Dressage rider turning western

Let me start with I am a life long English rider. I took my young dressage horse to be started by a well known western rider. A few months has turned into a year because I am just having so much fun in this environment.

Turns out my dressage horse and myself are thrilled with sorting cows. I don’t plan on putting away my dressage saddle completely but I do plan on buying a western saddle so we can cross train more effectively.

Which leads me to my question. In the English world we have sooooo many colours and options for that matchy matchy look that I am obsessed with. Western pads are significantly more expensive so I can see why people own just 1 or 2 vs the 15+ Dressage pads I have.

What would be the comparable western brand to the popular Lemieux saddle pads in the English world?

These pads fit extremely well, are breathable and wash up well every time.

I’ve tried a few different makes and models of pads on her and I’ve learned I definitely need a contour, or even a cut out wither hole. No one at my barn has those flex fit pads for me to try but they could work well. She has warmblood withers.

5 star brand seems to be coming up in my search consistently as the top option. I’ve been using one on her the last few days and it fits well. The price is a bit off putting as a newbie to the sport. Is there a similar quality pad, slightly cheaper, that maybe comes in pretty colours?

Thank you!

The main pad is plain, you put a colored pad on top.

It’s worth it to spend the money on a good pad for the bottom.

Here’s a fun website for the top layer. https://saguaroshowpads.com/

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I am also an English (mostly dressage) rider who has gone to the western side of things. :blush:

This pad has done well for me and is less pricey than the 5-Star pads (Although some day I’d love to have one of those.)

I absolutely love my Erin Rhea saddle blankets to put on top of the underpaid. They are pricey, but I found my first one used, and she sometimes has sales.

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Oh, curse you! :laughing:

Wasn’t familiar with this site. So I browsed through it and found one that’s perfect for my turquoise show shirt. I’ll console myself by the fact that it was on sale.



I have an earlier version of this pad for schooling/trail riding. I LOVE IT. It is shim-able, and the wool underside allows some movement under the saddle.

For showing, I used a compressed wool pad under a pretty woven pad. My colours centered around the teal chaps I found at a used tack store.

Glad to share the pain. I have three, although I’m trying to rehome one I bought on sale that I haven’t used—I found another I liked better and just HAD to have. LOL.

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I bought 5Star, CSI, and SPHGear. SPHGear won for it’s cutout leg and split wither. After hoisting a western saddle up, the pad is super easy to adjust with the weight of the saddle on it.

I have plain black and grey. I don’t use an overpad and with the colors they make, you might not need to bother.

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Wow, those are very nice blankets!

Yes! A friend turned me on to them, much to my pocketbook’s despair. LOL. Such great color combos.

Excellent!! Thank you for all the suggestions everyone. I’m off to do some internet browsing :slight_smile:

5 Star, hands down. Worth the money because they will hold up, clean up, and last you a long time. I even do what they say not to do, and I take a pressure washer to mine once or twice a year.

The show folks often just get a colored blanket to put over the top of a pad. Then you don’t have to have so many pads, and it’s cheaper to get the colored blanket.

With that said, I did buy my one horse a woven Impact Gel pad to use for ranch horse showing.

Not the greatest picture to see the saddle pad, but there’s multiple colors in it so I can easily change my shirt color if I want to change colors, and then I just use the same pad.

My other horse, I just use saddle blankets over her 5 Star pad. And you can’t tell which one of my horses is wearing a blanket and which one is wearing an actual pad! (Unless you’re close enough to see the Impact Gel logo on the pad).


ok… my horse isn’t even to her second birthday yet, but she’s black and OMG my Hufflepuff self needs the “Hufflepuff” saddle blanket!


That pad would ba stunning on a black horse. :grin: You can buy it for her birthday.

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