Skip to Content

The 5 Very Best Western Saddle Pads for Your Horse

Any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks in advance – I really appreciate it!


My friends and I often discuss horse tack, and each of us has our favorite styles and brands. However, when it comes to western saddle pads, we all agree these five are the best.

These saddle pads provide the necessary support and comfort and prevent the saddle from slipping when your horses’ backs are sweaty.

Note: A friend suggested I try out his favorite saddle pad, the Toklat Premium SouthWest Western Saddle Pad. So I’m going to give it a try and I’ll update this post with my thoughts.

Saddle pads are critical not only to the comfort of your horse but also to its health. There are a lot of essential factors to consider before choosing your next saddle pad.

How to Choose a Saddle Pad for Riding in a Western Saddle?

As a seasoned rider who’s been riding Western for years, I know how important it is to choose the right saddle pad for your horse. A well-fitting saddle pad can make all the difference in your horse’s comfort and performance.

With so many options available, it can be challenging to know where to start. In this guide, I’ll share with you what to look for when selecting a saddle pad for Western riding and provide some tips to help you find the perfect one for you and your horse.

Picture of a horse with a western saddle and western saddle pad.
Western saddle and pad

There is a common misconception among horse riders that saddle pads are not essential tack but mere cloth used to prevent sweat from damaging the saddle. However, this is not the case. Ignorance of the importance of saddle pads has caused pain and affected the performance of many horses.

Saddle pads are not just a simple cloth that goes under the saddle. They play a crucial role in protecting your horse’s back and ensuring a comfortable ride for both you and your horse. Saddle pads absorb shock, distribute saddle weight evenly, and reduce friction to prevent soreness and discomfort.

Additionally, they help achieve a proper saddle fit by filling any gaps between the saddle and your horse’s back. They also act as a barrier to keep sweat away from the saddle, preventing too much moisture from weakening the leather and causing it to crack or break. For these reasons, Western saddles should sit on top of a saddle pad.

Saddle pads help absorb shock, distribute saddle weight, and reduce friction. Saddle pads also help fit a saddle by filling empty spaces between the saddle and the horse’s back.

Saddles are built around a frame, the “saddle-tree,” which functions to distribute weight evenly across a horse’s back. A proper saddle pad helps spread the weight and protects sensitive areas on the horse’s topside.

Your horse’s withers shouldn’t support your saddle, and some saddle pads are designed to keep this from happening. To ensure your pad is doing its job, look at it and your horse’s back after riding.

If the pad is fit correctly, you should see an even distribution of moisture without any dry spots. If the horse has dry areas where the saddle pad sits, this is a problem that needs attention; these areas often become the site of saddle sores.

These are some of the reasons it’s essential to put effort into choosing the right saddle pads for your horse. Here are a few factors to consider before selecting the best saddle pad for riding in a western saddle.


Size is the most critical factor to consider when buying a saddle pad. Since western saddle pads come in various sizes, choosing the right one is crucial.

The average size of the western saddle pad is 30 x 30 inches. For a small horse or a pony, it is usually 20 x 20 inches.


Square saddle pads are the most common pads. However, you’ll also find other shapes, such as cut-out, round, and countered pads. The most affordable ones are rectangular and square pads.

For a horse with either low or average withers, rectangular and square pads are the best because they give enough support to the horse’s neck and head.

Cut-out saddles are best for horses with high withers because these horses face difficulty lengthening their strides. Some saddle pads are specially designed for high-withered horses.

Round saddle pads have rounded corners that are ideal for horses with low-to-average withers and short backs. High-cut saddle pads work well to prevent wrinkling and bunching.

Cleaning and Materials

Saddle pads come in different materials. However, western saddle pads are generally hard to clean. Hence, the saddle cushion fabric plays a vital role as it can impact its efficiency of giving support and removing moisture.

Fleece is commonly used to make western saddle pads because it provides adequate aeration. However, Neoprene – a rubber-like material absorbs shock effectively. It is easy to clean and enables your horse to feel cooler.

Foam pads are an ideal choice in challenging sports. When choosing saddle pads, make sure to choose one made of breathable material to protect your horse from excessive heat.


Generally, Western saddle pads are thicker than English saddle pads. Thickness plays an essential role as it protects the horse from getting too much pressure on the back. For riding in a western saddle, longer rides need thicker pads.

