Soften saddle pads

Have a nice wool pad that is thicker than I usually buy, & it’s really stiff. Stiff enough that I’m uncomfortable putting it on my horse. Is there a way to soften it some other than riding in it?

Not that I know of. They want those felt pads thick, so stiff happens too. I have some old hair and wool felt pads that are stiff after 20 years! Not terribly thick, but not very flexible.

I did soften up a white hospital fleece felt pad by washing and drying it in a laundry bag, but it was only 1/2 inch thick. Wool probably would not tolerate thw washer and dryer without damage.

You could try soaking it down with a hose and then using woolite to clean it. That may help soften it. Is it new?

What brand is it?
How thick did you buy?

The thickness shouldn’t necessarily cause it to be stiff. Yes, obviously the thicker the pad the more “stable” it can be (if that makes sense) but the actual wool fibers themselves should still be soft to the touch.


I was taking “stiff” to mean not very bendable. Not that felt was rough to the touch.

I do not think soaking pad in woolite is a good idea. Very hard to rinse clean. Coating of woolite on felt fibers might be irritating to skin on the horses back, where heat and sweat are hotter during riding. Could easily sore him up under the saddle. I always double rinse with plain water, after washing any pads or blankets to remove soap residue. Soap not rinsed out or fabric softener on pads, can be quite irritating to warm skin under a saddle.

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What brand is this? I just recently bought a Reinsman and a Diamond Wool that I would call substantial, but not stiff.

If you mean stiff as in rough to the touch, then here’s an article I found that helps with itchy wool sweaters… Might be worth a try on the saddle pad?
Fellow hunter/jumper rider here, so apologies if I sound completely confused as I have never really used wool saddle pads. Just hoping to help :lol: