Riding in Comfort: The Importance of Saddle Pads

As riders, we share a profound bond between us and our noble steeds and we always try to maintain a delicate equilibrium between our horse’s back and our comfort during the ride. Central to this equilibrium is the unsung hero of our riding gear – the saddle pad. Beyond its apparent cushioning, a saddle pad plays a pivotal role in safeguarding our horse's back.

According to a survey, above 98% of riders use saddle pads for increased horse’s comfort and improved saddle balance. Saddle pads are not just accessories; they are the hero of comfort, balance and protection. 

In this guide we will dive deep into the reasons why saddle pads are important.

What Exactly Is A Saddle Pad?

A saddle pad is a riding gear that sits between the horse and the saddle to prevent the saddle from slipping due to horse’s sweat and protect the horse’s back from the injury caused by friction and abrasion of the saddle during the ride. It provides cushioning for the rider and evenly distributes the pressure of the rider.

Types Of Saddle Pads

Saddle pads can be made from different materials and come in a variety of colors and designs. You can find saddle pads made from cotton, wool, felt, synthetic fibers, or a combination of these materials. They can be quilted, padded, or flat. Organic sheepskin saddle pads are more popular and riders’ favorite these days. You can find English saddle pads for polo, show jumping, and eventing.

Why Use A Saddle Pad? 

There is no reason to not use saddle pads as they offer a range of functions despite offering protection and pulling heat and moisture away from the horse’s back. Saddle pads distribute the weight on the horse's back evenly and offer a perfect fit. 

If you want to dissipate moisture and want to keep the saddle clean and dry, you can use a thin pad. Wool pads are ideal for wicking away moisture as wool is a natural insulator. It traps air between its fibers and also keeps the horse’s back warm in winter. 

Choosing the Right Saddle Pad

When you are in the market to buy a saddle pad, you must consider some factors such as your riding style, size and fit of the saddle, the anatomy of your horse, the sport you are going to take part in and the style and aesthetics of the pad. 

Saddle Pads

  1. Saddle Pad Purpose

Don’t just buy the saddle pad based on the style and design. You should consider your purpose of using the saddle pad first; it should cushion the horse’s back, evenly distribute the rider’s weight, and protect the saddle from wear and tear and dirt and sweat.

Also consider the type of riding and the terrain you are riding on; does it include more jumps? If you’re a hunter jumper, you should buy a non-slip saddle pad that reduces shock. On the flip side, if you use Western gear, choose a thicker saddle pad to accommodate the more rigid saddle tree.

  1. The Saddle Fit

A perfectly fit saddle pad when used with saddle-fitting shims contributes to a good riding experience. Shims are foam inserts or gel inserts that go into the saddle pad. They can be both layered and trimmed to adjust to the horse’s body shape. A shimmable saddle pad can balance the saddle comfortably and relieve pressure points on the horse’s back. 

When you use saddle pads with shims, you can address problems like high withers, kissing spine and hollow or sway backs. If you want to make sure that the saddle pad fits perfectly to your horse’s back, it’s always wise to take advice from an experienced saddler. This will save your equine buddy from discomfort and injuries. 

  1. Style and Aesthetics

While functionality reigns supreme, let us not overlook the aesthetic aspect. Saddle pads come in an array of colors and designs, allowing riders to express their personality and style. Embrace the opportunity to add a touch of flair to your riding ensemble while ensuring your horse's well-being.

Saddle pads

Leather Saddle Pads You Should Buy 

  1. Fleece Saddle Pad by SETZI

Setzi is the name of comfort when it comes to horse gear. You will feel a perfect blend of comfort and the enduring partnership between rider and horse. Setzi’s saddle pad is handcrafted by skilled craftsmen using premium Italian leather to ensure both comfort and performance. The pad comes with clear instructions for optimal placement to ensure a balanced fit.

Saddle Pads
  1. English Sympatex Saddle Pad 

This English Sympatex saddle pad is designed for riders seeking the utmost comfort and for their horse and themselves. It’s made with German Friedola Sympathex layer with breathable properties to prevent heat buildup so that your horse stays cool throughout the ride, regardless of weather conditions. Weighing at an optimal 0.935 kg, this saddle pad offers both comfort and performance and is ideal for jumping, dressage, or enjoying leisurely rides.

  1. VESTRUM Bonn Jumping Saddle Pad

This Italian saddle pad offers unparalleled elegance and superior comfort. Its internal part is made of 100% cotton in a unique “waffle stitch” to offer excellent grip and a gentle touch for your horse’s back. Its quilted stretch fabrics ensure a tailored fit, enhancing your riding experience while preventing fading on your horse’s back. This pad comes in a versatile one-size-fits-all, weighing only 920g, making it an ideal choice for the Autumn/Winter season.