This page serves as a general guide to saddle pads. You can check out some information and see pictures of the various types of saddle pads as you try and decide which one is best for you. I also have a shopping guide that breaks them down by category if you want to skip straight to the fun part.

Saddle Pads By Category

If you’re just here for my various saddle pad buying guides or just want to browse by category, you can find them here. I’ve done the hard work of scouring the internet for the cutest, coolest, etc saddle pads and broken them down into the following categories so far:

Cool Saddle Pads

What are Saddle Pads?

As a rider, you likely understand the importance of proper saddle fit and the impact it has on both the horse’s comfort and performance. The same applies to a saddle pad. So what is a saddle pad? A saddle pad is a piece of equipment that is used to provide an extra layer of cushioning and protection between the horse’s back and the saddle.

Why Use Saddle Pads?

In general, you use saddle pads to protect your horse’s back from chafing and provide cushion underneath the saddle to make things more comfortable for your horse. Some saddle pads are designed to serve specific purposes, such as correcting saddle fit or addressing a horse’s back pain. Some pads might even use magnets or vibration therapy to alleviate soreness and improve circulation.

How to Choose Saddle Pads

When selecting a saddle pad, it is essential to consider both the horse and the rider’s needs. A well-fitted pad should provide adequate cushioning without interfering with the saddle’s fit or causing discomfort to the horse. It should also be durable, easy to clean, and appropriate for the type of riding being done.

Considerations When Picking Out a Saddle Pad

When it comes to picking out a saddle pad, there are several things you should keep in mind to ensure that you choose a pad that is the right size, material, thickness, design, and style for your horse’s needs. Here is a guide to help you make an informed decision when selecting a saddle pad:

Size & Fit

Choosing the right size and fit is crucial to ensure your horse’s comfort and safety. A saddle pad that is too small can cause rubbing and pressure points, while a pad that is too large can shift and cause discomfort.

Measure your horse’s back to determine the appropriate pad size and ensure that the pad fits snugly and does not slip or move.


The material of the saddle pad can affect your horse’s comfort and the pad’s durability. Common materials include synthetic fabrics, wool, cotton, and gel.

Synthetic fabrics are lightweight, easy to clean, and durable, while natural fibers like wool and cotton are breathable and provide cushioning. The type of material you use will likely determine the longevity of your saddle pad, as well as how difficult it is to clean.


The thickness of the saddle pad can impact the pad’s shock absorption and your horse’s comfort. Thicker pads provide more cushioning and may be suitable for horses with sensitive backs or when doing high-impact activities like jumping or barrel racing.

Thinner pads may be more suitable for horses with well-developed backs or when doing low-impact activities like pleasure riding.

Design & Style

Saddle pads come in a range of designs and styles, from plain colors to patterns and prints. Some pads have additional features like built-in wither relief or moisture-wicking properties. When selecting a design and style, consider the purpose of the pad and the preferences of the rider.

Discipline & Use

Different disciplines may require specific types of saddle pads. For example, dressage saddle pads are often shaped to fit the contours of a dressage saddle, while barrel racing pads may be contoured to provide greater freedom of movement for the horse. Consider the type of riding you will be doing and the needs of your horse when selecting a saddle pad.

chestnut pony with blue custom saddle pad

Where Can I Find Saddle Pads for Sale?

Once you have determined the type of saddle pad that suits your horse’s needs, you may be wondering where to find the right saddle pad for sale. Here are a few options to consider:

Tack Shops

Tack shops offer a wide variety of horse-related equipment and accessories, including saddle pads. Visiting a tack shop in person allows you to examine different options and feel the texture and thickness of the pads before making a purchase. Tack shops also provide the opportunity to seek advice from experienced staff members who can help you select the right saddle pad for your horse.


Online shopping is a convenient option for finding a saddle pad. There are many equestrian-focused online retailers that offer a wide variety of saddle pads to choose from. You can easily browse through different materials, styles, and sizes from the comfort of your own home. However, purchasing a saddle pad online can be tricky because you can’t physically examine the pad before buying it. Many sites, however, offer free returns.

Local Barn Sales

Barn sales or tack swaps can be a great place to find gently used or discounted saddle pads. These events allow horse owners to sell or trade their used equipment and gear, including saddle pads. This option can be particularly beneficial if you’re on a budget and looking for a deal. You can normally find ads for sales at your local tack or feed store. I am part of a Facebook group for horse people in my county, and people often share links to upcoming sales.

