7 Best Saddle Pad For Older Horses (Expert Review)

Looking for the best saddle pads for an older horse?

Check out my guide where I’ve put together some fantastic options to keep your older horse comfortable while you ride.

Let’s get started!

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

Also Check: Best Saddle Pad for Trail Riding

Top Favorite Saddle Pads for Older Horse at a Glance

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

Editor's Choice
Preview
Southwestern Equine OrthoRide All Purpose Fleece Bottom Saddle Pad (31 x 32, Black with Turquoise Bloom)
Top Benefit
Thick and well padded
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Preview
Derby Originals Extra Comfort All Purpose English Saddle Pad with Removable Memory Foam, White
Top Benefit
Great for sensitive skin
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Preview
ECP Equine Comfort Products All Purpose Contoured Correction Saddle Pad with Adjustable Memory Foam
Top Benefit
Reduces pressure points
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Preview
Impact Gel Contour Saddle Pad
Top Benefit
Suits square and round back saddles
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Preview
Tough1 Contour Fit Build UP Felt Saddle Pad
Top Benefit
Suitable for high withers
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7 of the Best Saddle Pads for Older Horses – Equestrian Review

As your horse gets older its back will change and often a dip or even a more pronounced sway will become visible. They also can lose body condition and muscle mass [1].

Dr. Lydia Gray DVM gives a great introduction to how the horse’s body changes with age.

Because of these changes, it is often a good idea to look at the type of saddle pad you use and even change to one that is more suitable.

Here I’ve included some of my favorite older horse saddle pads to help you find the perfect one for you. Hopefully, it will help you filter through the many types of pads that can overwhelm you.

#1 Southwestern Equine OrthoRide All Purpose Fleece Bottom Saddle Pad

Southwestern Equine OrthoRide All Purpose Fleece Bottom Saddle Pad

If you ride western then your horse will thank you for this pad. In my opinion, despite the price, this is one of the best western saddle pads for older horses.

In addition to this particular OrthoRide, there are several varieties of the fantastic pad for different purposes. 

The OrthoRide contains PORON-RXD which provides high shock absorption. The wither relief version is great for horses the need plenty of wither clearance.

The pads are a good choice for sensitive horses [2] or those with sore backs. The materials are some of the best at helping the horse stay comfortable with the weight of the saddle and rider.

OrthoRide pads are suitable for a variety of western riding activities, including roping, barrel racing, young horse training, and trail riding.

Physical Attributes

  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Kidney shape inserts
  • Fleece underside
  • Poron XRD

Measurements

31 x 32 inches

Benefits of Southwestern Equine OrthoRide All Purpose Fleece Bottom Saddle Pad

BenefitsDrawbacks
Thick and well paddedNot suitable for high withered horses
Suitable for a variety of western riding activitiesExpensive
Works with a treeless saddle
Durable

How it Compares to Others

This saddle pad is versatile and you can use it for relaxing horseback trail riding or work in the arena. It is expensive but for an older horse, you want to best for its comfort.

Expert Tips

Western tack experts, Steve and Brandon, go through different types of saddle pads and what to consider when choosing one for your horse in this helpful video.

Southwestern Equine OrthoRide All Purpose Fleece Bottom Saddle Pad (31 x 32, Black with Turquoise Bloom)
  • Kidney insert of Poron XRD
  • Helps with stabilizing the Saddle in turns
  • Lightweight and Flexible to easily move naturally with your horse
  • Works great with Treeless Saddles as the "kidney" shape inserts help to provide ultimate spine relief
  • This saddle pad is the ultimate "go to" pad for ensuring your horses sore back days are behind him so you both can have a happy ride!

CHECK: Western Saddle Pad Fitting

#2 Derby Originals Extra Comfort All Purpose English Saddle Pad

Derby Originals Extra Comfort All Purpose English Saddle Pad with Removable Memory Foam

For English riders, take a look at this that comes with removable memory foam inserts. It’s one of my favorite pads for English saddles. If you need an all-purpose saddle pad I recommend you take a look at this one.

Physical Attributes

  • Velcro memory foam pockets
  • Quilted cotton fabric
  • Memory foam pads
  • Velcro billet strap

Measurements

  • 23 inches along the spine
  • 20 inches from spine to the bottom edge

Benefits & Drawbacks of Derby Originals Extra Comfort All Purpose English Saddle Pad

BenefitsDrawBacks
Great for sensitive skinReplacement memory foam inserts not available
Ideal for older horses or those with back muscle loss
Variety of color options
Shock absorbing

How it Compares to Others

This is a great all-around English saddle pad for older horses. It is also suitable for any horse that has is just coming back into work and needs to develop muscle and cold backed horses.

It is one of the better prices options.

Expert Tips

Besides a comfortable saddle pad, the changes to an older horse’s back can also mean the saddle itself needs adjusting and you encounter fit issues.

