Gear Riding

8 Best Dressage Saddle Pads For Letter-Perfect Tests

best dressage saddle pads
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Written by Susie W.

Fancy dressage saddle pads and budget options galore

Saddle pads are designed to protect both your horse and your saddle. A perfect saddle fit technically doesn’t require a saddle pad. Most of us, however, will want to use some type of saddle pad to protect the saddle from sweat and dirt while adding cushion for the horse.

If your saddle fits your horse well, you can get away with only a thin pad. When the saddle/horse fit is less suitable, some horses may need extra shock absorption, more room for their withers, or a riser pad, to put the saddle in a balanced position.

Types of Saddle Pads:

  • All-Purpose Pad: these work for both hunter/jumpers and dressage riders. Generally a square shape, all-purpose pads come in a variety of colors and styles. They may be quilted or include foam/gel inserts.
  • Half Pad: these pads fit under the saddle’s padding. They can be used as a riser pad to adjust saddle fit, or for additional cushioning to absorb shock. It is more common to see half pads with hunter/jumpers than in dressage.
  • Shaped Pad: these are formed to fit the shape of the saddle. They may come in dressage or hunter styles; the primary difference will be the pad’s length, as dressage saddles have longer saddle flaps and therefore require a longer pad.
  • Show Pad: a show pad will be white in color (for all English disciplines) and square in shape (for dressage).

Dressage Pads 101

Dressage pads are specifically designed for a longer saddle flap. For show, these pads will always be white in color and square in shape. Schooling pads are a bit more versatile and can come in a variety of colors, materials, and shapes. It’s helpful to understand your saddle’s fit and horse’s conformation to select the perfect pad for you and your horse.

We’ve evaluated nine different dressage saddle pads to create a list of top-rated products. Whether you’re looking for a show pad or shopping on a budget, we’ve got you covered!

Best Dressage Pad Overall

Weatherbeeta Prime Dressage Pad

This product is one of our favorites because it delivers excellent quality at a reasonable price point. The wick-easy lining keeps your horse cool and ensures fast drying times. This pad includes a girth patch for extra durability.

The design fits horses with high withers and comes in a variety of colors.

weatherbeeta dressage pad

Click to see it at Amazon

Key Features:

  • Sizing: One size
  • Design: Wither relief and contour back
  • Price Point: $$

See it at Amazon

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Best Dressage Pad for a Budget

TuffRider Basic Dressage Saddle Pad

This light saddle pad is designed for schooling. It delivers quality at a reasonable price. Customers mentioned that it washes well and works great for everyday use.

tuffrider dressage pad

Click to see it at Amazon

Key Features:

  • Sizing: One size
  • Design: Wither relief and versatile cut
  • Price Point: $

See it at Amazon

Best Dressage Pad for a Horse Show

Steffen Peters Dressage Show Pad

Made by Professional’s Choice, this pad is designed for shows. It is 100% cotton with luxury box quilting. This pad features a generous rise for the withers and a bit more cushion than a budget pad.

steffen peters dressage pad

Click to see it at Amazon

Key Features:

  • Sizing: One size
  • Design: Wither relief and contour back
  • Price Point: $$

See it at Amazon

Best Dressage Pad for Daily Use

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Roma Ecole Double Diamond Dressage Pad

This quality quilted pad comes in a variety of color combinations. It features a cushioned Wick-Easy lining for moisture control and maximum comfort.

roma dressage pad

Click to see it at Amazon

Key Features:

  • Sizing: One size
  • Design: Wither relief and wicking fabric
  • Price Point: $

See it at Amazon

Best Dressage Pad for High Withers

Toklat Classics III Dressage Pad

This show pad combines elegance with non-slip grip and easy care. It is both machine washable and safe for the dryer.

Made in the USA, this pad works well for horses with high withers.

toklat dressage pad

Click to see it at Amazon

Key Features:

  • Sizing: One size
  • Design: Wither relief and non-slip fabric
  • Price Point: $$

See it at Amazon

Best Premium Dressage Saddle Pad

Steffen Peters SMx Luxury Dressage Pad

This saddle pad has garment-quality shearling over the withers and across saddle pressure points for maximum comfort and minimum slippage. Made by Professional’s Choice, this product is also padded with UltraShock, a signature shock absorbent material.

steffen peters dressage pad

Click to see it at Amazon

Customers love this product and have mentioned purchasing more than one despite the high price point, a tribute to its quality and comfort.

