What Size Saddle Pad Do I Need?

People have a lot of questions when they first ride horses. One of the most common questions is what size saddle pad do I need. The saddle pad helps to shield the horse from pain caused by the saddle. It can also help to improve the fit of an ill-fitting saddle. Knowing how to purchase the right size is critical for ensuring a proper fit. If you have never purchased a saddle pad, now is the perfect time to learn how to size one for your horse.

Why Is a Correctly Fitting Saddle Pad So Essential?

If a saddle pad does not fit correctly, the saddle could create pressure points on the horse that cause serious pain and discomfort. To understand how an ill-fitting saddle pad will feel on your horse, remember how it feels to have a tiny pebble in your shoe. Getting the right fit is essential for the comfort of your horse and can even help with your comfort.

Differences Between Western and English Saddle Pads

Saddle pads are different for Western and English saddles. It is best not to use a single pad for both. It is important to approach the two saddle types differently, to ensure you can purchase the right size.

  • English Saddles

English saddle pads are typically one-size-fits-all. You can take any English saddle pad and use it with any English saddle. The typical measurements of an English saddle pad are as follows.

  • The drop is 17-19 inches
  • The spine is 24-26 inches

If you are purchasing an English saddle pad for a pony, you can expect the measurements to be 3 or 4 inches smaller than those above.

Saddle Pad Size

How to Size a Western Saddle Pad

Western saddle pads are much the same as English saddle pads because they are a one-size-fits-all pad. The main difference in English saddle pads is the adjustments that are made for varying skirt sizes. The following are the typical measurements of an English saddle pad.

  • The drop is 15-16 inches
  • The spine is 30-32 inches

Smaller riders should choose the 30 X 30 saddle pad, while larger riders will likely need a 32 X 32 saddle pad.

Saddle Pad

How to Measure a Saddle for a Saddle Pad

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding measuring for a saddle pad is measuring the horse’s back. You do not purchase a saddle pad according to the length of the back of your horse. Instead, you need to measure your saddle.

Most saddle pads have three different measurements that you will need to know. Consider the following.

  • Length
  • Width
  • Thickness

The first number you see for a saddle pad will be the length of the pad that rests along the horse’s spine. The second number is the width of the pad which stretches from one side to the other, across the withers.

Measuring a saddle is an important part of choosing the perfect saddle pad. It is important to note that you will need to purchase a saddle pad that is at least the length of your saddle’s skirts. You will need to make sure there is a little extra pad on each end.

You will need to measure the length and width of the saddle. To measure the length, determine the two longest points on the saddle and measure across, from the first point to the last.

To measure the width of your saddle, turn it over. Find the center part of the spine and measure from the spine to the outermost point. You will need to double this measurement to get the width.

It is also important a rider knows what thickness to purchase. The thickness of the saddle pad is especially important if a rider is purchasing one to fill in the gaps caused by an ill-fitting saddle.

Once you know the proper measurements, it will be much easier to purchase a saddle pad that will fit precisely. A proper fit is essential for the comfort and protection of your horse. Remember to measure at least twice and purchase once.


Now, you know the importance of a properly fitting saddle pad and understand how to take measurements to ensure the perfect fit. Although having a perfect fit is essential, it is also important to choose the right style and materials.

Make sure to research your options and learn as much as possible. The more knowledge you have on the different types of saddle pads, the better equipped you will be to make the right purchase.

Once you have purchased a saddle pad, make sure it works well with your saddle. It should not shift or cause you or your horse any discomfort. With the right saddle and pad combination, your horse will be more attentive and will not experience pain, and neither will you. Now, you can figure out the answer to what size saddle pad do I need.

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