Choosing a Saddle Pad for Your Horse

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When you’re looking at tack for sale, you’ll find that there are many different types of saddle pads for sale. How can you choose the saddle pad that is right for your horse? Here are some tips to get you started.

Saddle Pad Style

First of all, consider the style of saddle pad that you will need. If you are riding dressage, you will need a saddle pad that’s different form the one that you would use if you were riding a barrel racer. The type of saddle that you ride in will also play into which type of saddle pad you need to buy.

Consider any particular demands of your discipline when selecting a saddle pad. Will you be participating in horse shows? If so, there are often certain saddle pad styles and colors that are acceptable for the show ring. Deviating from the desired styles and colors may be frowned upon or even prohibited, resulting in a loss of points or disqualification. If you have any questions about what is acceptable for your discipline, check with a knowledgeable trainer or look it up in your discipline’s rule book.

Saddle Fit

Within each style of saddle pad, there are many variations of thickness. This thickness will affect the way that your saddle fits your horse. If you have a saddle that already fits your horse well, then you will want to avoid using any pads that are very thick or built up. Adding a thick pad will make the space available for your horse’s back narrower, and a well-fitting saddle, if equipped with a pad that is too thick, will start to pinch your horse’s back.

On the other hand, if you have a saddle that is a bit too wide for your horse’s back, you will have a wide selection of saddle pads for sale to choose from. Sometimes simply adding a thick pad can make a saddle that is slightly too wide fit perfectly. You can tailor the fit of many saddle pads by adding shims or riser pads to help the saddle better fit your horse.

Saddle Size

In addition to not interfering with the saddle’s fit, a saddle pad must also be the right size for your saddle. The width and length of a saddle pad intended for a barrel racing saddle will differ from the dimensions of a pad that can be used for a trail or working saddle. Remember, too, that different English pads will suit different English saddle seat sizes. Fitted pads are a bit more difficult to fit, so be sure to carefully compare the saddle pad with your saddle’s size before removing any tags and putting the pad to use.

As you buy a saddle pad, carefully consider all of the above factors to make sure that the pad you purchase is the right one for you and your horse.

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