English Saddle Pads

English saddle pads are a crucial piece of equipment for any rider who uses an English saddle. They serve several purposes, including providing cushioning and protection for the horse’s back, preventing the saddle from slipping, and absorbing sweat so it doesn’t damage your saddle. 

There are different types of English saddle pads available on the market, each designed for a specific discipline. Some of the most popular types of English saddle pads include dressage saddle pads, jumping saddle pads, and eventing saddle pads.

Dressage Saddle Pads

Dressage saddle pads are specially designed to fit the unique shape of a dressage saddle. Unlike other saddle pads, dressage pads are typically shaped with a contoured wither area and a straighter spine, which accommodates the longer and more straight-cut flaps of a dressage saddle. They’re also normally pretty thin and allow for closer contact with the horse.

Jumping Saddle Pads

Jumping saddle pads, on the other hand, are designed to be thinner and less bulky. They are usually made from materials that are breathable and moisture-wicking to prevent the horse from overheating during intense jumping sessions. Jumping saddle pads often feature a contoured shape that allows for greater freedom of movement, and they may also include additional padding around the withers and spine to provide extra protection.

Eventing Saddle Pads

Your eventing saddle pad will likely vary by day of the event. All in all, eventing saddle pads should be versatile and durable so they can withstand the rigors of even cross-country riding. Many also feature additional padding and protection around the shoulder and spine areas.

Western Saddle Pads

Saddle pads are also a critical piece of equipment for western riders. Western saddle pads are designed to protect both the horse and the rider’s back from the pressure and impact of the saddle during riding sessions. Western saddle pads come in a variety of materials, shapes, and designs, each tailored to the rider’s specific needs and discipline.

There are almost as many unique styles of saddle pads as there are events within western riding. Here are a few of them:

Barrel Racing Saddle Pads

Saddle pads for barrel racing may be a bit on the shorter side so they don’t interfere with your horse’s stride. Most of the time, they’re made from compressed wool that will wick away moisture, although fleece may be better for sensitive horses. Make sure that it’s cushy enough to keep your horse comfortable but doesn’t add any extra weight. In barrel racing, every second matters!

Western Pleasure Saddle Pads

Western pleasure saddle pads, on the other hand, are designed to be thicker and more substantial than other saddle pads. They are typically made from high-quality materials such as wool, felt, or synthetic materials, which provide extra cushioning and support to the horse’s back. Western pleasure saddle pads may also include additional features such as a cut-out at the withers or a contoured shape to reduce pressure on sensitive areas.

Trail Riding Saddle Pads

Trail riding saddle pads are designed to provide both comfort and durability during long rides. They are typically made from materials that are breathable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying, helping to keep the horse’s back cool and dry during extended riding sessions. Trail riding saddle pads may also feature additional padding and support around the withers and spine areas to prevent discomfort and soreness. Additionally, some trail riding saddle pads may have pockets for carrying small items, such as snacks or a map.

Other Saddle Pads

There are even more saddle pads than can be encompassed just in the English and Western disciplines. If you’re using a saddle, you’re going to need a pad to go under it! 

Endurance Saddle Pads

Endurance riding requires a special type of saddle pad that can withstand long hours in the saddle while keeping your horse comfortable. Endurance saddle pads are typically made with moisture-wicking materials and extra padding in high-pressure areas. Look for a pad that’s breathable, durable, and easy to clean, so you can spend more time riding and less time worrying about your equipment.

Australian Saddle Pads

These pads are a popular choice for trail riding and other outdoor activities. Australian saddle pads are designed to fit the unique shape of these saddles and provide extra cushioning for both horse and rider. Look for a pad that’s made with breathable materials and has adjustable straps to ensure a secure fit.

Custom Saddle Pads

If you’re looking for a saddle pad that’s truly one-of-a-kind, consider a custom-made option. With custom saddle pads, you can choose everything from the material and color to the design and size. This option is perfect for those who want to make a statement in the show ring or simply prefer a personalized touch to their riding gear.

High Wither Saddle Pads

Horses with high withers require a saddle pad that’s designed to fit their unique shape. High wither saddle pads are typically made with extra padding at the front to provide additional support and prevent pressure points. Look for a pad that’s made with a breathable material and has a contoured shape to provide a comfortable fit.

In my experience, it’s often Thoroughbreds or older horses that have prominent withers that need a bit of extra cushion. 

Bareback Saddle Pads

For riders who prefer to ride bareback, a bareback saddle pad is a must-have accessory. These pads are designed to provide a layer of cushioning and grip, while still allowing for a close contact feel with your horse. Look for a pad that’s made with non-slip materials. Some people may want a bareback pad with adjustable straps to ensure a secure fit.

