Saddle Pads. Discuss.

Katie and I were lamenting recently about the lack of affordable hunter show pads that provide the same saddle fit solutions as a half pad.

I ride daily in a square AP pad topped with a Lami-Cell Gel/Foam half pad. I use the half pad because my saddle is too wide for my pony, and the pad does an excellent job of keeping it up off his withers when I am riding. And as a nice bonus, the Lami-Cell pad only cost me about $35, which is WAY less than a lot of the fancy memory foam, sheepskin, or gel pads out there. Or a new saddle. The rigid structure of the pad also does exactly what I need it to do - lift up the pommel of my saddle and keep it off Dino's withers, while also filling in some of the extra space.

Grouchy pony. But this shows our pad combination quite well! 

When we're playing in the jumper ring, the look of the black half pad is a non-issue. Square pads are de rigueur for jumpers, so using the pad combination that makes my saddle fit best doesn't even come into question.

Black half pad? What black half pad? Classy jumper look!

But since we're going to be dabbling in the hunter and equitation rings this year, the square pad and black half pad combo just won't cut it. Standard issue for hunterland is a white shaped fleece pad, or less commonly, a white fleece or sheepskin half pad.

Here we are wearing a shaped pad, before I realized the error of my saddle fit.
If my saddle was a perfect fit, your standard shaped pad would work just fine for our trips to hunterland, but unfortunately, it's not.

So I've been using this bad boy - my old school Beval-style wool wither relief pad, popular circa the year 2000. It's about 1" thick and has a cut-out over the wither area, making it a somewhat hunter-acceptable pad that maintains the same saddle fit as my square pad and half pad combination.

Sleepy pony is bored of his saddle pad. 

Can this pad be considered retro at this point in time?

And while it certainly works, and doesn't look terrible, I'd really love something a little more modern, that's all-white without the grey wool peeking out, and easier to clean. This wool monstrosity is not something you can just toss in the washer, which is a huge pain in the butt, especially since clean saddle pads are really important to me! I do NOT like putting anything crusty or grody on my pony's back. Ew.

The only problem is that there aren't a whole lot of hunter-style pads out there that provide the same fit solutions as a more rigid half pad, and the ones that do cost between $150-$300.

That is just not a price I'm willing to pay for a saddle pad that will only get used at shows when I decide I want to do the hunters or eq.

So what is a girl to do when she needs a show pad that offers the same saddle fit as a correctional half pad? Aside from having Katie use her mad sewing skills to make me some sort of custom pad, I'm stumped.

All you hunter riders out there, if you use a half pad to correct saddle fit, what do you show in? Is there an affordable option out there that will cost me under $100? Discuss!


  1. Honestly I'd get a cheapy white fleece pad that fits well and put it *under* your Beval half pad. I love those Beval ones, they are the best!

  2. I just don't know if a regular pad would tuck up nicely underneath the Beval pad, you know? I don't want it to bind at the withers... But it's worth a try! I also don't mind the halfpad-only look... but the Beval pad is such a pain to clean!

  3. I do a shaped pad with a white half pad on top. Usually helps.

  4. I would recommend you look at the ECP Wither Relief pad to use on top of your shaped pad. It has more to it than ThinLine, has a cut-out in the top like the Beval, but isn't quite as thick and is more modern, being all white with sheepskin. They're a bit pricey at $155ish, but honestly mine has lasted FOREVER... I bought it at least 7 years ago and it's going strong.

    You could also try to find a used one on Facebook. Do you belong to English Tack Trader, etc. type groups?

    1. I stalk ETT like it's my job. Thanks for the tip on the ECP!

  5. I am the person who is spending $300 on a show pad that works the same as a baby/half combo and I don't even get to try it for another 3 weeks :( stupid grumble grumble


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