english saddle pads

Best English Saddle Pads: My 7 Top Picks

If you’re using an English saddle and are looking for extra comfort for your horse, then an English saddle pad could be the solution. However, finding the perfect one for your saddle, horse, and other requirements can be challenging.

English saddle pads can be made from various materials, come in various sizes, and have a range of colors and patterns. There’s a large market out there, but not all English saddle pads are worthy of their price point. In this guide, I will discuss all the benefits of a saddle pad before explaining how to find the perfect one and finishing up with my chosen seven best English saddle pads for you to consider.

Many believe the saddle pad to be one of the most important pieces of horse equipment, and it can certainly make the overall riding experience more pleasurable for the horse and owner. But, do you want or even need one? Let’s find out!

My Bottom Line Up Front:

The Saxon Element Quilted AP Saddle Pad is an excellent choice for those who want a standard saddle pad that won’t break the bank. A contoured back, girth loops, and keepers are included with this saddle pad. There aren’t many color options, but the selection available will work for everyday use.

At a Glance: 7 Best English Saddle Pads

What is Saddle Pad?

horse saddle pad

As the name suggests, a saddle pad is a ‘pad‘ that sits underneath the saddle. There are various kinds of saddle pads and many shapes tailored to different types of saddles. However, all will serve the same purposes. The key is ensuring you have the proper saddle fit when purchasing.

The main purposes of saddle pads are:

  • To provide extra security for the saddle and prevent it from rocking or slipping.
  • To reduce pressure on the horse‘s back and decrease the risk of skin irritations.
  • Help prolong the longevity of the saddle.
  • Those made from moisture-wicking material reduce moisture and cool the horses’ back.

How to Use an English Saddle Pad

Proper saddle pad placement is essential. I liken it to wearing jeans; if they’re twisted, not fastened properly, or just don’t fit right, they’re infuriatingly uncomfortable. The same can be said for your horse and its saddle pad. I always ensure the horse‘s withers are well covered; for me, the longer the pad and the more product under the saddle, the better. Opt for more padding at the front as pads and saddles will always slip backward, not forward.

Saddle pads with clips and fastenings should provide much more stability, but additional fastenings aren’t always necessary with correct sizing and fitting.

How to Wash an English Saddle Pad

Of all the saddle pads available, I believe English saddle pads are the easiest to clean. This is because their traditional fleece or cotton quilting materials can either be washed by hand or thrown in the washing machine. However, if you wash your English saddle pad in a washing machine, ensure that you use cool water and avoid using a heat cycle in the tumble dryer, as this can change the shape of the pad irreparably.

For English saddle pads with moisture-wicking materials, you should always line dry after washing, as even a low heat tumble dry can damage this type of pad.

Buying the Right English Saddle Pad

english saddle pad

Like all equestrian items, there are many things to consider when buying an English saddle pad. Although not the most expensive item in your tack room, it is one that, if not right, could cause harm to the horse and be unsafe for the rider. Additionally, who wants to waste money on a product not fit for purpose?

While there are many factors to take into account, here are what I believe to be the most important:


There are two classic materials used in English saddle pads and these are natural and synthetic. Sometimes, you will find a mixture of textiles to result in a lower price. The main things to keep in mind are moisture control and breathability. While some materials will be extremely comfortable for a horse, they may not be so effective at keeping the animal cool.


With English saddle pads, there are a few basic shapes to choose from:

  • Full Pad: Almost square in shape, full pads can be simple in design or have a more tailored look. Higher quality options may be thickly quilted or have foam or gel centers. You will find various materials, such as neoprene, cotton, or quilted faux suede. Full pads aren’t the best choice if the primary need is to cool a horse due to their large size.
  • Shaped Pad: The most traditional English saddle pads are shaped pads, which will follow the saddle’s shape. Like square pads, you will find many different material choices, and most will come with loops to attach to the billet straps or D-ring for additional stability.
  • Half Pad: Increasingly popular over recent years, half pads are a top choice for the show jumping ring. These pads only cover a small section of the horse‘s back. Still, they can be exceptionally comfortable and feature thicker material than most, with added gel or foam centers for shock absorbency.
  • Riser Pad: Rider pads lift the back of the saddle to provide a better balance for the rider. Additionally, riser pads can even out the pressure for the horse and reduce shock. A common material is synthetic foam.

Key Features of an English Saddle Pad

English saddle pads have to be comfortable for the horse, and there are two key attributes to maintaining the horse’s comfort:

  • Moisture control
  • Breathability

If an English saddle pad doesn’t have a means of airflow, heat will become trapped under the saddle, which can result in saddle sores and skin irritation for the horse and slippage of the saddle, which can be dangerous for the rider. Moisture needs to be absorbed by the pad and then able to evaporate, commonly known as wicking.

