The fundamental purpose of the classic equine saddle pad is to provide a thin layer of cushioning between the horse’s back and withers, and the saddle. A saddle pad protects against friction caused by the saddle rubbing against the horse, protects against pinching of the withers, and it helps protect the saddle by absorbing some of the horse’s perspiration. Saddle pads may be made of many different materials such as cotton with polyester fibers, wool felt, diamond wool, impact gel, neoprene, suede, and fleece. Depending on the materials used to construct the saddle pad and its specific design features, it can offer more functionality as well. A saddle pad made from moisture-wicking materials, such as natural sheepskin, bamboo blends, or high-tech fabrics, can draw perspiration away from the horse to help prevent back muscles from overheating.
As all horse lovers know, there is no such thing as too much horse tack or too many saddle pads! Shop our large selection of all-purpose saddle pads, dressage saddle pads, hunter/jumper contour pads, barrel racing saddle pads, roper pads, bareback pads, and western saddle pads. We have every style ranging from pad liners, to close contact, to shock-absorbing and therapeutic pads. We also have a large selection of brands, such as Cashel, Professional's Choice, Thinline, Weatherbeeta, EquiFit, Roma, Back on Track, and Tough-1.
Western saddle pads come in a variety of styles such as felt saddle pads, wool saddle pads, fleece bottoms, shock-absorbing, and non-slip, each with unique benefits. There are barrel saddle pads, saddle pads with shims, and western saddle blankets to choose from. Some have great patterns and Navajo designs, or they can come in a variety of standard colors like burgundy, navy, or black.
Shock-absorbing saddle pad materials, such as impact gel or foam, can help protect the horse’s back from a rider’s impact or the inevitable movement of the saddle. Tacky, Anti-slip technologies can keep a slipping saddle stable, and wither relief or other therapeutic pads accommodate horses with conformational challenges.
Make sure to know how your saddle fits before adding thick cushioning or extra bulk. If a saddle fits a horse well, it may only require a simple western saddle pad; too much bulk in a pad can cause the saddle not to fit and can create pressure points.
English saddle pads come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to suit both the type of saddle being ridden in and the horse’s riding discipline. All-purpose saddle pads are a popular choice of riders in hunter, equitation, jumper, and even endurance disciplines. These all-purpose saddle pads are essentially square but curved at the front to follow the curves of dressage saddles with short, forward-rotated flaps. Shaped saddle pads, typically made of white, easy-care fleece, are cut to outline the shape of a particular type of saddle, such as close contact for jumping, all-purpose for both jumping and flatwork, and dressage.
Dressage saddle pads are essentially rectangular with a long drop at the sides to accommodate the long, straight flaps of a dressage saddle. Contouring along the topline of many Dressage and all-purpose saddle pads mimics the shape of a horse’s withers and back to offer optimal comfort and a stay-put fit. Additionally, most horse saddle pads stay secure with the use of adjustable hook-and-loop straps that wrap around the upper portion of a saddle’s billet straps and with girth or cinch loops that hold either the girth/cinch or the long billets of a dressage saddle. You can also use a breast collar to hold the saddle and horse blanket in place.
Horse saddle pads that come with shims can help compensate temporarily for an ill-fitting saddle while a professional fitting solution is awaited. Half pads, which are shaped to fit only under the panels of the saddle but not under the rider’s stirrups, can provide impact protection, moisture-wicking, or improve saddle fit. A half pad is most often combined with a regular saddle pad or with a super-thin pad liner that doesn’t offer cushioning but instead helps keep the half pad clean.
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