Horse Saddle pads for trail riding are used to make sure that the ride is comfortable for both the rider and the horse. A saddle pad lies between the horse and the saddle to help in absorbing the equine’s sweat. Moreover, it also reduces the friction between the saddle and the horse’s hair and skin, which would otherwise bother the animal during a long ride.
Riders have the option of choosing from two kinds of horse saddle pads to enhance their trail riding experience. Western horse saddle pads are larger and heavier. They tend to absorb and distribute pressure from the weight of the rider and the saddle to provide utmost comfort. On the contrary, English horse saddle pads are smaller and lighter. Furthermore, their design gives a closer contact to the rider with the horse’s mouth.
Best Horse Saddle Pads for Trail Riding
As a novice trail-rider, there are high chances of feeling overwhelmed due to the huge variety of horse saddle pads prevailing in the market. To begin with, let’s cut down to reviewing the 12 best saddle pads for trail riding.
But before that, here are our top three picks for the best saddle pad for trail riding:
- Best overall: Diamond Wool Felt Ranch Saddle Pad
- Runner-up: BioFit Correction Felt Saddle Pad
- Best on a budget: Derby Originals All Purpose
1. Diamond Wool Felt Ranch Saddle Pad (Best for Trail Riding)
This classic beauty is breathable and most known for being the best in its price range. It’s good for trail riding because of wool felt that is offers immaculate cushioning and shock absorption. The pressure is lessened on your horse due to its thickness. This enables the horse to reach its full stamina which is why it is also the best western horse saddle pad.
The highly elastic wool allows the saddle pad to interlock with the hair of your horse and prevents chances of slipping. However, if your trail is not so friendly and full of thick twigs and leaves, stick to felt rather than wool.
- Value for money
- It reduces slipping chances
- Most breathable saddle pad
- Not suitable for hot environments
- Quiet stiff when new, but becomes better with usage
- Not easy to clean
- Can be stinky because of being unclean
It is a mid-range saddle pad that is made of a fine mixture of fleece and wool. Due to the strong material being used, it is breathable which is good for trail riding because if the saddle pad is more breathable, the horse would sweat less resulting in fewer chances of aiding in the horse’s sore back. In short, if your horse has a backache, this saddle pad will be ideal. Another main feature is its contoured design.
- Great cushioning
- High-withered design
- Contoured design for hard-to-fit horses eg. Horses with narrow backs
- Fairly expensive
- Possibility of shifting too far back and out of position.
The main highlight of this saddle pad is its contoured shape precisely fitting the horse’s back. This saddle pad is made of dense wool blended with felt which provides greater comfort for the horse. Its material is set in such a way that its cushioning wicks away moisture, which is the key if you’re planning trail riding for longer hours because it protects the horses back from unnecessary pressure. To summarize, it is the best saddle pad for heavy riders with perfect quality and is budget-friendly at the same time.
- Easy to maintain and clean
- Ideal for longer hours of trail riding
- Mold resistant
- Protects the horse’s spine
- Not such a good shock absorber
- This pad is shorter
- Less durable
This saddle pad is the right pick if you are willing to spend some extra bucks. It is made of pure wool which is the reason why it is durable and absorbs shock. The wool is compact and aids in bearing the weight of the saddle along with the rider. It is very breathable and has some inbuilt cooling techniques which make it a good trail riding horse saddle pad.
- Inbuilt cooling technology
- High Withered and contoured design
- Excellent shock absorbing
- Not geared for high withered horses
- Not easy to clean
For whatever reason you decide to ride a horse, it is always a good idea to invest in the right saddle pad for your horse, and the Derby Originals is one to make it to the list of the ones you should consider.
This saddle pad is an all-purpose one that is designed to enable you to create a customized fit for the horse. It is built in such a way that its shape provides comfort to the horse’s sensitive areas. If you’re off to a longer trail ride, it has an in-built pocket that might be handy. It is made of fleece, which means breathability and less sweating of the horse.
- Breathable, less horse sweating
- In-built pocket
- Protects horses sensitive areas
- Horse comfort
- Wide range of color options
- Ideal for any type of English saddle
- It appears to have poor construction
This is a low-end saddle pad that is excellent for time-to-time and laid-back trail riding. It is made of wool which cools the horse and wickers the moisture maintaining the horse’s body temperature. This saddle pad comes in a variety of sizes and so you can easily pick the one suitable for your horse. However, if you are a regular trail rider and prefer to go on longer and rough rides, we wouldn’t recommend this trail pad.
- Low-end price
- Good fit for highly withered horse
- Variety of sizes
- Quality wool
- Great for beginners
- Not reliable for rough rides
- Slippage possible
This saddle pad is a worthy pick if you are looking for some strong contour correction features. This provides better safety to the horse. The material of the pad is breathable and shock absorbing which protects the horses back from damage when riding, especially in trail rides. It is more suitable for smaller horses. However, this pad is not so suitable for large or high withered horses. It also has moisture-wicking quality.