I found this video from expert saddle fitter, Ken Lyndon-Dykes, talking about older horse saddle fitting.

Derby Originals Extra Comfort All Purpose English Saddle Pad with Removable Memory Foam, White
  • Features two Velcro close pockets with removable memory foam inserts to ensure comfort for both horse and rider.
  • Designed with circle quilted, heavy duty soft cotton twill fabric.
  • Velcro billet keepers and girth loops to prevent tack from shifting.
  • Breathable spine to ensure air flow.
  • Sizing: Spine: 23, Drop: 20, Width at widest point : 26.

#3 Tough1 Contour Fit Build UP Felt Saddle Pad

Tough1 Contour Fit Build UP Felt Saddle Pad

If your horse has high withers and needs extra support for the back, consider this western saddle pad.

Physical Attributes

  • Extra padding in the wither and shoulder area
  • ¾ inch thickness on main areas
  • 1 ¾ inch thickness in built-up area
  • Felt material

Measurements

  • 31 x 32 inches

Benefits & Drawbacks of Tough1 Contour Fit Build UP Felt Saddle Pad

BenefitsDrawbacks
Suitable for high withersThe lower trim is plastic type material and not leather
Great for narrow shoulders
Good price

How it Compares to Others

Since the main built up area of this pad is in the front it won’t suit big shouldered horses as it could create too much pressure in that area. The first western saddle pad option will fit more horse body shapes.

MUST READ: Can You Use a Dressage Saddle Pad for Jumping?

#4 Weaver All Purpose Contour Aztec

Weaver All Purpose Contour Aztec 30x30 Pad Black

I love this durable, comfy western saddle pad. It has a well-cushioned, fleece bottom and fits a wide range of horses. For the price, it is good value and your older horse will love it.

Physical Attributes

  • Contour design
  • Maize fleece bottom
  • Leather trim
  • 5 color options

Measurements

  • 32 x 32 inches

Benefits & Drawbacks of Weaver All Purpose Contour Aztec

BenefitsDrawbacks
Easy to cleanA little long for a short backed horse
Great even cushioning
Good wither clearance
Decent price

How it Compares to Others

This pad is only suitable for western saddles. It is a good price for a quality pad at under $100.

While it isn’t super cheap, you need to plan for a more expensive saddle pad when you want something suitable for an older horse.

Expert Tips

The experts at Weaver put together this great video on correctly fitting a saddle pad. Take a look.

#5 ECP Correction All Purpose Contoured Saddle Pad

ECP Correction All Purpose Contoured Saddle Pad with Memory Foam Pockets

While I personally prefer English square saddle pads, many people like a more contoured look. I found this great contour saddle pad with memory foam inserts that is great for the older horse.

Physical Attributes

  • Contoured
  • 4 Velcro closure memory foam pockets
  • Tons of fun colors
  • Memory foam inserts
  • Velcro billet straps
  • Cotton fabric

Measurements

  • 22 inch spine
  • 19.5 inch drop

Benefits & Drawbacks of ECP Correction All Purpose Contoured Saddle Pad

BenefitsDrawbacks
Adjustable paddingNot the best quality memory foam
Great color choice
Budget friendly
Reduces pressure points
Pocks allow you to add additional padding

How it Compares to Others

Compared to the others this is a more budget-friendly option for English saddle. It also suits endurance saddles.

Expert Tips

Since saddle fit is so important I thought I’d include another video from an expert saddle fitter who gives some great tips for equestrians with older horses.

ECP Equine Comfort Products All Purpose Contoured Correction Saddle Pad with Adjustable Memory Foam
  • Contour your horse with supplied foam pads
  • Precise fit to the horse and the saddle
  • Compensates for changes in horse shape
  • Memory foam to better absorb shocks
  • 4 velcro closure pockets inserts supplied

#6 Impact Gel Classic Contour Pad

Impact Gel Contour Saddle Pad

I wish there was a pad like this for the English rider, it has everything you need in one piece and it is excellent for older horses. Unfortunately, only western riders have the pleasure of owning one of these beauties.

Physical Attributes

  • Internal gel layer
  • Wool material
  • Sturdy leather trim
  • 3 color choices

Measurements

  • ½, ¾ or 1 inch thick
  • 30 x 30 inches

Benefits & Drawbacks of Impact Gel Classic Contour Pad

BenefitsDrawbacks
3 thickness optionsExpensive
Even pressure distribution
Durable
Suits square and round back saddles
Made in the USA
Many happy horses without sore backs

ALSO CHECK: Saddle Pads for Horses with Sore Backs

How it Compares to Others

One of the more expensive higher-end options in my guide but worth it if you can stretch your budget. It comes in different thicknesses to suit your riding activity and horse’s needs, which isn’t always an option.

Expert Tips

What are the qualities that a top quality western saddle blanket has? Find out in this helpful video from an expert at NRS World.

