Best Horse Saddle Pads (A Buyer's Guide)

best horse saddle pad

Buying the best horse saddle pads for your horses is just as important as choosing the best saddle. The saddle pad essentially serves three functions. 

One, it helps absorb your horse’s sweat, which keeps them cool while you are out riding. This ensures your horse doesn’t lose important electrolytes while exercising. 

Two, the horse saddle pad fits between your horse and the saddle, so it protects them. It is a shock absorber and prevents the saddle from slipping. The pressure and friction from a slipping saddle cause chafing, which is painful for your horse. 

Three, it protects your horse saddle as it improves the fit of the saddle. It also keeps horse sweat and dirt from the horse’s hair and skin off your saddle.  

There is a wide range of saddle pads available that do all three of these functions. 

Choosing the best one depends on certain criteria. Our buyer’s guide covers all of that so you can make the best decision possible. Here you’ll find 6 of the best saddle pads.  

Top 6 Saddle Pads for Horses (Our Review)

Tough 1 EquiRoyal Square Quilted Cotton Comfort English Saddle Pad (Best Overall Saddle Pad)

Tough 1 EquiRoyal Square Quilted Cotton Comfort English Saddle Pad, White
  • 100% cotton twill pad features a shock absorbing insulation between layers
  • Your horse can tell the comfort difference
  • Mini quilted diamond pattern with nylon girth/billet straps
  • Beautiful pad perfect for training and all other daily English riding activities

The Tough 1 EquiRoyal Square Quilted Comfort English Saddle Pad is made from 100% cotton twill and sports a mini-quilted diamond pattern. The cotton material ensures the saddle pad is lightweight and breathable. 

Shock absorption insulation at ⅛ inch is added in between the layers of this horse saddle pad to provide maximum protection for your horse.  

The spine measures 24 inches while the drop is almost 20 inches. 

This square saddle pad is ideal for training or riding in any discipline. 

Pros 

  • Available in 8 colors, from black and navy to pink and purple 
  • Features 4 girth/billet straps so your pad won’t slip
  • Material isn’t too thick so your horse won’t get too hot 
  • Easy to clean; simply wash it 
  • Ideal for everyday use whether you are training, trail riding, eventing, or riding for fun  

Cons 

  • Pad is thin, we suggest using a half pad with it 
  • Underside is white so it may not stay white 

Dover Saddlery Quilted All-Purpose Saddle Pad (Best Budget Saddle Pad)

Dover Saddlery Quilted All-Purpose Saddle Pad, Royal Blue
  • Multiple colors to please all tastes
  • Durable and well-padded
  • Quilted diamond pattern
  • Machine wash warm water with like colors; tumble dry low or air dry
  • From Dover Saddlery: The leader in equestrian products for over 40 years offering the best quality horse and rider products throughout the US

For best Western saddle pads, the Dover Saddlery Quilted All-Purpose Saddle Pad is our top choice. The pad is made from a 5 mm polyfoam and a 250-gram polyfill to add to the comfort of your horse. 

There are 7.5” hook-and-loop billet straps. This ensures the saddle pad stays put and doesn’t slip while you ride. 

This horse saddle pad also features a quilted diamond design so it looks elegant when fitted on your horse. It is cut straight across the top line so it may not mold to your horse’s back perfectly. 

The Dover Saddlery All-Purpose saddle pad is ideal for everyday use.   

The spine measures 23 inches while the drop is 19 inches. 

Pros 

  • Available in 6 colors, from black and white to green and red
  • Polyfill and foam ensure the pad is comfortable for your horse  
  • Features billet straps 
  • Use the saddle pad for training, eventing, or any other kind of riding 
  • Easy to clean; machine-wash safe 

Cons 

  • Can fit too snug over the withers of your horse
  • Provides no relief if you have a high withers  

Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Elite Premium 1″ Thick Wool Saddle Pad (Best for Trail Riding) 

Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Elite Premium Tan Topper and Chocolate Wool Bottom 1" Saddle Pad (32 x 31, Turquoise Bloom)
  • ✓ SOLVE SADDLE FIT PROBLEMS - Before you buy another expensive saddle.
  • ✓ PERFECT for HIGH WITHERED horses where SADDLE RUBS on WITHER
  • ✓ YOUNG HORSES with under developed shoulder muscles.
  • ✓ SHOCK ABSORBTION - under horn PROTECT YOUR HORSE.Great for Team Roping, Barrel Racing and so much more.
  • ✓ PORON-RXD under the saddle bars ABSORBS up to 90% OF SHOCK.

The next saddle pad is the Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Elite Premium Wool 1” Saddle Pad. 

It is great for trail riding, barrel racing, team roping, and other riding styles. It offers high shock absorption at 90% to protect your horse. This protection comes from the PORON-XRD that’s situated under the saddle bars.

