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Horze Guide

What type of saddle pad does my horse need?

There are many different options when it comes to saddle pads. These include cotton, gel, foam or wool pads. With a few helpful tips, you can find which half pad is best for you and your horse.


We generally use saddle pads that can be directly used on the horse’s back and pick them based on their appearance. Saddle pads often become a fashion accessory and their function tends to get forgotten.

The latest developments in saddle pads have caused them to become highly sophisticated. Only a few saddle pads are just made with “stuff” and some foam filling. Many half pads now have a bottom lined with honeycomb-like tissue, which immediately removes the sweat from the horse’s body, passes through the fabric and the foam filling then releases back into the outside environment.

These pads are recommended for high intensity training or for horses that sweat constantly and quickly.

Saddle Pads with Medically Tanned Sheepskin

There are saddle pads that are lined with fur. These saddle pads are generally high in price and the reason for this is due to the medically tanned lambskin. Medically tanned lambskin is anti-allergenic and is ideal for sensitive horses. Often the only answer for horses that experience chaffing under the saddle, girth, or legs area is to use lambskin.

Half Pads

In this elite sport you hardly see any horses without extra padding under the saddle. This usually takes form in what is called a half-pad. Half-pads are usually made of artificial fur and have a cut in the seat cushion. This is simply to provide more comfort for the horse’s back.

Gel Pads

Gel pads are placed between the saddle pad and saddle. Gel pads absorb shock or even small deficits in the balance of the saddle fit.

Rise Pads

These pads can be used as a temporary correction of a saddle problem, but should not be applied over a long period of time. These pads, for example, cause an increase in the rear part of the saddle. These are ideal for short term use, for example a horse that is experiencing a growth spurt.

Anti-slip Pads

This pad is made of foam rubber and helps prevent the saddle and saddle pad from slipping. This pad should be placed directly on the horse’s back in order to be effective.

Nevertheless, the old saying still stands: saddle pads are not a cure for an ill-fitting saddle! At least once a year, preferable two times a year, you should have your saddle checked by a professional saddle fitter. This way they will be able to make the necessary adjustments in the saddle as they see fit.

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