What is a Best Western Saddle Pad? (Top 7 Favorites!)

My search for the best western saddle pad began when I was invited to ride on a trail with a few equestrian friends from Montana.

I thought the saddle-buying process would be simple, but boy was I wrong!

If you are in a quandary about buying a western saddle pad, then read on: I have honest reviews of the 7 best saddle pads to help ease your selection process.

Start with a quick look at my favorites, then keep reading for all of the reviews!

Western Saddle Pad Top Picks at a Glance

If you see the value in these products and choose to purchase via my referral links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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

Editor's Choice
Preview
Weaver Leather Western Gel Seat Pad , Black
Top Benefit
Absorbs shock and relieve pressure points
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Best Budget-Friendly
Preview
Tough 1 Square Saddle Pad/Fleece Bottom, Teal/Black/Cream, 30 x 30
Top Benefit
Breathable
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Best Small Size
Preview
Tahoe Tack Contoured Canvas Western Saddle Pad Available in Mini Pony and Horse Sizing
Top Benefit
Great for daily use for ponies
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Best Therapeutic
Preview
ECP All Purpose Diamond Quilted Therapeutic Contoured Correction Support Western Saddle Pad
Top Benefit
Comfortable and lightweight
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Best With Shims
Preview
Wool Blend Felt Shim Pad, Black, 32" L x 32" W
Top Benefit
Moisture-wicking
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7 Best Western Saddle Pads (Reviews)

From affordable pads to luxurious options, I promise there’s something for everyone below. Let’s check them out!

1. Winner: Weaver Leather Western Gel Seat Pad

Weaver Leather Western Gel Seat Pad , Black

I have a lower backache issue so my main concern on the trail was shock absorption. This is why I chose Weaver shock-absorbing gel-based pad – it came highly recommended by my equestrian friends too.

The pad’s gel inserts absorb shock and relieve pressure points.

I love the fact that Weaver is a brand name Americans can trust because they have been making high-performing horse tack and pet products since 1973.

Features

  • Ideal for western saddles in 15, 16, or 17-inches
  • Thickness between ½ to 3/4th inch
  • Mesh cover is breathable, washable, quick-drying, and prevent heat build-up.
  • The pad features a webbing strap that attaches over the horn and behind the seat to keep the pad in place.
BenefitsDrawbacks
Can be taken on/off with easeMany riders felt that the pad wasn’t breathable enough.
ComfortableAlso, the pad slipped for a few users.
Does not get too hot even on hot days 
Superior impact resistance
Value for money
Easy to clean

How it Compares to Others

Opinions about this saddle pad are varied but most users found them very comfortable – especially for hours and hours of riding.

For me, personally, the gel-insert relieves pressure on my sit-bones. Also, many saddles cause soreness but with Weaver impact gels seat pads, you can avoid that. Affordable too!

Sale
Weaver Leather Western Gel Seat Pad , Black
  • shock absorbing gel seat
  • ideal for most western saddles
  • gel insert helps relieve pressure points and features a hand washable, quick-drying, breathable and heat-resistant black mesh cover

2. Best Budget Option: Tough-1 Square Saddle Pad

Tough 1 Square Saddle Pad/Fleece Bottom

I have used many Tough-1 products and have always loved them. They are well-made and the brand is reliable and popular among the equestrian community.

I keep this favorite saddle pad for daily riding. It features a soft and warm fleece lining with a Sierra blanket top. Tough-1 saddle pad has an affordable price.

Features

  • Easily fits 16-inch saddle with dimensions of 30 x 30 inches
  • Available in various colors.
BenefitsDrawbacks
Flexible and bendy Many users received wrong colors than the ones they’d ordered.
Several attractive color choicesEven when right, the colors aren’t the same as on the screen
Breathable saddle pad
Soft and comfortable, thick
Wicks moisture well

How it Compares to Others

Tough-1 western saddle pad is a complete value for money. It is made with high-quality materials.

The padding is thick and comfortable and you get several attractive color choices, even if they’re not quite as vivid as they are on your screen. A great choice for casual shorter rides.

Sale
Tough 1 Square Saddle Pad/Fleece Bottom, Teal/Black/Cream, 30 x 30
  • Package length: 7.112 cm
  • Package width: 38.354 cm
  • Package height: 77.216 cm
  • Product Type: SPORTING GOODS

3. Best Small Size Saddle Pad: Tahoe Tack Contoured Canvas Western Saddle Pad

Tahoe Tack Contoured Canvas Western Saddle Pad Available in Mini Pony and Horse Sizing

My daughter has a small-sized mare and wanted a smaller pad within a fixed budget. Tahoe Tack Contoured Canvas western saddle pad is available in mini and pony breed sizes which suited her well.

The high-quality saddle pad features fleece padding and contoured stitching that keeps it firmly in place.

Features

  • 7/8th-inch fleece padding with canvas cover on top
  • Available in 3 sizes and several attractive colors.
BenefitsDrawbacks
Great for daily use for ponies/small horsesColor tends to fade after washing.
Fitting saddle pad, comfortable, lots of padding, reduce saddle pressure.