How thick an English saddle pad is also something to look for, as a thin pad under an ill-fitting saddle will not reduce discomfort or even increase it. Conversely, a saddle pad that’s too thick can put too much pressure on the spine and spinal nerves.

Other features can include:

  • Reinforced girth area to enhance the longevity of the saddle.
  • D Rings to provide additional stability.
  • Reflective strips are ideal for moonlit and nighttime rides when extra visibility is a benefit.

My Product Criteria

I wanted to cater to every reader with this guide, so as well as my usual product criteria, I have looked at other preferences, such as colors, patterns, and materials. Here are the things on my checklist:


The price point for English saddle pads varies between $20 to $200, and I wanted to include pads within most people’s budgets. However, I didn’t want budget picks and low-cost pads simply because they were inexpensive. On the other hand, I didn’t want to choose expensive pads just because they were pricey.

While you will find some diversity in price in this guide to meet most budgets, I believe all of the saddle pads have justifiable price points.


I have looked at different types of materials so riders with different preferences will find something to their liking. I have strived to ensure that these materials will be comfortable, moisture-wicking, breathable, and durable.

Consumer Feedback

I have used consumer feedback as a benchmark for the English saddle pads I reviewed. If the consensus wasn’t good, I didn’t research the pad any further!

My Chosen 7 Best English Saddle Pads

#1 Saxon Element Quilted AP Saddle Pad – #1 Top Pick

Saxon Element Quilted AP Saddle Pad

The Saxon Element Quilted AP Saddle Pad is a full-sized pad with dimensions ‎26-in x 19.5-in x 0.5-in. I found the quality of the fabric to be high and think this pad is extremely well made, especially given its affordable price point.

The durability of the pad feels average, and the look is conventional. The pad is weatherproof and quick to hang dry; I believe it to be very easy to care for. There are three color options, all of the same quilted design.

This saddle pad includes a contoured back, touch tape straps, and girth loops.


  • Good Value for Money
  • Comfortable Quilting
  • Durable
  • Secure Fitting


  • Limited Reviews
  • Not Many Color Options

#2 TuffRider Basic All Purpose Saddle Pad – #1 Top Budget Pick

TuffRider Basic All Purpose Saddle Pad

The TuffRider Basic All Purpose Saddle Pad is a highly affordable option that could be an excellent choice for new riders. This all-purpose saddle pad is suitable for English saddles and comes in a variety of colors (17 in total), so you can be sure to find one to suit your preferences.

The diamond quilting feels relatively thick and is soft. Overall, the aesthetics are pleasing, but the pad is a little on the large side. The flannel underside helps keep horses cool and is a good choice for a moisture-wicking, durable material.

The TuffRider Basic Pad is machine washable but will show signs of this over time. Some consumers don’t like the larger-than-average size, but this hasn’t been an issue for others. For the price, there are very few complaints.


  • Plenty of Color Choices
  • Flannel Underside
  • Contoured Back
  • Machine Washable
  • Extraordinary Value for Money


  • Larger Than Most

#3 ECP Equine Comfort Products All Purpose Contoured Saddle Pad

ECP Equine Comfort Products All Purpose Contoured Saddle Pad

The ECP Equine Comfort Products All Purpose Contoured Saddle Pad is a little expensive. Still, I believe it is worth its price point when things such as craftsmanship, brand reputation, durability, and consumer feedback have been considered. This saddle pad is highly rated for English saddles and has excellent longevity.

I found the sleek shape to result in a streamlined look, and although the pad is thick, it isn’t bulky, so perfect for competitive riding. There are four memory foam stuffed pockets to eliminate pressure points, and these inserts can be moved to different pockets where additional support may be needed.

There are nine colors to choose from, and the dimensions of 22-in by 19.5-in makes the pad suitable for most breeds, from Arabians to Thoroughbreds! The ECP Comfort Pad is in Amazon’s top 10 for equestrian saddle pads and comes with free delivery if purchased there. However, I urge you to act fast as stocks are currently low!


  • Excellent Quality
  • Customizable Comfort
  • Great Color Choices
  • Durable
  • Good Longevity


  • Quite Expensive
  • Some Mentions of Gel Inserts Being Hard

#4 Derby Originals Shaped English Saddle Pad

Derby Originals Shaped English Saddle Pad

I believe the Derby Originals Shaped English Saddle Pad to be a solid choice for those looking for horse comfort as a primary factor. The Derby Originals Saddle is shaped to fit dressage English saddles and features a plush fleece lining to prevent rubbing and sores. The micro-diamond quilt is multi-layered and is super comfortable for horses and riders.

