Buyers Guide to Western Saddle Pads

Wool Contoured Felt Ranch Pad

Wool Contoured Felt Ranch Pad

Saddle pads are used as another layer between the saddle and the horse. They provide protection and extra support for your horse. Saddle pads are used to keep the saddle clean, but also add material to help the saddle comfortably fit your horse.


Western saddle pads are more decorative and usually made of leather or a synthetic material. These are thicker and generally used with Western Saddles.


When purchasing a western saddle pad, the most important things to consider are:

  • Size of the saddle pad
  • Shape of the saddle pad




To ensure the saddle pad complements your horse both aesthetically and ergonomically, you must be careful with the size. A short backed horse generally suits the 30 inch pads. If your horse has a medium length back like my own, I recommend the 32 - 36 inch pads. Last of all, for a long back horse, you should get something close to 38 inches.


This is important, as your horse looks neater with the right sized pad. This is more visually appealing than a long backed horse with a pad that is too short.




Saddle pads come in all different shapes to suit horses with different back contours. It’s important to choose a suitable shape so that your horse is comfortable and will have a smaller chance of becoming injured.


The most general shapes of western saddle pads are:


  • Round

This is the most common shape for Western saddle pads. It provides the best coverage with a round skirt and protects your horse from all the elements.


  • Straight

These western saddle pads are used for horses with a flat back. The shape would be the most comfortable as it’s closest to the horse’ natural shape.


  • Contoured

Contoured pads are usually best suited for horses with large withers or horses with a dip in their back. This follows the shape of the saddle to match your horse.


  • Swayback

This is the perfect saddle pad for swayback horses as it has extra padding in the middle and will provide more support for your horse. This fits better than a contour pad and will be more comfortable.


Choosing the correct saddle pad is extremely important as it impacts the comfort of both you and your horse. To get something suitable, you should take note of purchasing something that is the correct size and shape that fits well. Hopefully this article has given a good introduction to buying the perfect western saddle pad.


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