How it Compare to Others

Tahoe Tack saddle pads are affordable and they hold up well for daily riding. The thick fleece pads also reduce stress on the lower back. Attractive colors are available but they might need hand-washing the first few times until the color sets.

Tahoe Tack Contoured Canvas Western Saddle Pad Available in Mini Pony and Horse Sizing
  • DURABLE - this pad is made of a rugged canvas cover with genuine leather wears over a 7/8" fleece lining that is backed with soft felt padding, and has genuine leather wears to promote longevity.
  • MULTIPLE COLORS AVAILABLE - our saddle pads are available in nine attractive colors: Brown, Pink, Royal Blue, Red, Tan, Purple, Turquoise, Sea Green, and Black, all with tan wear leathers.
  • COMFORTABLE FIT - this pad is contoured to your horse's back and is roomy around the withers, and has a soft fleece lining that prevents rubs, sores, and damage to your horse's coat.
  • SHOCK ABSORBING - this pad features concentric stitching throughout the back which keeps the felt lining in place, maintaining even coverage and optimal shock absorption.
  • CONTOURED SPINE - this pad features a contoured back design that fits your horse's withers and curves better than a traditional saddle pad, which makes rides more comfortable for your horse.

4. Best Therapeutic Saddle Pad: ECP All Purpose Diamond Quilted Therapeutic Contoured Correction Support Western Saddle Pad

ECP All Purpose Diamond Quilted Therapeutic Contoured Correction Support Western Saddle Pad

The reason why I have selected ECP Western saddle pad is due to its therapeutic quilted memory foam padding.

These inserts come in various pieces too, so you can use them as needed. This makes ECP Western Saddle Pad rather versatile – especially if you have multiple horses..

Features

  • Insert foam come in 3 thin layers
  • Lightweight
  • Outer cover is great for all-year round use. It wicks moisture and is breathable too.
  • Features 2-billet straps for securing it.
  • Hypoallergenic for horse’s with sensitive skin
BenefitsDrawbacks
Good-qualitySome users found this pad too thin.
Comfortable and lightweight; reduces saddle pressure
Easy to wash

How it Compares to Others

Although the name does say western pad, ECP Western Saddle Pad is more like a western close contact pad and is built like an English all-purpose pad.

A few users found the pad too thin and some even had to use another pad for additional padding. There is also a large logo printed across it.

However, for the price, this is a decent pad. We love the adjustable inserts that let you customize it.

ECP All Purpose Diamond Quilted Therapeutic Contoured Correction Support Western Saddle Pad
  • Adjustable memory foam shims can be moved to wherever is optimal for horse and rider.
  • Temperature regulating, moisture wicking, and breathable.
  • Hypoallergenic and gentle on skin.
  • Properly secures to saddle with two billet straps.
  • Care Instructions: Remove memory foam shims prior to washing. Hand wash or machine wash gentle cycle in cold water. Do not bleach. Dry flat. Do not iron.

5. Best Western Saddle Pad with Shims: Weaver Leather Wool Blend Felt Shim Pad

Weaver Leather Wool Blend Felt Shim Pad

Some users simply love pads with customizable shim pockets where you can add inserts the way you want.

The Weaver flexible western rider saddle pad with shims allows you to convert it from a bridge pad to a built-up pad as needed. This helps correct issues of confirmation as well.

Features

  • 30 x 30 inches – butterfly cutaway design allows optimum leg contact
  • Features 3-shim pockets
  • EVA foam inserts are shock absorber
  • The top consists of an easy-to-clean canvas with a wool-felt liner that wicks moisture.
BenefitsDrawbacks
Moisture-wickingShim foam is slightly thin
Well-designedNot for high-withered horses

How it Compare to Others

Unlike most pads, this one does not have wither cut-out padding so the saddle pad tends to put slight pressure on the withers.

The price is also higher than most pads here. However, the shim pockets allow greater flexibility to add the inserts as needed.

Wool Blend Felt Shim Pad, Black, 32" L x 32" W
  • EVA foam removable shim pad inserts correct saddle fit and conformation issues
  • Shock absorbing contoured pad shape, dense wool blend felt and EVA sport foam shims provide superior protection for your horse
  • Close contact for increased feel between you and your horse
  • Moisture wicking wool blend felt naturally moves sweat away from your horse
  • Measures 32" x 32"

6. Best All-Natural Wool Pad: Southwestern Equine Montana Extra-fine Pad

The Montana 100% Extra Fine Wool Saddle Pad by Southwestern 3/4

My friend swears by Montana pads and calls them her ‘go-to pads’. She has multiple horses and this quality wool pad has fit them all. Ideal for those who love natural pads.

Features

  • The all-natural wool pad is made in USA
  • Superior breathability
  • Keeps the horse comfortable and cool due to wool’s temperature regulating property.
  • Available in 3 colors and 6 sizes.
BenefitsDrawbacks
Value for moneySome users found the saddle slipping with this pad
All-natural pad for trail riding
Comfortable for horse and rider

How it Compare to Others

The leather insert used on the pad is of lower quality and also, some users did not like its non-contoured shape. The saddle slipped because of this. However, the all-natural wool material offers many benefits – especially moisture-wicking and enhanced breathable option.