The dimensions are 23-in by 23-in, and the saddle was designed in the USA and made from high-grade cotton and fleece with reinforced stitching for added longevity and strength. Although super plush, this pad only weighs ‎0.84 kg which is another great advantage for the horse.

Some consumers have found this pad too long, which doesn’t affect the use at all but may impact the aesthetics.


  • Plush Fleece Lining
  • Multi-Layered Quilt
  • High-Grade Materials
  • Lightweight


  • Too Long For Some

#5 Professional Equine English Contoured Saddle Pad

Professional Equine English Contoured Saddle Pad

Whatever color of horse you have, the Professional Equine English Contoured Saddle Pad will have an option that’ll look simply beautiful against the coat. Consumers have particularly noted the purple pad looks stunning against chestnut horses.

I found the size pretty perfect, with a fine balance struck between thick and thin for supreme horse comfort. This is a classic square pad, with dimensions of 23-in by 20-in, and it features a highly effective moisture-wicking quilting. I like the rolled trim finish and think this adds to the overall aesthetics.

Additional stability is reached due to the included billet straps.


  • Beautiful Colors
  • Stunning Aesthetics
  • Great Comfort
  • Included Billet Straps


  • Limited Stock

#6 St. Charles Quilted English Saddle Pad

St. Charles Quilted English Saddle Pad

Whether writing about rope halters or saddle pads, I always like to find something that’s a little fancy, and the St. Charles Quilted English Saddle Pad can be described this way! The fluff trim around the front and back of the pad is unique – I’ve found nothing else like it – and finishes the saddle pad so elegantly that any fashion-conscious horse would be proud!

I found the St. Charles pad to be very comfortable, with just the right amount of fleece to keep you feeling connected to the horse and prevent skin irritation or soreness. The velcro keepers and girth loops are effective at keeping the pad in place, but Velcro can be impacted by weather conditions more than other fasteners, so I would deduct a point for this.

The fleece pad is washable and lined underneath for added comfort. It weighs just 15.84 ounces and comes in an assortment of different colors.


  • Fashionable and Fancy
  • Perfect Amount of Fleece
  • Secure Fastening
  • Washable
  • Nice Color Choices
  • Lightweight


  • Switching from Velcro Would be an Upgrade, in my opinion.

#7 Intrepid International Shaped Double Back English Pad

Intrepid International Shaped Double Back English Pad

The Intrepid International Shaped Double Back English Pad is a super thick pad, with some consumers citing it as the thickest of any English pad they’ve ever used. It is exceptionally well made, although not in the US. I believe it to have great longevity, and it is extremely durable.

You can select black or white, but the white option will get dirty easily. However, this is a machine-washable pad that is quick to dry. Free delivery is available, but there is a fairly long shipping time of over a week.


  • Exceptionally Well Made
  • Very Durable
  • Extremely Padded
  • Machine Washable
  • Free Delivery


  • Not American Made
  • 2 Color Options
  • Long Shipping Time


Question: How Do You Use a Saddle Pad?

Answer: Before attempting to use a saddle pad, it’s important to ensure that your horse is properly groomed; this will remove dirt, debris, and loose hair and calm your horse before saddling. The front of the pad should be positioned onto the withers, with the remaining material going toward the hindquarters.
Place down your English saddle and attach the billet straps and keepers from the pad to the saddle – if applicable – for extra stability.

Question: How Do You Wash a Saddle Pad?

Answer: Most saddle pads today are machine washable, but this isn’t across the board, so it’s important always to read the manufacturer’s care instructions. Pads need regular washing as they build up sweat and dirt rapidly.
I would always use a brush on the inside of the pad to get rid of excess hair and dirt, then follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer, as these can differ from machine wash to hand wash and wipe clean only.

Question: Do I Need a Saddle Pad?

Answer: Saddle pads are not considered essential. However, it is hard to argue with their benefits. For rider and horse, saddle pads offer greater safety and comfort, so why wouldn’t you want that?
You can also check out my article on Best English Saddle Girths. While saddle pads are essential for your horse, girths help keep everything in place and ensure saddle fit and comfort for your horse.

In Summary: My Top English Saddle Pads Picks You’ll Love

I believe all seven of the pads I have reviewed to be fit for your consideration, although some are more effective and shine in different areas than others. Some are likely to appeal more based on your preferences, needs, and budgets.

My personal favorites are the Saxon Element Quilted AP Saddle Pad and the ECP Equine Comfort Products All Purpose Contoured Saddle Pad. They’re both very well designed, durable, and have great comfort levels for horses and riders.

My top budget pick is the TuffRider Basic All Purpose Saddle Pad, and it is hard to dispute this value for money. Don’t forget to find some great saddle accessories as well! Check out our Best Horse Blanket guide to find the best blanket for your horse!

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