An Introduction to English Horse Saddle Pads

Every horse rider knows the importance of a saddle pad. While horse riding, it is important to keep the safety and comfort of a rider in mind. But, it is also equally important to keep the comfort of your horse in mind.

English horse saddle pads are a great way to do this.

In this blog post, I will introduce you to English horse saddle pads and their purpose. They basically provide a cushioning layer between the back of your horse and the saddle. A thin cushion is placed between the saddle and horseback and this cushion helps to reduce friction.

Another purpose of an English horse saddle pad is to absorb your horse’s sweat. To do this, saddle pads come in different designs, styles and fabric types. They also help to keep the saddle of your horse clean.

RELATED: The Best Non-Slip Saddle Pads for Horses

Importance of English Horse Saddle Pads

Saddle pads are an important part of your horse tack. Obviously, if your horse is protected from friction and pressure caused by the saddle, they will feel comfortable. It will also keep them healthy by preventing things like rubbing, which can cause bald spots.

But you can’t just buy any type of saddle pad and put it on your horse

For the safety and health of your horse, it is very important that the saddle pad is well fitted. This means there are a few factors that you should keep in mind when buying an English saddle pad:

  •          An English saddle pad should match the shape of your horse’s back.
  •          The size of the saddle pad should also be comfortable for the horse.
  •          The shape of a saddle also plays a big role.

A saddle pad makes sure that your riding experience is comfortable and pleasant. These saddle pads come in different fabrics including polyester fabrics, sheepskin, and cotton. They are usually made with a fabric that can easily be washed and cleaned – which is important, since one of their functions is absorbing sweat!

One of the best features of English saddle pads is that they still manage give you a lot of freedom of movement. They also help to avoid overheating of your horse’s back muscles.

How English saddle pads are different than saddle blankets

English saddle pads are also known as numnahs. They are different from typical saddle blankets or saddle cloths. They are more like a thick cushion, and correspondingly they give your horse protection from their saddle. In contrast, the purpose of a saddle cloth is to simply warm your horse.

How English saddle pads are different than saddle blankets

Saddle blankets or saddles cloths are thinner than English saddle pads. They are placed on the back of a horse and are made with fabrics such as wool or cotton.

Shapes of English Horse Saddle Pads

English saddle pads come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here are some of the most common shapes:


Round English saddle pads have, well, rounded corners! This type of saddle pad is perfect for horses who have short backs.


This is the most common shape that English horse saddle pads come in. This type of saddle pad is suitable for horses with straight backs. Because they’re the most common, you’ll be likely to find a greater range of square saddle pads available. This means you can find these saddle pads in any material or color that you want.


Contoured of saddle pads come in both square and round shapes, but are fitted to the contours of your horse’s back. These saddle pads are suitable for horses that have sway backs.

Dressage pads

Dressage pads are saddle pads in which the width corresponds to the length of your saddle. It basically just covers the back of your horse.

Baby English saddle pads

Baby English saddle pads are pads that are very thin as compared to other types of saddle pads. People put these saddle pads under another saddle pad. Its basic purpose is to keep your heavy English saddle pad clean.

Specialty pads

Although it’s more expensive, some people choose to invest in custom saddle pads. Speciality English saddle pads are designed to solve different problems that your horse may be experiencing. They may help in the reduction of friction, pressure and back pain.

Shaped Pads

Shaped pads are another common type of English saddle pad. Their design means they fit closely to the shape of your saddle. Often you’ll buy them at the same time. Again, since they are common, they are also available in lots of different colors and materials.

Riser pads

Riser pads are the final type of English saddle pad that I’ll cover here. They are made from foam or foam-like materials. The basic purpose of a riser pad is to reduce pressure and shock as your horse is moving.

Things to keep in mind before buying an English horse saddle pad

Now that you know basic types of English saddle pads and their purpose, you may be starting to think about buying one. When you go to buy your horse an English saddle pad, there are certain things that I want you to keep in mind.

First of all, determine your horse’s needs

Understand the shape of their back. After all, the most important purpose of a saddle pad is to protect your horse.

Things to keep in mind before buying an English horse saddle pad

After that, determine your own needs. Is there any specific color that you want or not? Know your budget and spend according to that. You will be able to find many great English saddle pads even if your budget is low.

Now, understand the type of a saddle that your horse has or that you intend to buy. If you are also looking for a saddle, I have a great piece on how to buy horse tack for the first time, which could be a help. It is very important that the saddle pad you choose is according the saddle of your horse. English saddle pads come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and you will always find the perfect match to your saddle.

If you want some more specific pointers on what to look for, have a look at my guide to buying English horse saddle pads!


There are basically two types of saddle pads; Western horse saddle pads and English horse saddle pads. In this blog post, I introduced you to English horse saddle pads. They come in a variety of shapes and you can buy them as per your preference.

Using a saddle pad is very important for the health of your horse. Therefore, you should take proper care while buying a saddle pad for your horse. You can read more about the buying process and my recommendations here!

Happy riding 🙂

2 thoughts on “An Introduction to English Horse Saddle Pads”

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