Top 7 Saddle Pads for High-Withered Horses

Finding saddle pads for high-withered horses can be an even greater challenge than with the average horse, and many owners experience fit issues.

02/20/2024 03:21 pm GMT

Horse comfort is imperative to make the most out of your rides.

To help you search, here is a compilation of the best high wither saddle pad brands.

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

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

7 Best Saddle Pads for High-Withered Horses

The best saddle pads for horses with high wither should help their saddle fit correctly over their withers and keep it from pinching on the horse’s back or belly.

Here are the 5 best western and English saddle pads for high-withered horses you can find on the market today.

#1 Winner (Best Overall Pad): Impact Gel Wither Relief Saddle Pad 

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This contoured wool saddle pad allows circulation and is shaped to avoid pressure points while freeing the shoulders to allow for more motion.

It comes in 30 inch and 32-inch sizes. This is an updated version of their  Classic Contour Saddle Pads, which is a popular option for high-withered horses.

Check out this unboxing video for a closer look:

Features & Measurements

  • ¾” thick for extra protection and comfort for sore shoulders
  • Wither cut out and adjustable strap for a greater range of motion
  • Heavy-duty wear leather provides durability 
  • Contour cut shape along the spine ensures the best fit 
  • Unique Impact Gel absorbs shock and alleviates pressure for a happy horse

Benefits & Drawbacks of Impact Gel Wither Relief Saddle Pad 

BenefitsDrawbacks
Environmentally friendly Expensive
Absorbs shock and relieves pressure Comes in one color and style
Antimicrobial and temperature resistant Tedious to clean
Doesn’t hinder your horse’s motion

How it Compares to the Others 

This pad is one of the only, if not the only,  saddle pad for high-withered horses that is both antimicrobial and resistant to temperature.

The higher price tag also reflects the quality of the material and it will last you years of riding and training.

How it Evolved 

Compared to the original contour classic saddle pad, this one has a cut-away spot where the billets would rest to allow for rigging items for trail rides or for tying cattle during ranch work.

The strap at the withers is also adjustable on this pad, whereas in the original there is just a wither cutout.

Expert Tips

If you need to clean this saddle pad,  brush away dirt and hair using curry or stiff brush. If you want to, you can also use a cleaning solution that will need to be rinsed away with water.

Then let the pad air dry. If you’re washing saddle pads at least twice a week, you will keep them in top condition.

#2 Best English Saddle Pad: Weatherbeeta All Purpose Saddle Pad 

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02/22/2024 03:54 am GMT

This QVC and cotton saddle pad is made to last and has a wick lining to help your horse stay cool and the PVC-covered girth patch guards against wear.

It comes in many color options. It also has a high wither design and is one of the more affordable options.

Here’s a great review from a YouTube influencer to check out:

Features

  • Breathable mesh spine for airflow and prevention of dry spots
  • High wither design to allow for more range of motion
  • 23.5” inches across 
  • Wick lining for horse comfort 
  • Machine washable 

Benefits & Drawbacks of Weatherbeeta All Purpose Saddle Pad 

BenefitsDrawbacks
Colorful saddle blanket Only one length
Affordable pricesMay not be temperature resistant 
Easy to cleanLess shock-absorbing ability

How It Compares to the Others

This pad has a wick lining, which is not noted in the other options. They use wool or leather instead. The wick lining prevents moisture buildup and helps keep your horse cool and comfortable.

Expert Tips 

Horses with high withers need a saddle pad that won’t put too much pressure on this area. They are also trickier to saddle fit.

Getting an expert saddle fitter is always a good idea to ensure your saddle is not causing pain.

The learn more about high withered horse saddle fitting, take a look at this video from an expert saddle fitter.

What Other Horse Parents Say About Weatherbeeta All Purpose Saddle Pad 

Many equestrians that ride English love this saddle pad, just like this user who says: “What a phenomenal pad! Terrific quality, very high at the withers, and I love the breathable area directly over the spine. This is a very well-made product and I am going to buy another one.”

If you’re looking for the most comfortable dressage girth, check out my article. It’s packed with helpful tips and recommendations to help you find the perfect girth for you and your horse.

#3 Best English Half Pad – Lami-Cell Full Shock Absorbing Memory Pad

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02/20/2024 03:21 pm GMT

If you ride more than one horse or don’t always need extra support around the withers, you might not want an all-in-one solution. A half pad is a great piece of tack to have if you find yourself in this situation.

Lami-Cell is a popular brand that is pretty budget-friendly as well. So let’s take a closure look.