- Padded with memory foam lining
- Smooth round edges
- Shock absorbing
- Ideal for small horses or short back horses
- Perfect for Western saddles
- Not suitable for large horses
- Difficult to wash
- Not suitable for high withered horses
Just like its name suggests, this one is a professional midrange saddle pad suitable for all trail levels that promises both safety and comfort. It comes in a combination of fleece, wool, and foam and hence protects the horse from withers and absorbs shocks. Moreover, the saddle pad provides an excellent fitting thanks to its thoughtful style and design.
- Does not slip.
- The comfort of the horse due to the cooling system
- Breathable and shock absorbing
- Lastly, a cool design
- Not long enough
- Not a correction pad that is designed for high withered horses
This is a budget-friendly western horse saddle pad which, as evident by its name, is made of merino fleece wool.
It is breathable, absorbs moisture and is a highly durable saddle pad that protects the horse’s back from shocks and provides comfort to the horse.
- Easy to clean
- Wicks away moisture
- Shock absorber
- Not a correction pad
Back on track horseback pad is known for the comfort it provides to the horse. It relieves the horse’s muscle pains or soreness and keeps the horse warm. This warmth makes sure that the blood constantly pumps in the horse which aids in faster recovering of the horse’s soreness. Because of the comfort, it provides to the horse it is the perfect saddle pad for trail riding.
- Helps enhance the pumping of blood in the horse
- Helps the horse heal
- Easy to clean
- Highly durable
- Not so thick
This pad is the best western saddle pad for trail riding because it is large and thick. It has unique cut-outs and the perfect contoured design. This saddle pad made out of wool and felt’s combination is highly durable, breathable, and shockproof which makes it a perfect pick for trail riding.
- Moisture absorption
- Contoured pad
- Could shift saddle out of required place
The Diamond Wool saddle pad is contoured along the spine allowing it to fit instantly. The pockets comprise of a combination of wool and felt shims. You have the option to remove these to better fit your saddle. It has a durable top that is also made of wool.
- Removable shims
- Variety of colors
- Difficult to clean, may shrink it cleaned with hot water
- Difficult to keep in place
Read This Before Buying Your Next Saddle Pad for Trail Riding
There are certain factors you should keep in mind when looking for the best saddle pad if you want to have a smooth ride. Some of them are listed as per below and are definite to impact your buying decision:
One of the most important aspects of saddle pads for trail riding is the fitting, no matter which riding style you prefer. Understandably, a poorly fitting saddle pad will not serve its purpose well. A misfit saddle pad is likely to slide off or create sores on the horse’s skin. Besides, trying to fix this by putting on layers of padding will only be a temporary solution. Neither the horse nor the rider will be comfortable throughout the ride. Hence, the saddle pad, no matter how expensive or budget-friendly, shouldn’t be too loose or tight.
Once you have ensured that the fitting of the saddle pad is perfect, the next step is to correctly position it on the horse’s back. It should come right in the middle, and the saddle, too, needs to be placed in the center, which is its ideal spot. The placement of the horse saddle pad, along with its proper fitting helps in guaranteeing protection of the equine’s back.
A good material saddle pad has a heavy impact on your horse’s comfort. When choosing saddle pads for trail riding, make sure to choose one made of breathable material to protect your horse from excessive heat during trail riding. Also keep in mind that the material’s durability, and ease of cleaning. Saddle pads with an underside of either fleece felt or neoprene material is the most feasible variety.
Moreover,Western horse saddle pads are generally thicker than English horse saddle pads because the western riders usually prefer longer periods of trail riding. This thickness helps distribute the rider’s weight on the saddle pad resulting in saving the horse’s back from extra pressure.
For western horse saddle pads, you should also keep in mind that the saddle pad needs to be durable enough. For example, it wouldn’t tear apart against a low branch of a tree during trail riding. It should also be weather resistant and should dry up quickly and be tough enough not to slip.
Value for Money
You’d surely want to make the right investment for your horse for providing it with the comfort level it deserves, right? Besides, if you plan on trail riding you’ll have to find a saddle pad that is durable and the best one out there for your horse. This will probably cost you some serious bucks but it would be worth it. However, if you’re riding or trail riding once in a blue moon you can opt for cheaper options, but we wouldn’t recommend that because it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Maintenance of Your Trail Riding Saddle Pad
As crucial as it is to get your hands on the best horse saddle pad for trail riding, it is equally important to take care of its maintenance. After all, what is the use of investing in a worthy saddle pad only to lose its effectiveness due to poor maintenance?
A well-maintained saddle pad can last for several years. So, make sure to air dry it before storing away, and place it upside down on a storage rack until you need it next. Also, it is better to set your horse saddle pad out in the sun to dry instead of using a dryer. This will prevent bacteria from accumulating. If you own a neoprene pad, a quick rinse is sufficient to remove residuals of dirt, sweat, and horse hair from it.