Half Saddle Pads

Half saddle pads are a popular option for riders who want to provide extra cushioning in specific areas without adding too much bulk. These pads are designed to be worn under the front or back of the saddle, depending on your horse’s needs.

Saddle Pads With Pockets

If you’re planning a long trail ride or endurance event, a saddle pad with pockets can be a lifesaver. These pads typically have small pockets sewn onto the side or front, providing a convenient place to store snacks, a cell phone, or other small essentials. Look for a pad that’s made with durable materials and has secure closures to prevent items from falling out while you ride.

A brown english saddle on a black saddle pad

Different Materials

Saddle pads come in a variety of materials, including wool, fleece, foam, gel, and neoprene, each with their unique benefits and drawbacks. The most common types of saddle pads are shaped to match the contour of the saddle, with cutouts for the withers and spine to prevent pressure points.


Gel saddle pads are a popular option among riders looking for an extra layer of cushioning and shock absorption. These pads are typically made of a soft and squishy gel material that conforms to the shape of the horse’s back and distributes pressure evenly across the back. This makes it more comfortable for the horse since it stabilizes the saddle and prevents it from shifting around and chafing the withers.


Wool saddle pads have been used for many years and remain a popular option among horse riders of all disciplines. These pads are typically made from natural fibers, offer excellent cushioning, and are durable enough to last for years. Wool is also a naturally absorbent fiber that can help to wick away moisture from the horse’s back, keeping them cool and dry during exercise.

Memory Foam

Memory foam saddle pads have become a popular choice among horse riders in recent years due to their ability to conform to the horse’s back and provide excellent cushioning and pressure relief. Much like a memory foam pillow that molds to the shape of your head and neck, memory foam saddle pads are designed to mold to the contours of the horse’s back, creating a custom fit and reducing pressure points.


A woven saddle pad is a type of saddle pad made from a combination of natural fibers, such as wool or cotton. The pad is created through a weaving process, where fibers are interlaced to create a durable and breathable surface. Woven saddle pads are designed to be placed between the saddle and the horse’s back, providing cushioning, moisture-wicking properties, and a barrier between the horse’s skin and the saddle. The weaving process creates a pad that is both breathable and durable, allowing air to circulate around the horse’s back while still providing adequate cushioning.


Saddle pads come in a rainbow of colors. Seriously. We’re talking: 

  • White
  • Black
  • Navy blue
  • Hunter green
  • Burgundy
  • Brown
  • Gray
  • Red
  • Purple
  • Teal
  • Pink
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Cream
  • Beige
  • Light blue
  • Dark green
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Bronze

Note that some colors may be more common in certain disciplines or events. For example, white saddle pads are often used in dressage competitions, while colorful pads are more common in more casual Western riding.



Saddle pads come in a variety of different sizes, and choosing the right option to fit your mount is super important!



Horse sized saddle pads are the most common, standard size. Of course, horses come in different shapes and sizes so you may need to try a few different saddle pad brands before you find the best one for you and your horse. These may also be called full size saddle pads.


Cob saddle pads are generally meant for horses that are taller than ponies but perhaps smaller than the standard horse size.


Pony saddle pads are for, you guessed it, ponies! Like horses, ponies may require a little trial and error before you pick the right saddle pad. The length of the back varies from animal to animal.


Does it get any cuter than a mini sized saddle pad? These are meant for the tiniest horse and rider combinations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Saddle pads are designed specifically to be used with a saddle. They are placed directly on the horse’s back and under the saddle. On the other hand, blankets are designed to be used as a cover for the horse, either as a stable blanket or a turnout blanket.

Barn sales, tack swaps, Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, and some online equine stores are all good places to find used saddle pads for sale.

The saddle pad should match the size of the saddle. The pad should be large enough to cover the entire area under the saddle, without extending beyond the saddle flaps. Also, the shape of the saddle pad should match the shape of the saddle. For example, if the saddle has a forward-cut flap for jumping, then the pad should be contoured to fit the shape of the flap.

Your saddle pad should also provide enough clearance for the withers and spine. It should not press down on the withers or spine, which can cause discomfort or even injury to the horse.

Some saddle pads are machine washable, but you’ll most likely start by removing loose dirt, soak your saddle pad in some mild soapy water, gently scrub it, and then rinse it off. 

Whatever you do, here’s how to remove horse hair from a saddle pad.