Pad is highly durable. It is made from high-quality Herculon fabric that adds endurance and makes it perfect for rugged use and trail rides. The top has grained leather wear to add extra protection. It offers a slim-fit and contoured look; its unique design helps reduce pressure on the withers and prevent injuries.
It has a heavy-duty or a sturdy design to withstand rough usage. The inner side is lined with tan-colored wool blend felt that absorbs moisture and wicks it towards drier spots. It is best for thermoregulation.
- A durable and sturdy built for rugged use
- Blend wool felt is soft and regulates heat
- Offers a smart contoured fit
- Grained leather top adds protection
- Not very easy to clean
4. Weaver Leather Western Gel Seat Saddle Pad – Best for Gel Pad
- Shock-absorbing gel pad
- Gel pads help to relieve pressure points
- Easy to wash, dries quickly
- Breathable and heat-resistant mesh cover
- Webbed straps attach at the horn and back
- Price: Check Price
Weaver Leather Western Saddle Pad is a gel pad; it is highly effective in shock absorption. A gel pad also helps distribute the rider’s weight evenly and is very useful for comforting the horse while making swift movements. It is extremely breathable and quickly absorbs sweat from the horse’s back. Additionally, it can be a great choice if your horse has a prominent wither. It removes the pressure points and avoids injury.
The gel pads are very easy to clean. You can hand-wash them often, and they dry off pretty quickly. It also has a black-colored mesh cover that is responsible for heat protection during hot days. Moreover, it comes with an attachable webbing strap to keep your pad at its position.
- Gel pads are extremely breathable
- Helps to relieve pressure points
- Webbed straps keep the pad at its place
- Wicks off moisture and sweat
- Good at shock-absorbing
- It is not very thick
5. Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Saddle Pad – Best for Budget Shoppers
- Best for horses with prominent withers
- Made with Poron XRD for pressure point relief
- The inner side is lined with orthopedic felt for shock absorption
- Best for young horses
- Memory foam ensures a comfortable fit
- Price: Check Price
Southwestern Equine Saddle Pad is the best equipment for comforting your horse. Poron XRD padding acts as the best shock absorber and relieves pressure points caused by saddle bars. It also has memory foam lining used to fill in extra gaps caused by a saddle that does not perfectly fit the horse’s back and poses risks for injury. It helps to attain a snug-fit.
The underside of the pad is lined with orthopedic felt; it carefully wicks away extra moisture and absorbs an extra amount of sweat. This pad is best for the horses with higher withers or for the ones who have undeveloped shoulder muscles. It is also very comfortable for older age horses with weak muscles on wither or if their shape has changed over time.
- Poron XRD is good at shock absorption
- Memory foam helps give the perfect fit
- Orthopedic felt underside absorbs extra moisture
- Great for young or older horses
- Best for firm positioning of your saddle
- It is only ideal for western saddles
Some of the enlisted products may not look appealing to you. In that case, you should make a choice by carefully considering the features mentioned below. It will help you thoroughly analyze and compare each feature of the mentioned products.
Some of the most common types of materials used in saddle pads are fleece, foam, or felt. If you consider a foam saddle, it is very light and porous. The pores help in increasing breathability and wick away moisture. The other type of material is fleece is effective in comfortable padding of the horse and helps to wick the moisture to drier spots. It is the most commonly used material and is comparatively cheaper.
If you go for felt, it is more common for western saddles. It has a great tendency to absorb sweat and wick moisture. It is the best at shock-absorbing when the horse makes pronounced movements. Furthermore, it is also suitable for reducing pressure points, especially in horses with higher withers.
Saddle pads come in a lot of different shapes. The square-shaped pads are the most common ones, usually made for horses with low or average withers. They are available in almost all types of materials and colors. Another type is the contoured pads. They are usually preferable for horses with swaybacks or with high withers.
When choosing the best saddle pad, there are three essential things to keep in mind if you want your horse to be comfortable. First of all, you should choose the best saddle for shock absorption. It is usually offered by a wool fleece pad that reduces the friction between the saddle and the horse. The next important factor is breathability or heat regulation. Make sure you choose a foam or felt pad that easily wicks away moisture and absorbs heat. Lastly, choose a saddle pad that matches the horse’s withers and perfectly fits the contours of the back, or else it will exert unneeded pressure.
You should keep in mind that a saddle pad cannot correct a poorly fitted saddle. The sole purpose of a saddle is to provide aid to a horse recovering from an injury, an underdeveloped young horse, or the one with an irregular shape. When buying a saddle pad, make sure it corresponds to the type of saddle you own. If your saddle still does not fit properly, it may lead to soring. As the horse ages, its shape and size of muscle changes, you should check the fitting of your saddle.
Types of Saddle Pads
There are different types of saddle pads to choose from, between western or English saddle pads, half-saddle pads, and gel pads. The only difference between English and western pads is their shape; western ones are square or rectangular, and English pads are generally thicker and match the shape of your horse.
Half-saddle pads are mostly used above a regular saddle pad to maximize protection. They are commonly used for better fitting of the saddle and contouring horseback. Gel pads are the latest ones. They mostly serve as half pads over the regular saddle pad for horses with a weak muscular build or sensitive withers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best saddle pad for my horse?
When looking for the best, the most suitable option is to go for ECP Equine Half Saddle Pad. It consists of cotton material, and pockets have memory foam shims. It renders excellent breathability and wicks off moisture pretty quickly. The Velcro closures on the back and the front ensure a fixed position of the saddle. They are also a good option if your horse needs extra protection on the withers.
What goes under the saddle of a horse?
A saddle pad goes under a saddle. It usually consists of soft and natural materials such as foam, fleece, or felt. The purpose of using a saddle is to evenly distribute the pressure on the horse’s back and minimize the pressure points caused by placing a saddle. It is for the protection of the horse and the saddle as well.
How thick should a saddle pad be?
When considering the thickness of your saddle pad, some other factors consider the weight of the rider, the time span for which you ride, and the type of landscape. If the rider and saddle together weigh more than 200 pounds or ride for long hours, you should get 7/8 inches of thickness. It is the best for regular use.
How do you put a saddle pad on a horse?
As you intend to put a saddle on the back of your horse, make sure you brush off any dirt on the girth area so that there is no irritation and the hair of the horse lies flatly. Then, place the saddle on the horse’s back on the withers and then smoothly move it back to its position. Make sure the pad is evenly placed on both sides.
What is the purpose of a saddle pad?
The purpose of using a saddle pad is to provide relief to the horse from the pressure points and evenly distribute it. It also helps in protecting the leather of the horse that may get damaged due to sweating. It also effectively works as a shock absorber. You can also use it for heat regulation as it absorbs moisture and wicks it towards the horse’s dry spots. It also helps in positioning an improperly fitted saddle. It also protects the back and the withers of your horse as it develops and changes its shape.
A saddle pad is an essential element of your tack set. It is necessary for the protection of your horse and the perfect fitting of your saddle. We have provided you a list of the most comfortable saddle pads and a detailed guide to buying the most suitable pad for your horse.