7 Best Saddle Pads for Horses With Sore Back (Equestrian Review)

Looking for the best saddle pad for horse with sore back? 

Well, you’ve come to the right place and hopefully, my guide will help you find the perfect product for your horse.

I’ve gathered some of the western and English options here to save you searching, so let’s start!

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Also Check: Best Western Saddle Pad for Trail Riding

Top Saddle Pads for Horses With Sore Backs at a Glance

Don’t have time? Here is a quick comparison of our favorites!

Preview
Best Western Saddle Pad
Impact Gel Straight Back Felt Saddle Pad
Budget Friendly
weatherbeeta saddle pad
Best Endurance Saddle Pad
Product Image for t3 coolback saddle pad
Best English Saddle Option
equifit saddle pad
Great For High Withers
Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Elite Saddle Pad Premium Tan Topper with Fleece Bottom 1 inch (31 x 30, Dessert Rose)
Top Benefit
Distributes pressure
Soft and thick
Absorbs a large amount of impact
Soft but becomes rigid when necessary to absorb shock
Great for horses lacking muscle development
Check Latest Price
Best Western Saddle Pad
Preview
Impact Gel Straight Back Felt Saddle Pad
Top Benefit
Distributes pressure
Check Latest Price
Budget Friendly
Preview
weatherbeeta saddle pad
Top Benefit
Soft and thick
Check Latest Price
Best Endurance Saddle Pad
Preview
Product Image for t3 coolback saddle pad
Top Benefit
Absorbs a large amount of impact
Check Latest Price
Best English Saddle Option
Preview
equifit saddle pad
Top Benefit
Soft but becomes rigid when necessary to absorb shock
Check Latest Price
Great For High Withers
Preview
Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Elite Saddle Pad Premium Tan Topper with Fleece Bottom 1 inch (31 x 30, Dessert Rose)
Top Benefit
Great for horses lacking muscle development
Check Latest Price

7 Best Saddle Pads For Horses With Sore Back

Once you discover that your horse gets a sore back or if you want to prevent this, you will need a saddle pad for the job.

There are many to choose from, which makes picking one overwhelming. What is important is that you look for quality. Unfortunately, really cheap options won’t help and could make the soreness work.

After using many different types of saddles pads over the years and talking to other equestrians, I have several favorites.

So let’s take a look at my top picks.

#1 (WINNER) Impact Gel Straight Back Felt Saddle Pad – Best Western Saddle Pad

saddle pad

If you want a high-quality western saddle pad for your horse that can get a sore back, then this is a top pick. Not only does it help relieve and prevent your horse’s back pain, but it can also help riders that suffer this as well.

The Impact Gel pad uses a specially designed laying system of gel and 100% felt to help distribute pressure evenly and absorb shock. It provides ventilation to reduce heat build-up.

The shape of this pad is particularly good for round horses or those with mutton withers.

Let’s take a closer look.

Physical Attributes

  • Impact Gel Base Layer System
  • High quality felt
  • Durable leather trim
  • Ventilation holes

Benefits Impact Gel Straight Back Felt Saddle Pad

  • Great for mutton wither horses
  • Distributes pressure
  • Absorbs shock
  • Good ventilation
  • Non-slip

Drawbacks Impact Gel Straight Back Felt Saddle Pad

  • Expensive
  • Only suitable for western saddles
  • Limited color choices

How it Compares to Others and Why

One great feature of this pad is that it is made in the USA with high-quality materials. However, this makes it one of the most expensive options. But if the price fits your budget, it is well worth it.

Expert Tips

If you get an Impact Gel saddle pad it’s important to look after it so it lasts many rides. Here’s an expert tip on how to clean these great pads.

What Other Horse Parents Are Saying About Impact Gel Straight Back Felt Saddle Pad

Even though this pad is expensive, horse parents that use it love it!. AmyLou has this to say: “This is great for my Haffie mare, no more saddle slipping, and also seems to have eliminated pressure points.” 

Impact Gel Straight Back Felt Saddle Pad
  • Contains the Impact Gel Base Layer System
  • Handcrafted and sewn in the USA
  • Heavy-duty wear leathers ensure years of durability
  • Flexibility and even pressure point distribution
  • Close-contact

READ MORE: Best Half Pads for Cold Backed Horses

#2 WeatherBeetaMemory Foam Comfort Half Pad – Budget Friendly

weatherbeeta saddle pad

Memory foam is one of the most popular materials used by riders today. It is great at making sure pressure is evenly distributed and helps some saddles fit better.