Hence, consider thicker pads if the total weight (rider and gear) exceeds 200 lbs. A thicker pad is also necessary if the horse is carrying you uphill.

Best Western Saddle Pads

To help you narrow down your search, I’ve reviewed the three best Western Saddle Pads.

Weaver Leather Contour Pad

Picture of Weaver leather contour pad,

Best Overall

The Weaver is the most popular western saddle pad. This saddle pad is made of fleece wool. Although fleece is wool-like, it is synthetic and offers better aeration and performance. Saddle pads made of fleece are generally lighter.

This saddle pad has moisture-wicking qualities and ensures breathability as merino wool is used at the fleece bottom. The pads are made of herculean material that ensures durability and resists mildew and mold.

It is effortless to clean and dries quickly. The pad is 32″x16″ and 1-inch thick that absorbs shocks and impacts. It’s a rectangular-shaped pad that is suitable for working activities, average riding, and aggressive riding.


  • Herculon material ensures durability for long days on the trail.
  • Mold and mildew resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Merino wool wicks away moisture

Overall Impression

Weaver Leather Contour Pad offers longevity and quality and is suitable for all types of horse riding activities. The Weaver is a standard saddle pad that you can count rely on.

Diamond Wool Contour Felt Ranch Pad

Picture of diamon wool contour felt ranch pad,

Best Value

The Diamond Wool Contour Felt Ranch Pad is a breathable saddle pad for people having a smaller budget. Its simplicity makes it one of the best western horse saddle pads. Diamond wool is a well-known brand known for producing high-quality wool products and saddle pads.

This saddle pad uses thick wool felt for cushioning that ensures high-level shock absorption. The thickness reduces pressure on your horse, enabling the horse to reach his full potential. Thick wool also provides breathability.

Moreover, wool has high elasticity and resilience, as it is a super-strong fiber. It easily meshes with your horse’s hair and prevents slippage. Other features include a wither relief notch, distressed leather, and a contoured spine.

You won’t be disappointed if you purchase the Diamond saddle pad.

Customer Reviews: Click here to learn why other customers love the Diamond Wool Contour Felt Ranch Pad. You can also read answers to questions customers submit.


  • Affordable Price
  • Reduces Slippage
  • Wither Relief Features
  • High-level shock absorption

Overall Impression

The Diamond Wool Contour Felt Ranch Pad is an ideal choice for people looking for a breathable pad at an excellent price.

ECP Western Saddle Pad

Best Features

Picture of ECP western saddle pad,

If you want a tough saddle pad with some contour correction features, then ECP Western Saddle Pad is the best choice. The contour correction features improve the safety of your horses.

This saddle pad is made of memory foam that is super effective in absorbing shock. This foam protects your horse’s back from damage when riding, especially in barrel racing and trail rides.

The foam material is very soft and breathable while also providing moisture-wicking ability. The pads’ edges are round and smooth, which can help prevent rubbing against your horse’s hindquarters and causing irritation.


  • Memory foam to adjust to the horse’s shape
  • Moisture-wicking ability
  • Highly shock absorbent
  • Rounded pad suitable for short horses

Overall Impression

The ECP Western Saddle Pad has excellent features to protect your horse from any damage and irritation.

Customer Reviews: Click here to find out what 80% of users who have given five stars have to say about ECP Western Saddle Pad. I find it beneficial to get information from as many sources as possible before spending my money, and Amazon customer reviews are an excellent resource for this.

Picture of a paint horse with a western saddle and pad.
Western Saddle with pad


Choosing the right saddle pad for your horse is an important decision that can make a significant difference in their comfort and performance. The five saddle pads mentioned in this article are some of the best on the market, each offering unique features and benefits.

Whether you’re a professional rider or a recreational rider, investing in a high-quality saddle pad is an investment in your horse’s well-being. By considering factors such as materials, design, and purpose, you can choose the perfect saddle pad to keep your horse comfortable and performing at its best.


What’s the difference between a saddle pad and a saddle blanket?

A saddle pad is a thick, cushioned pad that sits directly on the horse’s back to provide extra cushioning and protection. A saddle blanket, on the other hand, is a thinner and more decorative cloth that is placed over the saddle pad for additional protection and style.

Can you ride without a saddle pad?

Most saddles are built with padding, and if it fits your horse, it can be used without a pad, but it’s not advisable. A proper pad helps distribute weight, protects sensitive areas, and absorbs shock better than a saddle alone.