I wanted to ask you English riders your opinion on my saddle pad situation.

My saddle came with a simple white pad, like this:

Just not as nice, mine is all fleece, I think.

And it's really thin. I was worried about using just that pad, so all I've done so far is just use it on a short 20 minute at the max ride to test the saddle fit. The saddle fit well, thankfully, I've heard horror stories on fitting English saddles but luckily Red's easy easy to fit,  but I still wanted something underneath that. The people I bought it from said they typically just used a small wither pad with the saddle pad, but in my opinion, the saddle pad gave a lot of support in Red's wither area, just not enough on his whole back. She said her horse had a higher wither and Red has a flatter, wider back, so I dunno.

I ordered this pad from smartpak and all of the reviews kind of eased my mind a bit...according to everyone, but one review, the pad was cushiony and thick. I don't need super duper thick but I want some thickness with it as opposed to just a thin, quilt pad. Someone said it wasn't good for a horse who needed wither relief, but like I said, Red doesn't need anything more on his wither.

If I need to, I'll buy another halfpad or something, but I'd rather not. ;) Hopefully these two pads will work!!!

I'm still trying to find out what to do with my bridle. Right now I have a Western bridle, which is totally fine but later on I'd like to splurge on another leather nosed hackamore and a better fitting bridle. His English bridle didn't fit correctly. I may sell it and try to get some money for another "necessity" that I'd like to splurge on....

I was discussing a few possibilities to spice up Redman's life at the barn with my mom, such as getting some cavaletti's out and later on some tiny jumps. He's got the build for it, I don't necessarily want to become a jumper but I think it'll be fun to just try out and do once or twice every now and then. He's jumped a few things on the trail before so I figure, what the hay.

So, what do you guys think of the pad? Please say it looks amazing because the smartpak pad is already here...but I have to wait for Christmas to get it....perks of having a horsey mom. She buys me english tack even though she doesn't like English and thinks I'm betraying cowgirls everywhere.


  1. My motto in terms of saddle pads is that less is more. If the saddle fits the horse, you shouldn't need anything new than a thin pad (Though I also use a half pad, but not to make the saddle "fit")

  2. English saddles are ridden with very little pad, as opposed to the thick pad that Western saddles use. A thin pad, like a dressage pad, is the norm. Sometimes, riders will use a thick pad at the wither to raise the front of the saddle, in instances where the horse is downhill or where the wither area is really underdeveloped in comparison with the rest of their back.

    Put your english saddle on him without a pad. Look from the front and make sure the pommel of the saddle is not resting on his withers. Check from the back to make sure the spine channel is clear of his spine. Then, slowly run your hand between the saddle panel and the horse's back. The saddle should rest evenly and touch the entire length of the panel. If it bridges (has an open spot or place where it doesn't touch) or becomes pinchy (feels like the saddle is tighter on your hand) then the saddle is not a good fit. With english saddles, if the fit isn't good you really can't make it better by adding a pad. When you do the fit test with your hand, try to let the saddle sit on him the way it normally would, because that will give you a good idea of how it will feel on his back. (This is the method my vet introduced me to when we were struggling with his saddle.)

    1. Thank you!!!!!!!! Going to do that! :) I think the saddle fits fine because I checked it over and got the lady at the barn to check it, but I wasn't super keen on the thin white pad. I mean, it's paper thin. The woman who sold it to me said she used it just as a saddle pad, but to me, it looks like a pad to go over a thinner pad-I don't know what they call those, haha.

  3. Yeah if the saddle fits then you use less pad, not more.

  4. The saddle pad you ordered looks exactly like what I used. The girls at my old barn upgraded me to square pad with sheepskin so I usually use that now. But I didn't have any problems for many years when using just a plain square pad. I was totally confused though when I first went from western to English because my western pads, have always been really thick!! At first I was using thick, shaped fleece pads, but then when I started riding at an English barn, they were all riding in just plain square pads, so that is what I used!

  5. The pad pictured above is a half pad which should be used in conjunction with a secondary saddle pad. I currently use a paper-thin saddle pad on Fiction combined with a Thinline half pad that is thicker and has shock absorbency. The reason for this is because his saddles fit him perfectly and since I don't want a lot of bulk but really want the shock absorbency, I paired a super thin saddle pad with a half pad = 1 full saddle pad.

    You really don't need a lot of padding. An average sized pad or even a slightly fluffy pillow pad that compresses a bit. Too thick and you can actually cause your horse pain and discomfort.

  6. Show us pictures with the pad on his back, and without. Honestly if the saddle fits properly you really don't NEED a pad. The British historically rode without them. People usually ride with a square quilt pad underneath a half pad, but mostly to keep the fleece from the halfpad clean.

  7. My saddle fits Henry great and I typically use a square saddle pad (like the smartpak one I reccomended to you a while ago, love it!), a half pad or my ride light pad or my thin line pad :)

  8. Don't need the half-pad it came with at all if the saddle fits correctly. A thin pad, like the one you ordered, will help keep the underside of your saddle cleaner when you ride... that's really the only purpose.