What's the best saddle pad?

Discussion in 'Tack & Equipment' started by BelgiLingerGal, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. BelgiLingerGal

    BelgiLingerGal Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2009
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    Every company says their pad is the best. Which actually is best? My horse suffered some injury to her back from a Bob Marshall treeless saddle and Skito pad combination. My horse is a Haflinger/Belgian cross and very wide. I'm having a treed saddle custom made for her, but I want a new pad to go under it. I do trail riding, and i may be in the saddle for 6 or 8 hours a day, several times a week.
    Felt seems to be the first choice of most people. I've looked at 5star pads. I'm not sure how well they distribute weight.
    Neoprene/closed cell foams build up heat and sweat. They seem slippery looking.
    Tacky pads pull the hair.
    Real sheepskin pads are a good choice, but not very shock absorbing.
    Gel pads have gotten poor reviews
    I like the CSI saddle pad, the plastic piece seems like it would do a good job of distribuiting pressure, and there is a felt liner option instead of foam
    The Len Brown corrector pad seems interesting, but I don't know if I could figure out where to stick the shim things.
    Is a navajo blanket supposed to go under your pad, or on top? I've seen both.

    Suggestions? I want the thinnest pad that offers the most protection. I know that no pad will fix a poor fitting saddle. If I'm going to spend $300 on a pad, I want it to do what it's supposed to...cushion, protect, distribute weight, and wick away moisture.
  2. LuckyAshley

    LuckyAshley Senior Member+

    Oct 20, 2005
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    I love my Classic Equine ESP - felt bottom. It has a memory foam layer in it. I have actually heard good things about the gel pads as well though. Good luck!
  3. MissJosieBee

    MissJosieBee Senior Member

    Jul 2, 2009
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    I have only had my pad since Christmas but love it so far. It is 100% better than my old felt one. It is a high quality wool one by 5 star.
    But you said you want a thin one so you should try a thinline pad. I've never used one but some people say they are absolutely great.
  4. AppGal

    AppGal Full Member

    Feb 25, 2008
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    I agree with MissJosieBee....I bought a 5 Star wool pad at the beginning of December and it's superb. My horse is very comfortable and I like that the wool wicks sweat and heat away as well as conforms to their back.
  5. MissKitty

    MissKitty Senior Member+

    Dec 28, 2008
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    Real wool felt is the best way too go. It distributes the weight far better than most 'orthopedic' pads that usually break down over time. It lasts far longer than any other pad material. Traps less heat than most other pads, rubs less and slips less.

    I have two Tod Sloan 100% wool felt pads in the contour style, one is over 10 years old, the other isn't far behind. Both are still in excellent shape considering the use they've had. A good hosing at the car wash a couple times a summer and they're good to go. I've never had one rub or sore a horse, or burn them like so many ortho pads can.

    Really doesn't matter what brand pad you buy, it's the material that matters. Our one gelding is about as round as they come and the contour style really helps to keep the saddle where it needs to stay, even when dragging calves or logs or riding rough terrain.

    ETA: We use a single layer wool navajo under the wool felts at times to help keep them clean. The navajo's tend to go on top for show, underneath for performance. ;)
  6. CrazyHorse

    CrazyHorse Senior Member

    Jul 4, 2004
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    Believe it or not, this is the best saddle pad I have ever used. I love it! It does not slip, it's 1/2" and is the perfect thickness. I have noticed a huge improvement with this saddle pad. You can't tell the difference between this pad and a 100% wool pad :) It's also about half the price of a 5 star ;)


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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2015
  7. Reitpferde

    Reitpferde Senior Member+

    Mar 5, 2008
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    If you are having a saddle custom made, you really don't need to put a lot of money into a pad.
  8. tlwidener

    tlwidener Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2008
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    I agree. I too prefer wool felt pads. I am planning on getting thinline pad soon though to go on top of the wool pad. So I'll be using a 1/2" or 3/4" wool pad and a Thinline halfpad (western.) When showing we'll throw a Mayatex wool blanket on top.

    Wool pads distribute heat and pressure well. They are easy to wash. One thing I look for is leather wear strips. I also like cutouts under my leg.
  9. luvs2ride79

    luvs2ride79 Senior Member+

    Aug 3, 2004
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    I have had great luck with both Skito pads and Supracor. The problem your horse had was likely due to an innapropriate saddle (Bob Marshall saddles do not generally do well on WIDE horses) and too much padding compensating. Don't blame the whole pad company for his problems ;).

    If you're going to spend that much time in the saddle, then a Skito Dryback with the quilted felt bottom and 3/4" foam would be a good choice. Or the Supracor Barrel Racing or Reining/Roping pad. The reining/roping pad has extra firm cushion at the front of the pad, taking pressure off the shoulders, and back of the pad, protecting those rear ribs and loins (no thicker, just firmer).

    I know some people who just love their Saddleright pads and others who have great luck with Equipedic pads (similar to Skito). For every saddle pad, you'll find someone who loves it ;).
  10. windspeed

    windspeed Full Member

    Jul 3, 2009
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    The best saddle pad is one that prevents FRICTION, not impact... (see the old M&M and hammer test shown at horse fairs...). The constant movement of the horizontal spine (horse) against the vertical spine (human) is what causes back soreness. Fancy gel pads or thick single-layer pads do not help with that.
    For trail riders, endurance riders, or distance riders, the best thing is the old school Cavalry Saddle blanket. With it's multiple layers, it prevents friction and therefore back soreness in your horse. It also provides you with a softer ride. I love this ideal endurance saddle blanket and would not trade it for any other.
    1 person likes this.

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