While some memory foam pads are expensive, this is a good budget-friendly option if you want the best saddle pad for horse with sore back. This is a half pad, so you can put it on top of a regular thin saddle pad.

It is designed to fit English saddles and comes from the popular equestrian brand, WeatherBeeta.

Physical Attributes

  • Contour shape
  • Half-pad
  • Anti-microbial material
  • Comes is black

Benefits WeatherBeetaMemory Foam Comfort Half Pad

  • Soft and thick
  • Dries quickly
  • Cushions back
  • Shock absorbing
  • Distributes pressure

Drawbacks WeatherBeetaMemory Foam Comfort Half Pad

  • A bit thick for some jumping saddles
  • Memory loses its shape after a while

How it Compares to Others and Why

If your horse has a sore back but you have a limited budget this is one of the cheaper options. It is only suitable for English saddles and does not have shims like some options. When using this pad, put it on top of a regular saddle pad, like a jumping square.

Expert Tips

Learn more about memory foam saddle pads, their purpose, and how they affect fit from an expert saddle fitter in this video.

What Other Horse Parents Are Saying About WeatherBeetaMemory Foam Comfort Half Pad

Oglivy is one of my favorite horse brands, however it is pretty expensive. I love their memory foam pads but they WeatherBeeta is very similar and offers a much cheaper alternative.

Take a look at this horse parent who also found the WeatherBeeta a great option.

#3 T3 CoolBack Endurance Pad Extreme-Pro Impact – Best Endurance Saddle Pad

Product Image for t3 coolback saddle pad

If you are an endurance rider, you know well the impact of spending many hours in the saddle on both yourself and your horse.

This saddle time can lead to soreness in your horse’s back, so a good saddle pad is essential. For an easy to maintain pad that will help you and your horse’s comfort during endurance rides, this is one of the best options.

It will help give your horse and you a more comfortable ride.

Physical Attributes

High density XRD®, a material is used to help protect NFL players from impact

  • 13mm thick
  • Removable foam inserts
  • 7 color choices
  • Velcro inserts closure

Benefits T3 CoolBack Endurance Pad Extreme-Pro Impact 

  • Absorbs a large amount of impact
  • Flexible
  • Not overly thick
  • Wither clearance
  • Medical grade synthetic fleece material

Drawbacks T3 CoolBack Endurance Pad Extreme-Pro Impact 

  • Expensive
  • Shape only suitable for Endurance saddles

How it Compares to Others and Why

These impact absorbing horse saddle pads are only suitable for endurance saddles due to its shape. It is also pretty expensive but uses the highest quality materials to absorb shock.

However, they do make pads to suit different riding disciplines, including a western saddle pad.

Expert Tips

Professional Mounted Shooter, Emily, tested the impact materials of the impact pad against the materials used in other saddle pads. See the test and results here.

What Other Horse Parents Are Saying About T3 CoolBack Endurance Pad Extreme-Pro Impact 

Despite the price, many riders state this is one of their favorite pads to help their horse’s comfort and hopefully prevent sore backs.

See what horse parents and champion western riders have to say about the western saddle version of this pad here.

#4 EquiFit ImpacTeq Half Pad – Best English Saddle Option

equifit saddle pad

The most common types of saddle pads English riders use to prevent sore backs is a half pad. EquiFit is a high-end brand that is well known for its excellent, shock-absorbing tendon boots.

The ImpacTeq Saddle Pad, is personally in my top three favorites, probably right behind EcoGold in my opinion. This makes it one of the best English saddle pad for horse with sore back you can find.

It provides protection without being too thick making it one of the best saddle pads for horses with sore backs.

Physical Attributes

  • Mesh to allow heat to escape
  • EquiFit’s ImpacTeq Technology
  • Contour, half pad shape
  • Non-newtonian foam
  • Comes in black

Benefits EquiFit ImpacTeq Half Pad

  • Not too thick, like memory foam can be
  • Soft but becomes rigid when necessary to absorb shock
  • Reduces risk of making your horse’s back sore

Drawbacks EquiFit ImpacTeq Half Pad

  • Pretty expensive
  • Only suitable for English saddles

How it Compares to Others and Why

If you want an English saddle pad that helps with a sore back this is one of the most versatile options due to it being thinner than some other options. However, it might not suit every equestrian’s budget.

Expert Tips

If you decide to use a half pad for a horse’s sore back, it is important that it fits correctly as you can actually make the problem worse. Learn how to fit a half pad from an expert here.

What Other Horse Parents Are Saying About EquiFit ImpacTeq Half Pad

There are a lot of English saddle half pads available, which makes choosing one for your horse, particularly challenging. Especially if your horse is prone to a sore back.