The trail riding saddle pad thickness is 1 inch.  

The contoured saddle is made from two-toned orthopedic-grade premium wool. The saddle pad is built-up with memory foam to help alleviate any pressure that your saddle places on your horse’s shoulders. 

If you struggle to get your saddle to fit properly on your horse, then this saddle pad will help. It is ideal for high withered horses, especially if you’ve noticed that the saddle chafes their shoulders. 

If you have a young horse whose shoulder muscles are underdeveloped, then you should buy the Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Elite. 

Pros 

  • Available in 3 designs: turquoise bloom, desert rose, and natural leathers 
  • Comes in two sizes: 31” x 30” and 30” x 31”
  • Helps balance and stabilize your saddle by solving saddle fit issues  
  • Protect your horse’s shoulders 

Cons 

  • Leather strap from the wither area presses on the horse’s neck 

ECP All Purpose Diamond Quilted Therapeutic Contoured Correction Support Western Saddle Pad (Best Western Saddle Pad)

ECP Western Saddle Pad All Purpose Diamond Quilted Cotton Therapeutic Contoured Correction Support Memory Foam Pockets for Riding Black
  • Adjustable memory foam shims can be moved to wherever is optimal for horse and rider.
  • Temperature regulating, moisture wicking, and breathable.
  • Hypoallergenic and gentle on skin.
  • Properly secures to saddle with two billet straps.
  • Care Instructions: Remove memory foam shims prior to washing. Hand wash or machine wash gentle cycle in cold water. Do not bleach. Dry flat. Do not iron.

The ECP Western Saddle Pad is hypoallergenic and gentle on your horse’s skin. The underside is a brushed flannel. 

The best saddle pad helps to regulate temperature. It is breathable and wicks moisture away.  

There are four pockets, two on each side of the horse saddle pad. In each pocket, there are three contoured memory foam pads or shims. You can move these shims to better support your horse and remove pressure points. 

Thus, the ECP Western Saddle Pad lets you customize the pad for an ergonomic fit. This makes it an ideal saddle pad for Western riding, barrel racing, and long trail rides. 

The breathable pad can also be used for horses with sore points or saddle fit issues. 

Pros 

  • Comes in 3 colors: black, brown, and rose
  • Contour correction features with the foam material pockets to create a customized saddle pad fit 
  • Rounded corners so the pad doesn’t rub against your horse’s skin 
  • Easy to clean; can be machined wash but remove the foam shims

Cons 

  • Shims are the best quality
  • Not suited for high withered horses 

Derby Originals Shaped Wither Relief Dressage English Saddle Pad with Fleece Edging and Contoured Design (Best English Saddle Pad)

Derby Originals Unisex's Contour Dressage Wither Relief Fleece Edged English Saddle Pad (Black), Spine Length 23"
  • DESIGNED WITH YOUR HORSE’S COMFORT IN MIND - this shaped dressage pad features a plush fleece lined wither relief that prevents wither and shoulder soreness, as well as a half-fleece lining that prevents rubs.
  • SHOCK ABSORBING DESIGN - this micro diamond quilted dressage pad features a multi-layered, plush design that is shock absorbing and designed to make riding more comfortable for both you and your horse.
  • DESIGNED TO FIT DRESSAGE SADDLES - this saddle pad features a 23” spine and a 23” drop length to comfortably accommodate most sizes and styles of dressage saddles.
  • HIGH-QUALITY CONSTRUCTION - this saddle pad was designed in the USA and features a high-grade cotton construction, plush fleece, and reinforced stitching for added strength and longevity.
  • AVAILABLE IN TWO CLASSIC COLORS - this premium dressage saddle pad is available in a clean White and crisp Black to best suit your tack ensemble and tastes.

The next saddle pad is the Derby Originals Shaped Wither Relief Dressage English Saddle Pad. With a fleece lining that is cutout, this English saddle pad offers wither relief from pinching. 

The half-fleece lining also ensures this proper saddle pad doesn’t rub or chafe your horse’s skin. 

For English saddle pads, this shape saddle pad is created to be shock absorbing with the multi-layered, micro-diamond quilted design. This means your horse will have a comfy ride. It also reduces excessive heat. 

The Derby Originals has a 23-inch spine and 23-inch drop, so it’s perfect for dressage saddles.   

Pros 

  • Ideal for showing and training 
  • High shock absorption 
  • Provides wither pressure relief, especially for high wither horses and those with an upright head conformation  
  • Work with most dressage saddles 

Cons 

  • Only available in black and white, but this is perfect for eventing  
  • Short saddle flaps 

Classic Equine BioFit Correction Felt Pad (Best for Equine Back Health)

Classic Equine BioFit Correction Saddle Pad with Foam Bottom, 7/8-inch Thick, Black, 31-inch x 32-inch
  • Classic Equine
  • BioFit Correction Pad
  • Contoured
  • Wedge Placement to Fill Void Area for Extra Support
  • Felt Bottom w/Shock Absorbing Wool Felt Center

The Classic Equine BioFIt Correction Felt Pad is ideal for a horse that suffers from muscle atrophy or horses with high withers. For spine relief and gullet clearance, the pad features a cut over the wither area.  