Lastly, understand that it is time to finally replace the saddle pad once it starts losing its filling. Do the same if you begin to face difficulty while washing or brushing the saddle pad back to its initial soft shape. Neoprene saddle pads should be switched when the material hardens or displays tears and cracks.
Also, always remember to take a look at the saddle pad’s tag for cleaning instructions to prevent unintentional damage.
FAQs Related to Trail Riding Saddle Pads
To further enhance your knowledge about horse saddle pads for trail riding, here are the answers to some important questions that are worth scrolling through!
What size saddle pad do I need?
Typically, 30 sq. inch pads are ideal for smaller riders. Whereas, larger riders can consider getting 23 sq. inch ones for themselves.
The size of your saddle pad should be such that it fits your horse snugly. English saddle pads are one-size-fits-all, but the skirt size varies in Western pads.
Overall, a saddle pad for trail riding should at least match the length of the saddle’s skirt, with a bit of extra length to spare at both ends.
What shape saddle pad should I choose?
Square saddle pads are the most common ones so you can simply use these.
Other convenient ones include round shaped saddle pads, cut-outs, and contoured saddle pads. Generally, square pads are best for horses with low withers and are the most affordable too. Round pads are also suitable for horses with short backs and the rounded corners help in preventing irritation as well.
On the other hand, if you own a horse that has high withers, going for cut-outs as saddle pads will be your best option. The cut-out padding provides an opening for the horse’s withers to pass through, hence reducing the pressure from the animal’s back as in the case with traditional saddle pads.
How thick should a western saddle pad be?
Ideally, a Western saddle pad should only be ¾” to 1 inch thick.
A Western saddle pad should neither be too thick nor too thin. Overly thick pads will shift easily, resulting in an uncomfortable ride. Moreover, trying to fix a poorly fit saddle by adding a much thicker pad is not a good idea either as this may lead to shifting of the pad during trail riding. Just make sure it offers a comfy fit for trail riding.
How often do you need to get a new saddle pad?
The average life span of saddle pads is two to three years if the use is not very recurrent and rough.
However, the need to get a new saddle pad arises when your existing one has gone through a fair share of wear and tear. Hence, how often you should replace your trail riding saddle pad entirely depends on how frequently you engage in the sport and how far your ride. The better you can maintain your saddle pad, the more you’ll be able to stretch its longevity.
What are the best saddle pads for English trail riding?
Here are some of the best English trail riding saddle pads:
- The TuffRider Trail Riding pad is best to provide your equine with utmost comfort while you are riding throughout the day. It even comes with handy pockets that offer ample storage on both sides. This means you can conveniently carry along snacks and a small kit with first aid essentials while trotting into the wilderness for trail riding.
- The generously sized Derby Originals All Purpose Saddle Pad is something that all enthusiastic English trail riders will love. It comes with velcro-close pockets to store all essentials during your horse-riding experience, and also alleviates the comfort level of both you and your equine buddy. Furthermore, its Velcro billet keepers along with the girth loops prevent the saddle pad from moving beneath the tack.
- Lemieux Prosport Suede Saddle Pad is another amazing option for English trail riding. This one features a classic close-contact cut that can fit various forward cut jumping saddles. It also flaunts iconic elasticated D-Ring tabs and a teardrop girth protection area for a more secured grip. Moreover, the suede top not only provides a luxurious touch to the saddle pad, but also helps to absorb and control sweat, minimize friction on horse skin, and ensure comfort and safety throughout a ride. Also, it is much easier to wash and dry this saddle pad as compared to any other lining fabric on saddle pads.
What are the best saddle pads for endurance trail riding?
Some of the best endurance trail riding saddle pads include the following:
- The Intrepid International Endurance Pad is a great investment as it tends to fit almost all kinds of saddles. While its underside is made from real wool, the interior has a felt and foam construction that provides extra comfort during long tough rides. It is easily washable too, so no need to worry about protecting it from dust on rough trails.
- If you are looking for guaranteed complete support during trail riding, the Tough-1(R) Contour Felt Endurance Saddle Pad is just what you need. It comes in contour shape and hence tends to easily fit on the back of most horses while minimizing pressure points. Moreover, the felt material absorbs the animal sweat, ensuring a comfortable ride on the longest trails.
- The Diamond Wool Endurance Contoured Felt Pad is highly recommended for Western riders. It is made of 50% polyester and 50% wool and contoured along the spinal area to enhance comfort. Moreover, the material choice is also effective in terms of preventing the saddle pad from slipping off the horse’s back on bumpy trails and minimizing heat build-up.
In trail riding, it is equally important that both the rider and the horse are safe and comfortable. For this purpose, the rider should do proper research before investing in the most suitable saddle pad. Besides, it is important to realize that horse saddle pads for trail riding are capable of a lot more than just ensuring comfort.
Although there is a vast range of Western saddle pads and English saddle pads available today, we hope that our top picks will help you find a saddle pad perfect for your trail riding experience. Also, don’t forget your helmet and gloves while riding. Have a safe and happy ride!