Features

  • Gel foam
  • Contour shape
  • Comes in black

Benefits & Drawbacks of Lami-Cell Full Shock Absorbing Memory Pad

BenefitsDrawbacks
Very lightweightCould use a little more wither clearance
Absorbs shockSome riders find it a bit stiff
Keeps shape well

How It Compares to the Others

This is a half pad instead of a full saddle pad like some of the others. It is also shaped to fit English saddles only.

Expert Tips

Half pads are often great to use on your horse. But it is important to understand exactly what it is doing and how it affects the fit of your saddle. Learn more about half pads from an experienced saddle fitter in this video.

What Other Horse Parents Say About Lami-Cell Full Shock Absorbing Memory Pad

 I know lots of equestrians that are big fans of this memory foam half pad. See what this rider has to say about it in her review here.


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#4 Best Shimable Western Pad: ECP All Purpose Therapeutic Contoured Correction Support Western Saddle Pad

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02/22/2024 04:08 am GMT

A shimable saddle blanket means you have more versatility. Changing the shim sizes or locations allows you to use the pad on different horses or even with different saddles. 

This is a really soft and comfortable pad with flannel lining and a contour withers which means it fits a horse with high withers well.

If you really like this pad but ride English, ECP has an all-purpose version and a model that also fits dressage saddles.  

Features

  • Memory foam shims
  • Saddle billet straps
  • Brushed flannel underside
  • 2 pockets on each side

Benefits & Drawbacks of ECP All Purpose Therapeutic Contoured Correction Pad

BenefitsDrawbacks
BreathableFits western saddles only
Moisture-wickingShims lose their support ability over time
Adjustable

How It Compares to the Others

Unlike the others, this pad has pockets where you can put shims to affect where it provides support. You can put shims of different sizes in as well. The price is pretty good, not cheap, but cheaper than some options.

Expert Tips

Getting your shims right is trial and error. But wold champion barrel racing rider, Sherry Cervi, gives you some great tips in this video.

What Other Horse Parents Say About ECP All Purpose Therapeutic Contoured Correction Pad

Not all western horses are round quarter horses.

Many people ride thoroughbreds or other breeds that might need more wither clearance, like this happy user of the ECP western pad:

“Fantastic pad for a TB type horse that doesn’t break the bank! Most western pads don’t enough whither clearance for non-stock horses. It is built more like an English pad but cut for a western saddle. Works great under my trail/western dressage saddle.”

Learn more about the different versions of the ECP shim pads in this video.

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Check more western saddle pads for short backed horses.

#5 Best Budget-Friendly Saddle Pad: Roma Mini Quilt Shaped Saddle Pad 

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02/21/2024 07:48 pm GMT

This is a lightweight cotton saddle pad with a beautiful quilted design that is made for comfort.

The Roma saddle pad can be used in training, daily trail rides,  and competition situations thanks to its versatile and basic design choices.

This pad typically retails for under $50, making it the perfect budget option.

Features

  • Fleece covered cotton pad optimized for comfort and sore shoulders
  • Contoured design to allow a proper range of motion for high-withered horses
  • Extended girth panel to protect your horse and improve the durability of the pad
  • 20 ⅓ spine 
  • Machine washable 

Benefits & Drawbacks of Roma Mini Quilt Shaped Saddle Pad 

BenefitsDrawbacks
Quality materialColor may fade 
Budget-friendly One spine length
Machine washable 

How It Compares to the Others

This pad is one of the most versatile because the plain yet elegant design allows it to be used in multiple situations. It is also the only one with a quilted design so it is unique in that way.

Expert Tips 

To prevent the color on this pad from fading, add baking soda to the washer when it needs to be cleaned as you would with bedding and clothes. For more tips on saddle pad cleaning check this rider’s tips.

What Other Horse Parents Say About Roma Mini Quilt Shaped Saddle Pad

One rider that wanted a saddle pad that doesn’t sit too low on the withers really likes this pad: “This saddle pad is shaped perfectly So it stays up off the withers and also looks really nice!”

#6 Best Half Pad: Cavallo English Raised Wither Half Pad 

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02/21/2024 03:03 pm GMT

This is a pad made with poly-fiber sheets and memory foam pockets for relief to the spine, shock absorption, and proper weight distribution.

The pad is very stable and creates an equilibrium that allows the horse to perform at its best despite the motion of the rider or the intensity of the sport. This is a higher-end option than other saddle pad brands.