The Montana 100% Extra Fine Wool Saddle Pad by Southwestern 3/4" or 1" Thick and Designer Wear Leather
  • ALL WOOL - All Natural Wool Saddle Pad - Made in USA
  • CONFORMING PROPERTIES - Wool Stays Snug on your horse’s back
  • ABSORB and DRAWING EFFECTS -Wicks Away Sweat Fast, Superior Cooling Properties
  • TEMPERATURE MANAGEMENT - Superior cooling properties that naturally assists regulation of body temperature. Wool's breathable qualities draws in air which removes excess heat and moisture from the body, helping your horse stay cool, no matter what discipline you do.
  • STYLE - 1" Thickness - LENGTH: 31" x 30" - Wear Leathers - Designer Wear Leathers "Turquoise Bloom"

7. Best for Western Round Skirt Saddles: Diamond Wool Contour Tough Barrel Saddle Pad

 If you have a short-backed horse, then the Diamond Wool Contour saddle pad is a great choice. Its contoured spine has a wither relief notch that can help overcome conformation issues.

Diamond Wool Contoured Tough Barrel Saddle Pad

Features

  • Made with Ranch Tough -1 Wool felt
  • Contoured spine is reinforced with distressed leather
  • 30 x 30 with 1-inch thickness
BenefitsDrawbacks
Thick and comfortableNeed more size and color options
Breathable and durable

How it Compare to Others

Diamond Wool contoured designs wool pad for trail riding is breathable and moisture-absorbing. The pad’s price is totally worth the high-quality materials used.

5 Types of Western Saddle Pads

Western saddle pads are of different types, shapes, and materials. Regardless of the type, they have the same function: to keep the horse comfortable and safe. Here are common types of western saddle pads:

#1 Hair Pads

Natural hair pads have been around for a while but they tend to get caked with dirt and sweat. You must keep them clean otherwise, they can cause sores on horse skin.

#2 Orthopedic or Therapeutic Pads

These pads were earlier made using orthopedic hospital pad materials and are ideal for riders with back pain. Today, you have different ones like memory foam, gel, etc. which offer good cushioning and comfort.

#3 Woolen Pads

Navajo wool pads are high-quality but they are only used on horses that aren’t worked too much and only ridden for short periods.

#4 Corrective Pads

There are several sub-types in these:

#5 Contoured Pads 

These are shaped or contoured pads that conform to the natural curve of the horse’s spine and allow a more comfortable riding experience.

How to Select the Best Western Saddle Pad

Here are the factors to consider when selecting a western saddle pad:

Discipline

Saddle pads differ for dressage saddles, jumping saddles, and even for general purposes or trail riding. So select one according to the purpose you have in mind.

Size and shape

A standard saddle pad measures 30 x 30 inches through a longer pad of 32 x 32 inches would be better for larger western saddles.

For ponies or small horses, go for 20 x 20-inch size. You can choose from square, round, contoured designs, cut-back, or other shapes based on the saddle.

The main idea here is that the saddle pad should not interfere with the saddle.

Check our Western saddle pad size guide.

Material

As seen earlier, you can get pads in natural or synthetic materials (neoprene pads). Natural materials are hypoallergenic and generally do not cause blisters, hair loss, or skin issues in horses.

Synthetic materials may be easier to clean. You can also get a blended pad of natural and synthetic materials.

Comfort

Extra comfort is paramount when selecting a saddle pad. Choose one that will absorb moisture and keep your horse cool.

The pad should also come with adequate padding to cushion your seat bones. At the same time, it should not cause the saddle to slip or move during riding.

FAQs

How thick should a western saddle pad be?

Ideally, a western pad should be at least 7/8th to 1-inch thick.

How often should you replace your pad?

a horse with white western saddle pad

If you simply ride on weekends, then a good pad should last for at least 2-3 years. If you ride daily, then replace the pad every 6-12 months depending on the wear, material, etc.

Final Recommendations

A saddle pad can protect your horse’s back from rubbing and chafing and regardless of the style of riding, you need one under your saddle.

For western saddles, we recommend the Weaver leather gel-seat western saddle pad which absorbs impacts and offers superior cushioning. It also keeps the horse cool and comfortable while riding. Moreover, Weaver has been a popular American brand name in pet products since the 1970s.

Don’t forget to check out our other recommendations as well.

Sale
Weaver Leather Western Gel Seat Pad , Black
  • shock absorbing gel seat
  • ideal for most western saddles
  • gel insert helps relieve pressure points and features a hand washable, quick-drying, breathable and heat-resistant black mesh cover

References

  • “1.” 2021. Horse Racing Sense. 2021. https://horseracingsense.com/.
  • Dunning, Al. 2016. “Saddle Pads Made Simple.” Horse&Rider. Horse&Rider. February 22, 2016. https://horseandrider.com/gear/western-saddle-pad-advice.
a western saddle pad fitted on horse

What is the best Western saddle pad for your horse? Let us know in the comments below!

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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