What characteristics distinguish a quality saddle pad? Although much research has yet to be done to evaluate the performance of these high-tech pads, people are becoming more interested in learning more about the function of saddle pads and the materials that go into making them.

However, as anyone who has lately purchased a horse saddle pad knows, the almost limitless variety of materials used in pads nowadays makes buying one incredibly difficult, particularly when each manufacturer insists that his product is the best. What exactly does “the best” entail, and which pads qualify as “the best”? Look at the materials used to make saddle pads in more detail.


The saddle pad with a fleece bottom is one of the most popular. Frequently, the fleece is either synthetic, natural wool or sheepskin. Many saddles also have this soft material underneath them. Wool fleece provides more comfort than synthetic fleece but compacts more quickly and typically does not last as long.

However, fleece is susceptible to substances in the horse’s sweat that, if not correctly cared for, will cause the fleece to degrade and become unstable. The fleece saddle pad is the least-priced variety in the market.


Compressed wool felt pads have many advantages over typical fleece saddles for horses. The compressed wool’s wicker effect is among its biggest benefits. Felt can absorb sweat from the horse, transfer heat, and dissipate it within the felt.

Compressed wool between 34″ and 1″ is a fantastic shock-absorbing material. Although you should never place an uncomfortable saddle on your horse, the wool pad does help to relieve pressure spots that some saddles may create. Overall, a felt saddle pad is frequently a very good and probably one of the finest options.


Gel inserts are a gelatin-like substance and is both a solid and a liquid in some ways. The gel will spread an impact and return to its former form. These are positioned where the saddle’s bars should make contact with the horse. It frequently lies between pad layers.

The inserts are often hidden inside the felt if the pad is a felt-type pad. The gel inserts are costly and will make the pad heavier due to the labor-intensive process of inserting the gel sections into the pads. When inserted into the pad, they improve shock resistance, making the horse’s fit more comfortable.

Waffle or neoprene bottom

The neoprene saddle pad with a waffle-like design is a brand-new style in the market. One of its many advantages is that the rubber material neoprene is waterproof. Like a waterproof pony blanket, a water-resistant neoprene bottom mat is simple to maintain and keeps looking brand new.

The material can breathe thanks to the waffle bottom, which keeps the horse more comfortable during extended trail rides. Additionally, it offers a perfect cushion to lessen the impact. The adhesive effect of these pads is one benefit. These saddles significantly reduce some saddles’ propensity to roll or slide.

Wrapping up

Find a pad that fits your saddle and your horse’s back to ensure it won’t put too much pressure on the horse’s withers or spine.

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