Saddle pads have always been a big question mark for me. There are so many options, all of them claiming they do kind of the same things. How do you know which one will actually be the best choice for your horse? [Update at the end of the post!]
I spoke to SaddleRight on the phone, and they were SO helpful, kind, and knowledgeable. Their pads are custom made, so you get the right size and style for your horse and saddle. After sending in photos of my horses back's to double check, and measuring the lengths of my saddles, I got to select my favorite color and my order was submitted!
Their Western pads can have so many fun color options. I went with my beloved burgundy with black wear leathers. My English pad is brown glove leather, but they also have a suede version where you can select colors. We've now been using these pads for about 9 months, and they pretty much look the same with just a little wear from the saddle on the suede!
Our Experience with the Pads
Since receiving our pads we have done tons of trail riding. I noticed a difference right away with Tucker, as he became less opposed to wearing a saddle. I only recently bought a new treed saddle for Trubee, so most of our experience with the western pad has been with a treeless saddle. I don't think I would ever put a treeless saddle on a horse again without a SaddleRight pad. Trubee definitely moved out more freely! I got to experience the most forward-moving, wonderful trail horse that he's ever been as he got in amazing shape riding the mountain trails we lived by last year!
Something that I appreciate about these pads, is how thin they are...they don't disconnect you from your horse like some super thick pads do. But they are not lightweight - they are actually shockingly heavy for how thin they are! The core material is so dense, that if you push on one spot, you will not feel the pressure on the other side at the point that you are pushing. They distribute the pressure, which is how they eliminate those pesky pressure points.
Now that we have a traditional saddle again, Trubee has felt amazing in the arena. I feel confident when I tack up that the SaddleRight pad is providing him the support and comfort that I would expect from such a well-established company. Did you know they have over 34 years of experience? For such a high quality product, I was really surprised I hadn't heard of them before! They may not spend the big bucks on marketing, but they do not skimp on the quality of their products.
Why We Love SaddleRight
So, here's a breakdown of what makes SaddleRight pads so special:
- The core material is guaranteed never to compress, deform or degrade
- The core material moves and recoils with the movement of your horse
- No memory foam, gel foam, or air bladders are used in their pads - these things actually significantly INCREASE pressure points on your horse 🤯
SaddleRight also offers a trade back program, where you can send your old SaddleRight pad back and purchase a new pad at 50% off. Pretty cool!
The material is also great to clean - I pretty much have only brushed off any dirt or sand. I hear you can hose it off if needed!
Be sure to take a look around their website to learn more about what they can do for you: https://www.saddleright.com
It is now the end of 2021, and I've been using my SaddleRight saddle pads since August of 2018. I will never ride a horse without one again! Last year, I purchased a great saddle that has an adjustable gullet, so it can be adjusted to fit my horses super well. I learned from a saddle fitter that the SaddleRight pad is still needed to provide shoulder clearance during movement, and is overall a good idea for any horse or situation. I use my English pad with that saddle, as it is more of a Dressage saddle in shape. I've also used my English pad directly on Tucker as I searched for good square pads to use between the leather and his back, and didn't have any issues. I was only riding for short rides, but the minimalist look was kind of cool for those situations!
I also use my English SaddleRight pad to store my new saddle, to protect it from any damage from the bars of saddle racks in trailers or simply the saddle rack in the tack room. I feel confident that the pad will protect the saddle while it is stored 24/7, while still being able to bounce back immediately when I throw it on my horses! It hasn't shown a single sign of age or compression, and judging by the 40 year old pad I saw at SaddleRight headquarters when I visited a couple years ago, I don't expect it to change any time soon!
The English pad pictured here was made in 1981, it is covered in elk hide, and is still perfectly functional! It doesn't look pretty anymore, but the customer mailed it in for their trade back program to get a new pad at 50% off. I mean really, who else offers that??
I cannot express enough how wonderful both the saddle pads and people are at SaddleRight. I would highly recommend getting in touch with them to place your custom order, or purchasing one of the standard sizes sold at sites like SmartPak and Riding Warehouse!