The riders in this video spend a lot of time in the saddle, so a good protective saddle pad is important. Check out what they think about the options, including the EquiFit ImpacTeq here.

# 5 Toklat Matrix Woolback Ortho Impact Shim Pad – Best Western Shim Pad

toklat saddle pad

Wondering what is the best western saddle pad for a sore back? Then don’t move on before looking at this western shim pad. In my opinion, it is one of the best. 

I love how you can adjust it, since it has shims that you can move, remove, and adjust with different thicknesses. This makes it suitable for many different horses and riders.

Physical Attributes

  • 100 percent wool lining
  • Genuine leather trim
  • Square shape with contour
  • Ortho-Impact inserts
  • Poron XRD® foam
  • Memory foam

Benefits Toklat Matrix Woolback Ortho Impact Shim Pad

  • Helps compensate for uneven muscle development
  • Flexible, not restricting range of motion
  • Wool lining adds an extra layer of shock protection
  • Great at moisture control

Drawbacks Toklat Matrix Woolback Ortho Impact Shim Pad

  • Pricey
  • Only suitable for western saddles
  • Limited color choices

How it Compares to Others and Why

This pad is part of the T3 line, which I introduced to you are little earlier. However, this pad has removable shims and a wool underside. 

Wool is one of the best materials for shock absorption, heat regulation, and moisture-wicking according to the United States Dressage Federation. [1]

Expert Tips

This saddle pad has many great features to help a sore back. One in particular is the wool lining. The quality of this saddle cloth makes it expensive, however, sometimes this is better for your horse if you can stretch your budget.

Assistant professor of equine studies at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Debra Powell, PhD, PAS, agrees and has this to say on the subject – “inexpensive pads are often made of polyester or nylon, but they are less comfortable for the horse than natural fibers, and they lack the ability to wick moisture and heat away from the horse’s back.” [2]

What Other Horse Parents Are Saying About Toklat Matrix Woolback Ortho Impact Shim Pad

I really like this horse parent, she gives honest, educated reviews. Here she compares the Matrix Woolback with a competing pad, where it comes out, on top. She what she has to say here.

#6 Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Elite Saddle Pad – Great For High Withers

saddle pad

If your horse has high withers, you need to take extra care when choosing a saddle pad. It must has enough room in the wither area so it doesn’t add extra pressure.

This is one of the best western saddle pads for sore backs that you can get the not only provides this protection but also suits high withered horses.

Physical Attributes

  • Wither cut out
  • Orthopedic grade felt
  • Fleece bottom
  • Poron XRD
  • Memory foam
  • Leather trims
  • 3 color choices

Benefits Equine OrthoRide Elite Saddle Pad

  • Durable
  • Great for horses with high withers
  • Great for horses lacking muscle development
  • Excellent impact absorption

Drawbacks Equine OrthoRide Elite Saddle Pad

  • For western saddles only
  • Not the cheapest

How it Compares to Others and Why

While this saddle pad isn’t cheap, it is priced lower than the Toklat Matrix Woolback Ortho Impact. Making it more accessible for some riders who want a quality pad but have a budget under $200.

It is one of the best options for keeping your horse comfortable.

Expert Tips

Not only does this pad rank among the best western saddle pads for horses with sore backs options, but it is also great for helping with ill-fitting saddles.

Glen Aspinal, a professional trainer, is a big fan of using this pad on his champion reining and cow horses to help saddle fit. See what he has to say here.

What Other Horse Parents Are Saying About Equine OrthoRide Elite Saddle Pad

As you see, in addition to sore back protection this saddle blanket is fantastic for horses with high withers. Horse parent, Kimberly, uses it on her horse with this confirmation – “Best saddle pad on the market for narrow withered horses! High quality materials and construction.”

Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Elite Saddle Pad Premium Tan Topper with Fleece Bottom 1 inch (31 x 30, Dessert Rose)
  • ✓ SOLVE SADDLE FIT PROBLEMS - Before you buy another expensive saddle.
  • ✓ PERFECT for HIGH WITHERED horses where SADDLE RUBS on WITHER
  • ✓ PORON-RXD under the saddle bars ABSORBS up to 90% OF SHOCK.
  • ✓ 1 Year Satisfaction Warranty
  • ✓ Fleece Bottom

#7 Weaver Leather Contoured Shock-Absorbing Gel Wool Blend Saddle Pad – Gel Insert

saddle pad

In addition to the wide variety of foam saddle pads available to help horses with sore backs, you will find those that use gel.

