How much do saddle pads cost?
Saddles and saddle pads are two of the most important pieces of tack, unless you want to ride bareback, they are necessary to ride securely,
The cost of tack is a barrier to many riders, but how are they priced?
In this article, I will explore the expenses involved with this important tack.
CHECK: Best Saddle Pad Reviews
How Much Does a Saddle Pad Cost?
Saddle pads are another essential piece of tack. They help relieve saddle pressure on your horse’s back because they allow weight to be distributed evenly across it.
Without a good saddle pad, all of the weight will be right on their back muscles, which are extremely delicate and the weight will not distribute. So how much do saddle pads cost?
Estimates for both types of saddle pads are as follows:
- Western- $20 – $400+
- English- $20 – $400+
Unlike the different types of saddles, both western and English saddle pads fall in the same price range. This is because neither has specific features to distinguish them that end up driving up the price.
All horse saddle pads vary in cost depending on the saddle pad material.
For example, Impact gel pads and wool pads that provide extra protection to make your horse happy and keep your horse cool are going to cost more than your run-of-the-mill cotton saddle pad.
What To Consider When Buying a Saddle Pad
Purchasing the right saddle pad for your horse and the discipline you ride can be a hassle if you do not know what to look for. (2) Here are some tips to help you find the perfect fit among the different types of pads.
- Choose saddle pad styles based on what your horse needs – there are different saddle pads with unique purposes. Fleece or wool saddle pads excel at moisture wicking so you might want to consider getting a fleece pad if your horse sweats a lot
- Make sure your saddle pad is the right size for your saddle and your horse’s back – there are three different saddle pad sizes: horse, pony, and cob. Choosing the right one for the size of horse you have will reduce the risk of discomfort.
- When measuring your horse for a saddle pad, add an extra 2 inches of space to all of the areas where the saddle will touch the horse’s back so that you get the right size. A larger saddle pad slides while smaller ones bunch up
- Choose the shape that fits your saddle and discipline – horse saddle pads can either be straight or have a contoured shape to them. English riders generally use contoured ones while Western riders use a straight pad
- Ask for help if you cannot get the right fit – seek out the advice of a saddle fitter or use a half pad to help fix minor fit or back issues.
I have personal experience with using a half pad for that very reason. A horse that I used to ride dressage with, named Shane, was a more senior horse that was susceptible to back problems.
So we always made sure to put a half pad on top of his dressage saddle pad for more support.
If you ride western, you will find the tips in this video from expert saddlers, Weaver, helpful when learning to fit a saddle pad.
Related: Best Half Pads for Saddle Fit
How Much Does a Saddle Cost?
Buying a horse is a costly venture, but the horse and its care are just two of the expenses that western riders and English riders encounter.
If you want to ride, you will need to have a reliable tack. A properly fitting saddle is a necessary investment.
So, how much does a horse saddle cost? An average cost for each type of saddle is the following:
- English saddle: $100-$7000+
- Western saddle: $200-$3000+
The price of a saddle varies depending on the material used, the quality of the material, the extra features on the saddle, and the brand name of the saddle.
Custom saddle pads and saddles can cost thousands while you can find a used saddle for $50 or less. Though I don’t recommend a $50 saddle, as these can cause more problems and are not worth the savings.
The most important thing when choosing a saddle is to find the one that meets the needs of both you and your horse.
If you need help finding the proper saddle fit, get the advice of a professional saddle fitter.
Learn more about how to tell if your English saddle fits from expert Kate Ballard in this video.
ALSO CHECK: Gaited Horse Saddle Reviews
As you shop around, you want to remember the following points as they will help you on the path to making the best purchase possible:
- Set and stick to a budget that will not break the bank but also will not leave you with a saddle that is falling apart
- Get help from a saddle fitter if you have never bought your own saddle before or want to make the purchasing process faster
- Use caution when buying a saddle secondhand, because you do not want it to be uncomfortable for either you or your horse
Fitting a western saddle is a little different than for an English saddle but many of the same principles apply. Learn more about western saddle fitting in this video.
