Saddle pad – types of pads and when to use them

Eskadron Classic Sports Summer 2020 cotton saddle pads

On the market of equestrian accessories more and more popular become saddle pads made of various synthetic materials. How to pick the right product for you and your horse? What types can you see in equestrian stores?

Saddle pad – what is it?

This accessory will surely be among the equipment of many riders. It helps to correctly fit the saddle to the horse’s back. Thanks to a pad, the horse’s spine is supported and the impacts of the rider’s movements are cushioned.

Kingsland Summer 2020 saddle pad
Kingsland Summer 2020 saddle pad


A saddle pad should make the equipment to fit the horse’s back as close to ideal as possible. However, you need to remember that the pad is only supposed to correct, not drastically change a wrongly matched saddle. The withers bar when it is too wide or too narrow cannot be fixed even when you have the best pad available on the market. Not many people know that you can use a professional fitter to help you find the perfect pad. So if you have the chance to use the service of such a person, it is worth trying.

Types of pads

Fitting the pad to the horse’s back but also the human’s spine is crucial and has a direct impact on the comfort of the rider and, most of all, the horse. Before buying a pad, you should learn about all types of pads, as the market offers a rich range of them. That would allow you to pick a product that would meet your and your horse’s needs.

Natural fur numnah

This type of accessory is very popular in the equestrian market. This product is made of sheep wool that has amazing cushioning properties and drains moisture well. Before buying this kind of numnah, you should mind that it might narrow the saddle even of one size and you should pay special attention to whether it has a spine channel.

Gel pad

Busse gel saddle pad

Its main task is to protect the back from impacts and to evenly distribute pressure. This type of pads often have perforated surface – it provides proper breathability. One of the biggest advantages of this type of pads is that it does not absorb sweat so that the pad cannot develop bacteria. What is more, it is exceptionally easy to clean. You can just rinse it with running water and wait until it dries.

Faux fur pad

Busse numnah with faux fur

While deciding on this type of saddle pad, you should mind that the synthetic material of which the product is made can conglomerate with time and not look so aesthetically as it does when it is brand new. What is more, a conglomerated faux fur does not provide proper amortization of impacts. However, this kind of pad would be great for those, who for ethical reasons do not want to buy a pad made of natural fur.


Sponge / foam saddle correction pad

A saddle pad made of this material can lose its shape with time. This product, however, is a low-budget solution but it wears out a lot faster than other types.

Foam pad

Memory foam saddle pad

This product is often properly profiled so that it is best fitted to the saddle. Among foams, we differentiate two kinds – a stiffer one and memory foam. Memory foam fits the shape of the horse’s back with warmth. It is worth noting that unlike sponge pads, this one does not lose its shape.

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