Gel is popular because it doesn’t add to the thickness of the pad. It is good, though not my favorite when compared with layered foam.

Physical Attributes

  • Comes with wool or wool felt lining
  • Leather trim
  • Gel inserts
  • Orthopedic felt
  • Breathable material

Benefits Weaver Leather Contoured Shock-Absorbing Gel Wool Blend Saddle Pad

  • Durable
  • Absorbs shock
  • Wicks moisture away from the skin

Drawbacks Weaver Leather Contoured Shock-Absorbing Gel Wool Blend Saddle Pad

  • Expensive
  • Some users find it makes there saddle slip

How it Compares to Others and Why

This saddle pad differs from some other options as it doesn’t use any foam to absorb shock, just gel and of course, the thick felt also helps. It is also made in the USA, which is hard to find these days.

Expert Tips

Weaver has been making western riding equipment for many years and takes pride in its dedication to creating quality products. 

They have a wealth of knowledge, including tips on the best way to take care of your Weaver saddle pad. See their expert tips here.

What Other Horse Parents Are Saying About Weaver Leather Contoured Shock-Absorbing Gel Wool Blend Saddle Pad

This saddle blanket isn’t only great for horses with sore backs, it is great for mules as well. Horse parent, Angela, has this to say – “I was looking for something to help with my Mules sensitive back and believe I have found it in this pad.”

Weaver Leather Contoured Layered Felt Saddle Pad with Gel Insert Tan, 31 x 32
  • dark gray, 3/8" wool contoured layered felt saddle pad and a gel insert
  • The gel insert absorbs shock at pressure points to provide both you and your horse with protection.
  • The black orthopedic felt bottom shapes to the horse’s back, provides shock absorption and wicks away moisture.

What to Consider in a Saddle Pad for Horses With Sore Backs

If your horse has a sore back, a regular, cheap saddle pad is not going to help matters. You will need to invest in something that helps prevent and alleviate this issue.

With that in mind, there are a few things you need to consider.

Material

The material your saddle pad is made of greatly influences how well it protects your horse’s back. Horses with sore backs will need something that distributes pressure evenly, absorbs shock, provides cushion, and allows the back to move freely.

The main materials you will see and should consider are memory foam, specialty foams, which hold their shape better than memory foam, gel, and wool fleece.

You will also see synthetic fleece, however, steer clear of this as it is not good are the above qualities you will need.

Look out for labels that say therapeutic saddle pad or something similar. This is usually an indication that the right type of materials are used that you need.

Make sure to check the best saddle pad for older horse.

Saddle Pad Shape and Size

To avoid pressure points and rubs, you need to ensure the saddle pad for sore backs fits your horse and saddle correctly.

READ MORE: Can You Jump in a Dressage Saddle?

FAQs

Still have some questions? That’s ok, I know you just want to do the best for your horse. Here are some answers to questions I’ve heard from equestrians over the years.

Does ThinLine help horses with a sore back?

ThinLine is a great option for horses with a sore back. Their half pads are thin and help prevent soreness issues and relieve pressure points.

What to do if your horse has a sore back?

When you first notice that your horse has a sore back you should call out a qualified equine physiotherapist and vet to do an evaluation and treatment to find the underlying cause. You should also use a saddle pad that will help with soreness issues.

What is the best half pad for shock absorption?

My favorite half pad for shock absorption is EcoGold, but EquiFit, Thinline, and Toklat are also top picks.

Final Thoughts

If your horse is showing pain you want the best saddle pad for horse with sore back. Here I’ve given you some of my all time favorites that will certainly help your horse.

Just remember not to use the saddle pad as a permanent fix. If your horse’s back is sore, there is a reason. You should always get this checked and treated by a good equine vet and physiotherapist.

Not treating the cause of the back pain can lead to behavioral issues and chronic back issues. So my advice is to evaluate, treat, and use a high-quality pad to protect and prevent.

Happy riding!

Impact Gel Straight Back Felt Saddle Pad
  • Contains the Impact Gel Base Layer System
  • Handcrafted and sewn in the USA
  • Heavy-duty wear leathers ensure years of durability
  • Flexibility and even pressure point distribution
  • Close-contact

equestrian putting saddle pad to her horse

What is your favorite saddle pad for horses with sore backs? Let us know below!

References

  • 1. Bryant J. Available from: https://www.usdf.org/EduDocs/Tack/Saddle_Pads.pdf
  • 2. Deconstructing the Saddle Pad [Internet]. The Horse. 2018. Available from: https://thehorse.com/139410/deconstructing-the-saddle-pad/
Siun L
Siun L

Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
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