Impact Gel Contour Saddle Pad
  • Shock absorbing gel that is temperature resistant and environmentally friendly
  • Unique wool blend allows air between the pad and horse, improving circulation
  • Handcrafted and sewn in the USA
  • Heavy duty wear leathers ensure years of durability
  • Flexibility and even pressure point distribution

#7 LeMieux Lambskin Close Contact Jumping Square

LeMieux Lambskin Close Contact Jumping Square Half Lined Saddle Pad Large Black

I have a very similar pad to this one and find it great, plus LeMieux is loved by equestrians and it is one of the most popular saddle pad brands. If you ride in a jump saddle, you will love this one.

This pad is half lined with wool. Wool is one of the best saddle pad materials for moisture-wicking, pressure distribution, and cushioning.

It is much better than artificial fleece, which doesn’t do a great job at the features I just mentioned.

Physical Attributes

  • Quilted cotton
  • Plush merino wool panels
  • Girth loops
  • Jumping saddle contour

Measurements

One size

Benefits & Drawbacks of LeMieux Lambskin Close Contact Jumping Square

BenefitsDrawbacks
High-Quality wool undersideExpensive
Washes wellGreat color choices but hard to find
Durable
Good pressure relief

How it Compares to Others

This is one of the only plush wool lined options, which gives it something special. It is one of the more expensive pads.

Expert Tips

Even for older horses, you can do certain exercises to help strengthen their topline. It is not just about the topline muscles but also abdominal muscles.

“It’s all about synergy between abdominal and deeper core muscles. They have to function synergistically with the back, with core dynamic stability” States bodywork expert Nicole Rombac.

Make sure to also check our list of the best half pad for shock absorption.

How to Choose a Saddle Pad

When choosing a saddle pad for older horses you need to consider some specifics. Saddle pad choices are certainly overwhelming with so much choice. To help you out I’ve provided you with an introduction here.

1. The Best Fit

When a horse loses condition along its back its withers and spine might become more prominent even if its weight is good.

Because of this, the fit needs extra care. A pad with extra cushion and one that is good at distributing weight is essential. You also want the pad to have more room along the spine so it doesn’t put too much pressure on this area.

If your horse has high or developed more prominent withers, you need a pad that is designed for this body shape. These pads will have more room in the wither area.

2. What Material is it Made of

The material of your saddle pad is also important. A fabric that is gentle on the skin and wicks moisture well is a great place to start. Wool is an amazing saddle pad material as it is good at both of these and also excellent for even weight distribution

3. The Right Size

Make sure the saddle pad size not only suits your horse’s shape but also adequately fits under your saddle. The correct size will extend beyond the back of the saddle by a couple of inches. This also goes for the length.

FAQs

I’m sure you have more questions. While I can’t answer everything in one guide, I’ve covered some common ones below.

What is the best saddle pad for an older horse with high withers?

leather saddle on top of a red saddle pad

The best saddle pad for an older horse with high withers will have a design that provides more wither room and has extra cushioning to fill the gap between the horse and the saddle. They will also help absorb shock..

Are felt saddle pads good?

Felt saddle pads are very good and a hugely popular material. They provide good breathability, cushioning, and moisture control. It is a great material for all-around riding activities.

Is felt or wool saddle pad better?

Saying whether a felt or wool saddle pad is better is not straightforward. The best quality felt pads are made with wool. Of course, there are also merino wool pads that are more fluffy. Both types are the top materials for saddle pads.

Conclusion

Fitting a horse with a dip in its back is hard enough and adding into it the aches of age, it becomes more difficult. The most important things to remember are that your horse gets plenty of shock absorption, comfort, and correct fit.

Final Recommendation

I hope you found some great ideas to suit your horse where your ride western or English.

I love all the options included here but if I had to pick I’d go for the LeMieux for English saddles and the Southwestern OrthoRide for western since it is very versatile.

Southwestern Equine OrthoRide All Purpose Fleece Bottom Saddle Pad (31 x 32, Black with Turquoise Bloom)
  • Kidney insert of Poron XRD
  • Helps with stabilizing the Saddle in turns
  • Lightweight and Flexible to easily move naturally with your horse
  • Works great with Treeless Saddles as the "kidney" shape inserts help to provide ultimate spine relief
  • This saddle pad is the ultimate "go to" pad for ensuring your horses sore back days are behind him so you both can have a happy ride!
brown saddle pad on horse under title Best Saddle Pads For Older Horse

References

  • 1. AN253/AN253: Caring for the Older Horse: Common Problems and Solutions [Internet]. edis.ifas.ufl.edu. [cited 2022 Mar 3]. Available from: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an253
  • 2. Horse Diseases A-Z | The full list of horse Diseases | petMD [Internet]. Petmd.com. 2019. Available from: https://www.petmd.com/horse/conditions
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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