Key Features:

  • Sizing: One Size
  • Design: Wither relief and shock absorbing
  • Price Point: $$$

See it at Amazon

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Best Half Pad for Dressage

Ovation Europa Sheepskin Vari-Shim Half Pad

This half pad works across all English disciplines. It uses plush, premium sheepskin and two sets of shims. You can decide between thicker Memory Foam or thinner felt to achieve the perfect fit for you and your horse.

Both comfortable and luxurious, this half pad comes in two size options.

dressage half pad

Click to see it at Amazon

Key Features:

  • Sizing: Regular or Large (based on saddle size)
  • Design: Comfy sheepskin and shim pads
  • Price Point: $$$

See it at Amazon

Best Customizable Dressage Saddle Pad

ECP Correction Dressage Saddle Pad

This dressage pad will contour to fit your horse and saddle. It includes memory foam for shock absorption and can be adjusted to accommodate variation in your horse’s shape, such as a change in weight or topline.

ECP dressage pad

Click to see it at Amazon

An added bonus? It comes in a variety of color options.

Key Features:

  • Sizing: One size
  • Design: Wither relief and adjustable padding
  • Price Point: $$$

See it at Amazon: https://amzn.to/301jzAD

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is a dressage saddle pad different?

Dressage pads are generally square in shape, while an all-purpose pad is more rectangular. The pad is designed to accommodate longer saddle flaps and give the rider closer contact to the horse’s sides for efficient communication.

Q: Why do you need a saddle pad?

In a perfect world, your saddle is customized to your horse and sparkling clean at all times. In the real world, many of us can’t afford a completely custom saddle and may need to adjust fit slightly. Saddle pads allow for cushion between the saddle and the horse’s back.

A half pad or riser pad can be useful in repositioning the saddle for optimal balance. The saddle pad also protects the leather from sweat and dirt, increasing the saddle’s longevity.

Q: How do you choose a dressage saddle pad?

Consider your saddle’s fit, horse’s needs, and budget. Does your saddle fit properly? Does your horse have high withers? Need a little extra shock absorption? Do you really want a fun color, or do you need a white pad for showing?

There are a lot of choices available, and you want to be sure you get it right on the first try.

Q: How many saddle pads do you really need?

Most riders who show will have a white pad for showing and a second pad for schooling. This helps keep the white pad sparkling clean and allows for a bit more personalization for your schooling pad.

Q: How do you know if your saddle pad fits?

The purpose of the saddle pad is to protect your saddle from sweat or dirt and provide some additional cushion for your horse.

That said, the saddle pad needs to be big enough to cover the entire saddle area, with no seams directly under any pressure points. You should be able to fit one finger between your horse’s wither and the top of the pad to prevent rubbing.

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Parting Thoughts

Saddle pads are an important piece of tack. Fortunately, there are many options available at a variety of price points. Consider your horse’s conformation, saddle fit, and purpose when selecting the perfect pad. Dressage pads tend to come in only one size, so pay particularly close attention to pad measurements before ordering.

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Further Reading
  • https:// horseracingsense.com/the-3-very-best-dressage-saddle-pads/
  • https:// www.horseandhound.co.uk/buyers-guides/best-white-competition-saddlepads-dressage-squares-497855
  • https:// equineigh.com/best-dressage-saddle-pads/
  • https:// www.farmhousetack.com/blogs/barn-blog/ultimate-english-saddle-pad-guide
 
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About the author

mm

Susie W.

Horses are my first love, but travel is a close second! I grew up riding in 4-H and went on to ride on my college equestrian team. As an adult, I've ridden and shown Quarter Horses for 20+ years, including several wins at Quarter Horse Congress. I also worked for 7 years at a leading horse feed company, and I'm passionate about equine health and nutrition. Lastly, I have a big soft spot in my heart for senior horses!

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