Features:

  • Lifts the saddle at the wither to establish balance and correct position
  • Shock absorbent and contracts at usual pressure points to prevent sore muscles
  • Thin design allows for greater scapula movement 
  • 23” length
  • Durable and breathable, moisture repellant 

Benefits & Drawbacks of Cavallo English Raised Wither Half Pad 

BenefitsDrawbacks
Protects the horse’s back in multiple waysHigh cost
Long-lasting and lightweightNo cleaning instructions 
Reversible and fits a variety of styles Only one length

How It Compares to the Others 

This pad is the only one that is reversible and can be worn two ways to fit different occasions, yet still provide the same support.

The other pads can only be worn one way. it is also the only pad made with memory foam and poly-fiber.

Expert Tips 

Half pads are meant to be placed on top of a regular saddle pad to provide extra support for the horse. Do not use a half pad by itself or you will risk putting a strain on your horse’s back and also cause saddle sores.

Learn more about the different types of half pads from experts that work with equestrian gear in this video.

#7 Best Shim Pad: Classic Equine Biofit Correction Shim Saddle Pad

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02/23/2024 10:05 am GMT

This corrective saddle pad is made with merino fleece for comfort and a wedge-shaped closed-cell foam shim to absorb shock.

The shim works with wither conformation issues and prevent downhill saddle fit and can be adjusted depending on your horse’s needs. It retails at a higher price tag than other correction pads

Check out this video below for more details:

Features

  • Available in 31” across the spine or 30”
  • Shock absorbing and pressure relieving 
  • Adjustable correction to fit horse needs
  • Contoured to match horse’s body shape 
  • Fleece keeps horse comfortable and calm

Benefits & Drawbacks of Classic Equine Biofit Correction Shim Saddle Pad

BenefitsDrawbacks
Can suit a variety of horses Expensive
High qualityFleece wears easily 
Absorbs shock and reduces pressureLimited color and style options 

How It Compares to the Others 

This is the only pad with shims and fleece padding. Fleece is plush, soft, and comfortable but runs the risk of breaking down faster than other materials.

This pad is also made to be adjustable so that it can be used on both high and normal withered horses with issues.

Expert Tips 

To maintain the quality of the fleece, wash it manually in cold water. Machine washing it will cause to split and fray.

To learn more about this cool saddle pad’s features, there is no better place than straight from the horse’s mouth. See Classic Equine explain all the features in this video.

What Other Horse Parents Say About Classic Equine Biofit Correction Shim Saddle Pad

This is a great western saddle pad for riders of horses with high withers or other back confirmation issues. Take a closure look at it here in this quick review video.

FAQs

What are the withers on a horse?

a horse with high wither

The withers are a horse’s shoulder blades and they are found above and directly behind the shoulders. If a horse has high withers or is a more angular horse, the wrong saddle and saddle pad will pinch them, restricting movement.

How do you fit a western saddle to a high-withered horse?

a girl fitting a saddle pad on high wither horse

Apart from following the basics of saddle fitting, make sure that you lift the saddle away from the withers using a saddle pad that will provide proper support, or look for a saddle that has a high gullet that will clear the withers. Avoid a narrow saddle. Work with a saddle fitter to find the best fitting saddle for your horse

Can you use a treeless saddle on a high-withered horse?

You can, but it is not the best choice because they offer less support than a treed saddle, meaning that you will have to find a saddle pad to provide support for your horse’s spine and avoid pressure sores. Some riders custom-built saddles because they love the treeless design

Conclusion

There are a variety of saddle pads for high-withered horses that fit a variety of needs and budgets, whether you need an English or western saddle pad.

At the end of the day, you know yourself and your horse best, so choose the one that is the most comfortable for you both and will help you reach your goals

Final Recommendation

The Impact Gel Wither Relief Saddle Pad offers the most features that provide comfort to your horse and these justify the price, although it will not fit every budget.

The durability and high-quality design make this pad a worthwhile investment that will save you money on vet bills.

saddle pad for High Withered Horses

What are your favorite saddle pads for high withered horses? Let us know in the comments below!

References

  • “Caring for Genuine Fleece | Dover Saddlery.” 2021. Doversaddlery.com. 2021. https://www.doversaddlery.com/caring-for-genuine-fleece/a/409/.
  • “Horse Anatomy: Withers – Horse-Pros.com.” 2016. Horse-Pros.com. July 3, 2016. https://horse-pros.com/5478/horse-anatomy-withers.
Andreea J.
Andreea J.

Andreea is a very passionate content creator and her purpose is to provide you with the most interesting articles, while constantly discovering new facts. She’s been freelance writing for the past five years and has created numerous articles and educational materials while managing her own mom blog.
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