Best saddle pad material/brand?

What is your favorite quality saddle pad brand, and what material is it made out of?

I have heard that wool and felt are better materials and last longer with deflating. Is this true?

I don’t know of anyone who uses wool or felt for dressage other than sheepskin but I’m sure they exist.

I like any soft cotton pad, but they need to have some stiffness so that they don’t slide down and press on the withers. I love Mattes and my old Dover pads I’ve washed and washed over the years. Also, my Back on Track dressage pads. I pair with sheepskin half pad or Thinline depending on the horse.

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There is a PRI dressage pad made with felt - this link describes it as cotton felt: https://www.ridingwarehouse.com/PRI_Quilted_Swallowtail_Dressage_Show_Saddle_Pad/descpage-PSDSP.html

Do you know any other brands that have a similar fill?

I mostly use LeMieux pads but recently acquired two felt/wool pads and really like them. My horse is a heavy sweater and this wick the moisture well. They also don’t rub him (everything does this time of year) and he seems to like the pad. I got one from the company that made my saddle (Sommer) and purchased another from a person that makes them as part of her small wool business.

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Nice! I am really interested in how to clean them… I was looking for them as well, but the cleaning aspect scared me off… I grew up with them and still remember how iffy they could get after using them for some time…

I really love my one and only Le Mieux pad. Keeps its shape, washes great, stays in place, dries quickly and doesn’t smell, and, of course, so many colors.

If you have a pony like I do or a very short backed horse, these come in a Small size. Not easy to find, but they’re out there.

Le Mieux has so many different types of pads, what material is yours made of?

My le mieux is the suede dressage square. My ancient but new to me saddle has stained it a bit, but I don’t wash it too often.

Forgot to mention the wither clearance is great. My pony has no withers but other pads would press on them even after pulling up on the pad. It also has d-ring instead of billet straps and three ways to secure your billets at the bottom. Very well thought out design.

I used a wool pad (not sheepskin) for a number of years on my mare. She had a forward girth groove and what I can only describe as “long” withers. The wool pad was one of a very few that kept the saddle where it needed to be. For the life of me I cant remember the brand, but it was European… here is one, though not what I had…https://www.5starequineproducts.com/products/english-saddle-pads/english-dressage
Another, way less pricey. https://www.dwequis.com/products/s-cool-ing-pads-dressage-square.

When using mine, I mostly just hosed it off periodically. But that’s how I clean all my pads! Pressure wash setting on the nozzle, lol.

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I have a rubber brush that I use to get the hair and dirt off, and it looks good as new. A saddle fitter that I know uses them too and just hand washes, which could just be spraying with a hose, I don’t know :sweat_smile: Would’ve never thought of one (the one I got with my saddle would’ve been 280€) if I hadn’t gotten one with my saddle.

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Those wool pads are beautiful, but I was wondering about the fill material for some of the more traditional quilted pads. I have a Weatherbeeta performance dressage pad, and it was nice and fluffy at first, but now it is super deflated.

I would think just a basic poly fill.

Well, I’m sort of a weirdo, but I use these: https://nuumed.com/56-hiwither-original-numnah-nm02b-dr. All wool with cotton backing. They’re not square, so probably most dressage folks won’t like them, but I prefer a shaped pad.

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D Arab, I prefer contoured pads for dressage schooling because of better access for touching with the whip (light taps behind the leg).

Yes, cardinale, that’s one of my reasons too. The other is that I’m in SW Florida and try to take every little opportunity to keep the horse cooler.

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My pads are now all Roma Diamond stitch. Pretty low price, the fill stays well, fuzzy on underside and wicks the sweat well. good color selection. ONLY problem is that underside collects hair during shedding season, and the easiest way to get it out is w/ a curry or a good stiff brush. Washing machine doesn’t do it. https://www.sstack.com/roma-ecole-double-diamond-dressage-saddle-pad/p/40710/sku/40710%20FS%20SNS/

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During my research I came across this educational document from USDF which answers pretty much all of the questions I have and brought up research I hadn’t even thought about. I found it super interesting!

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