This rectangular-shaped pad is made from a high-quality dense wool blend. This increases the protection the saddle pad offers your horse and saddle. It also offers high shock absorption.   

This correction pad is contoured to mold to your horse’s back, ensuring a comfortable fit. Your saddle will also fit better. 

The horse saddle pad has a spine measurement of 30 inches and a drop measurement of 15 inches.  

Pros 

  • Best for high withered horses, those suffering from muscle atrophy, or swayback horses
  • High shock absorption and moisture-wicking   
  • Easy to clean and dries quickly
  • Available in 2 sizes: 30” x 30” and 31” x 32” 

Cons 

  • Not ideal if your horse doesn’t have muscle atrophy or high withers 

Horse Saddle Pads Buyer’s Guide

saddle pad guide

Size 

Match your saddle pad to your saddle type. 

An all-purpose saddle pad varies in terms of dimension since it needs to fit an all-purpose horse saddle. A saddle pad for dressage saddles is straighter than those for Western saddles. 

A close contact pad is ideal for English saddles so these saddle pads are shorter with a forward cut. 

Saddle pads for ponies and children are available. Be sure that the pad is slightly bigger than the saddle but doesn’t extend past the last rib of your horse.  

The right saddle pads should be 2-3 inches bigger than your saddle all around. 

Shape

When choosing saddle pads, the pad you buy should fit the contours of your saddle’s underside as well as that of your horse’s back. The right saddle pad won’t exert pressure on the horse’s withers or spine. 

Contour Saddle Pad

Contoured saddle pads are best for high withered horses that have a dip in their back. Contoured pads relieve pressure from the withers. 

Straight Saddle Pad 

The normal or straight saddle pad is ideal for mutton withered horses that have a rounder back or those with a flat back. 

Round Saddle Pad 

Also called a contest saddle pad, the round shaped saddle pad is used when the saddle has a round skirt. However, round pads also work well if your horse has a short back.  

Cutout Saddle Pad 

Also ideal for high wither horses, the cutout pad alleviates wither pressure as that part is cut out. 

Cutback Saddle Pad

You can also opt for the cutback pad for high withered horses. A section has been cut back so there’s no material resting on your horse’s withers.  

Orthosport Saddle Pad

These pads can be used for a high withered horse. The extra padding in the form of a second layer helps you achieve a better saddle fit. It also evenly distributes pressure over your horse’s back. 

Swayback Saddle Pad

For a swayback horse where there is a prominent dip in the middle of their back, choose a swayback pad. This saddle pad features a thicker middle to help improve saddle fit.  

Built-up Saddle Pad

For a horse with prominent withers, the built-up saddle pad can work. It is built up in the middle so the saddle is raised off the withers. 

Style 

saddle pad style

For style, there are three types of saddle pads.

  • Shaped Saddle Pads: Commonly used for jumping or hunting, shaped pads fit well with your saddle since they are curved.  
  • Square Saddle Pads: Mostly used for dressage, square pads are lined with a foam inner layer. This adds more padding and is moisture-wicking so your horse is comfortable. 
  • Half Saddle Pads: Half pads are great in that they can be used for any riding discipline. You can also use these half shape saddle pads, which are sheepskin lined, with a shaped or square saddle pad to protect it from soiling.   

Material 

Fleece 

A fleece saddle pad is made from sheepskin, wool, or synthetic fleece. These wool pads are known for their moisture-wicking ability and they are breathable. 

Real fleece requires specialized care while a synthetic wool saddle pad will last you longer. 

Felt 

Felt saddle pads help dissipate excessive heat and it is also moisture-wicking. With the fibers being dense, it is a breathable pad but it doesn’t breathe as well as fleece. 

Waffle Bottom/Neoprene

Neoprene pads have a waffle-weave bottom. This improves breathability and airflow, gives more cushioning under your saddle, and prevents saddle slippage. 

These horse saddle pads are best for shorter rides since they build up moisture and heat during long rides.  

Closed Cell Foam 

A closed-cell foam pad provides better contact with your horse’s back. There is a molded foam lining that is covered with Nylon. This pad keeps your horse cool as it promotes airflow. 

Open Cell Foam 

These saddle pads are good for shock absorption. They also conform to your horse’s spine.  

Inserts 

When gel inserts are added to a saddle pad, it is heavier and has improved shock resistance. 

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