READ MORE: Sheepskin Pads for Horses
How Much Does a Used Saddle Cost?
Used saddles can cost anywhere from $50 or more depending on their condition and how well they have been maintained.
When buying a used saddle, it is important to use caution when receiving offers that are too good to be true, because there is a good chance they are.
You do not want to buy a used saddle that is in complete disrepair. If a saddle is that broken, you are better off buying a new one because you will spend more on repairs than the cost of a new saddle.
A low-quality saddle will also affect the way you ride and the under saddle connection you have with your horse.
Sometimes, even if you spend the money to repair a used saddle, it may not be functional after all or end up causing pain to your horse’s back. Often, when buying used, what you see is what you get.
Why Are English Saddles Less Expensive Than Western Saddles?
English saddles are smaller than western saddles, meaning they require less leather overall. (1) English saddles also have fewer features, so they take less time to make.
Western saddles were designed to be ridden all day, and they have fenders for leg protection as well as the saddle horn and rings and rivets to store various items while traveling, as the western rider usually goes on cattle drives.
Since western saddles have more features and often intricate detailing, they are sometimes priced higher than their English counterparts.
With saddles, you pay for what you get. Though high-end English saddle can cost just as much or even more.
I have ridden in both English and Western saddles and am comfortable in both, but since English riding is my riding style of choice, I regularly purchase English tack.
I love Wintec dressage saddles, the synthetic material is very supportive and helps me stay centered in the saddle.
They are also a good choice if you have a smaller budget as they are usually cheaper than quality leather saddles.
READ MORE: Are Gel Pads Good for Horses?
Tips to Help You Buy the Right Saddle
If you want to ride horses long-term and have your own someday, a saddle is one of the most costly and important purchases you will make.
Here are some tips to help you make the right choice and get the most out of your purchase:
- Choose the right saddle for the discipline you ride – from a jumping saddle to a dressage saddle to a barrel saddle, each has slight design differences to accommodate the needs of that style of riding.
- If you want to do a little bit of everything, an all-purpose saddle is your best bet
- Choose the right size saddle to fit your horse – always measure your horse before fitting a saddle to ensure it will clear the withers, stay balanced on their back, and avoid saddle pressure.
- Enlist expert help if you are inexperienced in saddle fitting. I’ve seen the terrible damage a poorly fitting saddle does to a horse.
Is a saddle pad necessary?
Saddle pads are not always needed when riding, such as if you choose to ride bareback or tackless. However, they are recommended when using a saddle to provide more comfort for your horse’s back.
How much should I spend on my first saddle?
First-time saddle buyers should set a budget of no more than $500 on either a Western or English saddle. This will ensure you get something that is of decent quality, and that will last a while but not break the bank.
How much do saddle pads cost? This is one of the most important questions that horse riders ask themselves and others when buying tack.
Horse saddle pads can range anywhere from $20 – $400 for either English riding or Western riding depending on the type of the pad and if there are any special materials.
How much do saddle pads cost? Let us know your opinion below!
- 1. English vs Western, Whats the Difference? [Internet]. Goosewing Ranch. 2012 [cited 2022 May 5]. Available from: https://goosewingranch.com/english-vs-western-whats-the-difference/
- 2. Saddle Pads – Which One To Buy? [Internet]. www.totalequinevets.com. [cited 2022 May 5]. Available from: https://www.totalequinevets.com/client-center/resources/TEVApedia/equine-saddle-pads
Bryanna is a 23-year-old Florida-based Grade 1 Para-dressage rider based in Florida and she has been riding for 5 years. Horses are her passion and her ultimate goal is to be selected for the US Para-Equestrian Team and represent the US at the Paralympics. She rides at Quantum Leap Farm and Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center and her equine partners are Shane, an American Paint Horse, and Cappy a Welsh x Thoroughbred. When she is not helping at the barn, riding, or training, she is learning about horses, writing articles about them, and using her social media platforms to raise awareness for therapeutic riding and para-equestrianism, shares her journey, and advocates for greater inclusion of para-equestrian in the media and equestrian sport at large.
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