It is great to have the best saddle pad in the world, but you should know that even the most well-made saddle still has chances of pinching and rubbing, especially when you are on long trail rides. Having a good, soft, protective saddle pad fitted to your horse’s back can very well make a big difference. If your horse is comfortable, then you will have a nice ride. Happy horse, happy trail ride. Many times when horses tend to “misbehave,” it is due to the fact that they are experiencing some sort of discomfort.
Having a horse, walk, trot, canter, and galloping for long hours, with the added weight of another being on its back is not so much fun, especially of your saddle pinches or digs.
Having a good saddle can make all the difference to you and to your horse. There are loads of saddle pads out there, the question is, how do you choose which one is good for you? This is what we are here to do. To guide you in the decision-making process.
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A quality saddle pad is one of the most important pieces of tack on the trail. Getting the right pad will ensure that not only your horse is comfortable, but that you will be, too, making sure that you enjoy the ride.
A quick rundown of the saddle pads featured in this article:
- SaddleRight Western Square Saddle Pad
- Diamond Wool Contoured Felt Ranch Pad
- Classique Equine BioFit Correction Air Pad
- Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Correction Saddle Air Pad
- Professional’s Choice SMX Air Ride Anza Wool Pad
- Weaver Leather Contour Wool Pad
How to Get the Best Trail Riding Saddle Pad
If reading a topographical map or packing everything that you own into two little saddle bags seems tough, you should wait until you find the best saddle pad amongst the horde available on the market. Many people like yourself are out searching for what saddle pad would be great for them, and many times, those searches have been fruitless or disappointing; and this is what this article will be doing, guiding you and making sure that you leave satisfied and probably decided.
5 Things to Consider When You are Buying a Saddle Pad for Trail riding
- Safety: You probably have read articles about horse riding and things you need to look out for when trying to get a gear for your ride. What you might notice is that the first thing mentioned for you to look out for is the safety level of the product. You could get at cheap saddle pad that would end up falling apart and hurting your horse, and in extension, hurting you the rider.
- Comfort: When picking a saddle pad for trail riding, comfort should be a very huge factor for you to look into. A proper fit, shape, and good materials all have an impact on whether your horse hits the trail happily or not.
- Durability: Riding in a covered area is very different from trying to brave the elements that you find on the trail. Your saddle pad needs to be durable, meaning that it wouldn’t rip on a low tree branch. It should be weather resistant, meaning it wicks moisture but dries quickly. And it should be strong enough so it doesn’t slip around or compress flat.
- Discipline: Many trail riders are used to using western gear, and that is what we will be talking about in this article.
- Cost: If trail riding is what you do in your pastime, you might need to invest in a high-quality saddle pad that will last you a very long time. If you are the type that trail rides just once in a blue moon, there are lots of cheap options available that are capable of doing the job.
NB: Do not try to cut corners when trying to purchase a saddle pad all in the name of saving expenses. Paying for an equine chiropractic visit and/or massage later will make you wish that you had gotten it right the first time.
Best Saddle Pad For Trail Riding Review
Here are six of the best saddle pads for trail riding:
SaddleRight Western Square Saddle Pad – Our Best Choice
This is a saddle pad that is great, versatile enough for reining, cow work, roping, and trail riding that holds up well and is very durable.
- The contoured pads offer the highest level of protection comfort, range of motion, and wither relief, and this comes without a cutout over the wither.
- This saddle pad’s core materials enable your horse’s muscular system to rebound and rebuild very quickly, while it protects its back fully.
- The unique orthopedic material used is secured encased in either a leather or wool cover, giving you the guarantee that your pad will not compress or have any kind of deformation for a long time.
- They only make use of real pressed wool felt and top grain leathers, and it has a top-quality craftsmanship.
- The pad’s thin design helps remove saddle roll; the western pads are 5/8 standard while the Legacy is ¾. With this, you have all the needed protection but with less bulk.
- The manufacturers of this product have been in the business for more than 30 years, and production is done in the USA. So, this should assure you that these people know just what it that they are doing.
- You will not find a better warranty anywhere else. You are given 30 days unconditional, with a year workmanship, with a Trade Back Program; the only one in the equine business. What this means is that you can get a brand new pad at anytime for 50 percent the retail price when you return your old saddle pad.
- This brand might be too drab for you if you are the type that is into very bright and colorful things. Although, they give 20 different suede colors with 5 leather colors, meaning that you can do a lot of combinations.
- The ¼ -inch felt liner keeps the pas clean, but it fails to line up with the pad, what this means is that it sticks out from under the pad.
Diamond Wool Contoured Felt Ranch Wool Pad
As always, style shouldn’t really be at the top of your priorities when you are considering a saddle pad to get, but this saddle pad has a classic look. It is also contoured with wither relief and genuine wool that is made in the USA.
