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Before you hit the trails, you want to make sure you have all the proper equipment, and that includes a good quality saddle pad. To help you with your selection, we are sharing the best saddle pads for trail riding that will make for a happy horse.
Though trail riding is often a relaxing way to spend time, it also can be demanding on your horse. Your horse should have a saddle pad that is comfortable and supportive for long trail rides.
Choosing the Best Saddle Pad For Trail Riding
The purpose of a saddle pad is to prevent friction from the saddle, absorb sweat, provide support, reduce slipping and even help disperse weight. When choosing a saddle pad for trail riding, you need to consider comfort, support, safety, discipline, and durability.
Comfort is key to a happy horse out on the trails. A good saddle pad should be breathable and moisture-wicking so your horse stays cool. Fleece, wool, and cotton are good materials to look for.
A good saddle pad should have the proper support your horse needs. Look for contoured pads with suitable padding for your horse’s needs. Some horses may benefit from wither relief or correction pads.
Safety is vital when choosing any riding equipment, as you don’t want to put you or your horse at risk for injury. Avoid buying cheap, poorly made saddle pads, as they will not provide the protection or support your horse needs.
Though most trail riders are western, there is a fair share of English trail riders out there. Be sure to buy a saddle pad that is appropriate for your discipline to ensure a proper fit.
If you are an avid trail rider, you want a saddle pad that will last. From unpredictable weather to tough terrains, you want a saddle pad that can withstand the elements.
8 Best English & Western Saddle Pads for Trail Riding
All-Purpose Contoured Western Saddle Pad
This gentle yet sturdy saddle pad is ideal for horses with sensitive skin. The hypoallergenic design is also temperature regulating, moisture-wicking, and breathable, keeping your horse cool and comfortable in all weather.
The quilted design is similar to an all-purpose English saddle pad, but it is built for all western saddles. It features memory foam shims for extra support that can be removed based on the horse and rider’s needs.
The ability to customize the memory foams allows you to adjust for changes in your horse’s shape due to age or physical condition.
Diamond Wool Contour Felt Ranch Pad
With a classic design, this is an all-around great saddle pad. The contoured spine has a wither relief notch that fits comfortably on your horse’s back while being reinforced with distressed leather for added support.
The one-inch thick wool is strong and flexible, as it won’t slide around on your horse’s back. It is breathable while reducing sweat and keeping your horse cool, which is important for long trail rides. The durable build will last for several years while reducing the chances of saddle sores.
Impact Gel Trail Endurance Saddle Pad
For the avid endurance rider or trail lover, this saddle pad is a must-have. Handcrafted and sewn in the USA, it is built to last many years of wear.
The unique wool blend improves circulation by allowing air between the horse and pad. It features shock-absorbing gel that is not only temperature resistant but also environmentally friendly.
With heavy-duty leather accents, it will hold up even in tough conditions. The flexible design allows for even pressure point distribution, reducing inconsistencies in the fit of your equipment.
Derby Originals Premium English Saddle Pad
Ideal for most English disciplines, this handy saddle pad is a wonderful choice for the adventurous trail rider. Velcro close pockets are featured on each side, which is great for packing items such as water, your phone, and a first aid kit.
It features a half fleece lining and padded quilted design that is comfortable and breathable for your horse. This unique design prevents slippage, sore spots, and irritation. It is available in six fun and vibrant colors including reflective black to increase visibility.
Kavallerie All-Purpose Saddle Pad
For ultimate performance, this all-purpose English saddle pad features breathable mesh fabric for top-notch comfort and airflow. The quilted anti-slip padding gently holds on to your horse’s skin, you won’t have to worry about your pad sliding around or causing irritation.
The unique breathable Bamboo Charcoal fabric inside naturally regulates humidity and heat, which is perfect for summer trail rides. With the soft fur lining and diamond quilted pattern, your horse will be comfy your entire ride.
The pad contours to your horse’s body for an exceptional fit and it can be paired with a gel pad for extra comfort.
Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Correction Saddle Pad
For horses with sensitive withers or saddle fitting issues, this western saddle pad is a lifesaver. Young and old horses alike will benefit from its gentle, shock-absorbing powers.
The contoured two-tone orthopedic grade felt with Poron XRD and memory foam build-up is specifically designed to relieve shoulder strain and pressure. Its unique design benefits horse’s with unusual conformation, high withers, narrow shoulders, or asymmetrical muscle development.
Your horse will be comfortable as this pad wicks away sweat while the leather trimming provides extra durability.
Classic Equine BioFit Correction Felt Pad
This classic western pad is built specifically for horses with muscle atrophy behind the shoulder blade, along with older horses and ones with high withers. The Biofit “buildup” is made to even out saddle pressure and lift the front of the saddle away from the spine.
Thanks to the unique design, your horse’s shoulders are freed up and uneven pressure points are eliminated, leading to better performance and less soreness.
The orthopedic grade felt absorbs impact while providing superior shock absorption and protection. With a wool fleece lining, heat dissipates while sweat is wicked away.
Shires Airflow Anti-Slip Saddle Pad
This superior-quality saddle pad provides english riders with a secure and safe fit for out on the trails. The fleece lining provides comfort while keeping moisture levels down by allowing air to circulate between the fibers.
From jumping to rough terrains, the anti-slip silicone lining prevents your saddle from sliding out of place. Fleece padding at the withers provides relief by preventing pressure and rubbing. It contours to your horse’s body and is particularly ideal for horses with high withers.
Below we have written a few common FAQs regarding trail riding saddle pads:
How Do You Wash a Saddle Pad?
Keeping your saddle pad clean is important as dirt and sweat can build up over time. This can be irritating for your horse and can lead to sores or rubs.
When washing your saddle pad, check to see the manufacturer’s instructions. Most fleece and cotton ones can be hand washed or machine washed cold on gentle, using a small amount of mild detergent.
For wool pads, use a damp sponge or cloth with mild soap to wipe away any debris before rinsing with water.
What Type of Saddle Should I Use For Trail Riding?
You can use any type of saddle you want for trail riding, as long as it properly fits you and your horse. Your saddle should be in good condition and comfortable to ride in.
For more avid trail riders, that are both western and English saddles that are specifically made for trail riding. These saddles are durable, lightweight and often feature additional padding. They are built to keep you and your horse comfortable for hours on end.
What Essentials Should I Pack for Trail Riding?
When it comes to trail riding, you want to be ready for anything, from an injury to rainy weather. Be sure to pack basics like your cellphone, water and a first aid kit (with supplies for horses and people).
For longer rides, it is a good idea to also pack a map, compass, food, rain poncho, safety whistle, pocket knife, bug spray and sunscreen. Be sure you are also appropriately dressed. You should wear riding pants or jeans, a helmet, boots and a comfortably fitted shirt.