Saddle Pads: When and How to Use Them

Saddle pads can provide solutions to many of the problems your horse can have when it comes to performance, recovery and saddle fit.

When are saddle pads a good option? Which one should you choose? How can you maintain it so it stays effective? It’s time to get answers.

saddle-pads

Your Horse Has a Sensitive Back

If your horse has an overly sensitive, tender back, a Western saddle that weighs against pressure points can cause continued discomfort. A saddle pad will absorb shock and help reduce the friction of the saddle rubbing against the horse.

You Don’t Have the Budget to Replace a Saddle Repeatedly

If you have a young, growing horse, it can be financially unrealistic to replace a saddle every time they have a growth spurt. Saddle pads can help otherwise bulky saddles fit comfortably. Also, some horses bulk up and build muscle after repeated training in one exercise. Saddle pads can protect against a bad fit.

Protect Your Saddle

Finally, saddle pads aren’t just for your horse — they help preserve the saddle too. Sweat can stain the leather, leading to premature wear and a need to replace it sooner than you would have to otherwise.

What Material Is Best?

From fleece to felt to foam to gel, there are a range of materials to choose from. Which option is best for you, your saddle and your horse?

Fleece is a common material used for saddle pads. It’s made either of natural or synthetic fibers. While natural wool provides more cushion, synthetic wool does not degrade as quickly. Fleece is one of the most cost-effective options.

Felt is made of compressed wool and offers distinct advantages for the rider and horse. It absorbs sweat and heat, making it a more comfortable option for the horse. And even though it may cost a bit more than fleece, it lasts a long time, making it a smart investment for any rider.

Foam is usually wrapped in nylon. Since it fits to the back of the horse, it’s good at absorbing shock.

Gel inserts are positioned in pads to cushion where the saddle makes the most frequent contact with the horse’s back, but since it’s gel, it makes the pad much heavier.

All of these materials work well — it’s just a matter of finding something you’re comfortable with that fits your horse, does the job and is within your budget.

Keep it Clean

Stay vigilant — keep your pad clean. Make sure to wash or brush away dirt, sweat and hair. Whenever you notice that one area is starting to wear down, make sure to replace it right away.

Frontier Trailers & Roping Supply has a wide selection of saddle pads and other tack you need — view the online store today and enjoy free shipping throughout Utah.