- The makers of this saddle pad are only focused on saddle pads, so, this makes them focus more on giving you quality wool products.
- Diamond Wool pride themselves of prompt, courteous, and a professional service, and not just all about the sale and moving on to the next customer.
- Their products are all made in Rhode Island and are the “accepted” choice when it comes to contoured wool felt pads.
- The saddle pads have a wither relief cutout that is reinforced with distressed leather.
- The wool is slow to feel damp, and this is very important for those times when you take long rides, also important so it doesn’t chill your horse by drying faster. It breathes, retains its shape, and it also does not wrinkle.
- The wool used is a super strong fiber with high elasticity and resilience, and it fuses with the hair of your horse to reduce slippage.
- When you start out using it, it can be stiff, but you will get used to it as you get to use it on more rides.
- If you will be trail riding through shrubberies and the forest area, twigs, leaves, and burrs stick to felt more than other fabrics.
Classic Equine BioFit Correction Air Saddle Pad
This pad is great for western riding, as it is big and wide enough to allow you sit under the saddle, and you will be able to cover any place that might be robbed. It is one of the best saddle pads for horses with a sore back.
- This pad is made to help offset confirmation challenges in hard-to-fit horses, like high withers and narrow shoulders.
- If, in the past, you struggled with the downhill saddle fit, the BioFit “buildup” will help to lift the front of your saddle off the horse’s spine.
- The orthopedic-grade felt is shock absorbent, and the virgin wool fleece (that is 100 percent) wicks moisture and heat away from your horse.
- These pads are very good for older horses with diminished toplines.
- If you have a well-fitting saddle, the extra build-up on this saddle will shift your saddle very far back and even out of position.
- For a horse without any real confirmation issues, you would need to go with a non-correction pad instead.
Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Correction Saddle Pad
If you are looking for solid pad without an exorbitant price tag, the Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Correction Saddle Pad is a good choice. If you know that you will not be doing any serious, regular trail riding on a horse that has some confirmation issues, then this pad should be what you should go for.
But if you want to go for longer, harder, and more frequent rides, you might want to look into buying a higher-end pad that will you for a long time even when you put it through rough conditions.
- If you have a hard-to-fit horse, or some adequate pad, this pad will be of use.
- This pad supports high withered horses, that is, clearance and no painful rubs. It also supports younger trail mounts who are less developed in the shoulders.
- PORON-RXD that can be found just under the saddle bars takes in up to 90 percent of the shock. This alone makes a very big difference when you go on long, hard trail rides.
- The manufacturers of this product are a family that is made up of horse owners, horse riders, and competitors. They provide quality horse products and also at affordable prices; so this is a great starter product for beginners.
- This brand gives you differences in flashier saddle blankets, as well as show pads.
- Although you get what it is you pay for, you should not expect this pad to last as long as you want or that the quality as high when it comes to stitching or skirting as the higher-end options on the list.
- On a horse that has no confirmation issues, you might need to go with a non-correction pad instead.
- Depending on the shape of your horse and the saddle fit, you might find some slippage.
Professional’s Choice El Dorado Air Ride Felt Pad
This is a great mid-range option for pleasure trail riders.
- This comfort pad is contoured so as to protect your horse’s spine and to mobilize a full range of motion.
- The Air Ride core uses the same materials that you will find in the human athlete protective gear.
- The natural cooling system lowers your horse’s body temperature while you are on the trail, also reducing fatigue
- The felt underside grips your horse so it can prevent slippage and increase the life of your pad.
- This pad has cool designs; and this is only useful if you like to make a statement on the trail than looking more utilitarian.
- If what you seek is an extra long drop, that is also known as long sides, then you may find this pad too short for your liking.
- This pad is not a correction pad that is designed for high withered horses or those horses with sway backs, so, you might need to go with one of the two previously mentioned pads if your horse has those issues.
Weaver Leather Contour Wool Pad
If you are a little tight on budget, the Weaver Leather Contour Pad is for you.
- Merino wool underside is cushioning, and it also wicks away moisture, and this very important if you are trail riding for longer hours.
- This pad is both mildew and mold resistant, and it is also easy to clean.
- This pad’s herculon fabric top is specifically made to stand up to long days on the trail. It is also easy to remove twigs, burrs, and leaves that you might brush past as you ride through the trail.
- The pad has a contoured fit that minimizes saddle roll, protecting the spine.
- This pad has a short drop, also known as shorter sides at 32 inches. If you want to go with a longer drop, then you might want to go for the SaddleRight pad which is up to 36 inches.
- If your horse has high withers, you might need to go for one of the correction pads instead.
- The durability and longevity are lower than the other higher-end products listed in this article. You should also not expect this pad to hold up to long daily trail rides for years.