Friday, May 21, 2010

Tack and Horse Equipment – Saddle Pads

There are many different types of saddle pads. People buy them sometimes just to match their saddles, bridles or horses, and sometimes making a mistake of trying to compensate for a poor fitting saddle. Saddle pads should be chosen for their fit and functionality – how they fit the horse and what level of comfort it provides.

Saddle pads can come in many different types materials and thickness. Common types are wool felt (top left), neoprene, and wool blanket with fleece liner (bottom left) with real or synthetic fleece). I like a wool felt pad as they can breathe and also wick away heat and moisture from the horses back.

I won’t use neoprene as I don’t believe it allows the horse’s back to breathe very well and traps heat and sweat. However, I have also used wool blanket with a fleece liner (combination pad and blanket), either real and synthetic fleece, and that seems to keep the horse comfortable as well as Wool Felt.

Pads come in different thickness. Common Wool Felt pads are ½, ¾ and 1 inch thick. You can purchase Wool Felt Pads with cutouts for low withered (mutton withered) horses and contoured centers to protect the horse’s backbone. I use Wool Felt pads with Impact Gel pads built in-between the layers of Wool Felt to aid in absorbing or dispersing the weight of the rider and saddle. I also use a thin wool blanket, doubled up, over the saddle pad.

But what I wanted to talk about today was two overlooked tips on saddle pads.
The first tip is to regular clean the Wool Felt saddle pad using a grooming brush to remove excess hair and to scrap away crystallized sweat that, if not removed,, can scrap up a horse's back cause hair loss and discomfort.

The second tip is to always “tent” your saddle pad over the withers and brush away any mane hair so as you cinch the saddle down you don’t end up pulling on the mane and making the horse uncomfortable.

Tip #1

Tip #2


  1. Thanks for the tips i will try them out today any get back to you, Im going on a cross country today so i will be able to see how good these work. I have found after an hour or so most saddles get really uncomfortable.

  2. Now I know why to tent the pad, I was always told to do so but did not fully understand why. Thanks. If I can comment on Peters comment if your saddle is makin you sore it is not the right fit. Fit is not only important for thr horse but you as well. You need to be able to walk at the end of the day just like your horse.

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