1.  What type of activity do you do with your horse?
           
The saddle pad that works best for you will depend on what you do with your horse.  If you are active in competitive sports such as roping, cutting, barrel racing, ect you should be looking at saddle pads that offer your horse the adequate protection to be able to take a hit from a steer or the pressure of cutting a cow or bending around a barrel.  If you just enjoy to go out and ride with friends/family around in the evenings or weekends then a good quality every day pad will suit your needs just fine.

2.  Time spent on horse.

The more time you spend on your horse the higher quality of a saddle pad you should need.  If you are on your horse for several hours every single day you will need a durable pad if not two saddle pads that will last and take the wear and tear and still be comfortable for your horse.  If you spend an hour or two on your horse on the weekends then you could get away with one of the cheaper quality every day pad.


3. Saddle Fitting Issues.

I would first like to make the statement that it is VERY VERY important to make sure that your saddle fits your horse and doesn't leave any dry spots on the horse's back, isn't too narrow and putting pressure on the shoulders or isn't too wide and putting pressure on the horse's withers.  Think of it this way - how miserable would you be in a pair of shoes that didn't fit carrying around at least $200 pounds during the day?  Well the same goes for your horse.  There are correction saddle pads that help with saddles that do not fit properly but please keep in mind that these are only temporary fixes until you can get a saddle that fits your horse properly.

4.  Horse Conformation/Personal Preference

There are different saddle pad sizes.  So if you have a shorter backed horse you probably wouldn't want to have a saddle pad that extends onto the top of the horse's rump.  If you have a long backed horse and put a 28" in length pad on the horse then it may look a little weird and give the impression that the horse doesn't have a good conformation.  Different saddle sizes and saddle pads on the same horse alters the horse's appearance more than you would think.


5.   Saddle Pad Durability:

You know the old saying "You get what you pay for"?  Well the same rings true in the saddle pad area as well.  Your "cheaper" saddle pads probably won't hold up as long and they probably aren't protecting your horse very well either.  So you need to make the decision on your budget for a saddle pad.  Do you want to go the cheaper route and probably have to buy another cheaper pad in the near future and take a chance on your horse being uncomfortable?  Do you want to spend the money from the start and get a good quality saddle pad that will last for YEARS as long as it is taken care of and your horse probably being comfortable?  I personally would spend the money upfront and get a good quality pad and be done with it.  I don't want to get any bad habits started with my horse just because he/she was uncomfortable due to a simple easy fix as a saddle pad.  However, if you can't afford a quality saddle pad right now that is fine.  Just do what is the best for your current situation but I highly recommend that you make a goal to get a good quality saddle pad as soon as you can.


6.  Budget

Of course another thing to think about when purchasing a saddle pad is your budget.  Saddle pads can range anywhere from $50 to $300+.  I cannot stress how important that it is to ensure that you are getting a high quality saddle pad.  You will always be money ahead in our opinion if you save up and get a good pad that is comfortable for your horse as well as your budget.  It will save you money in the long run as well as headaches - trust me.

Saddle Pad Recommendations 
Click on the recommended pad to go to the page.
Barrel Racing/Cutting/Roping


Saddle Fit Issues


EveryDay Riding

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