There are several factors to choosing a saddle pad.
- Horse shape.
- Look at your horse's topline. Does your horse have withers or is more flat backed? If your horse has withers you will want to choose a contoured pad and not a straight back pad. If your horse have very little withers (mutton backed) then a straight backed pad or contoured will work. There are also sway back pads for horses that have a prominent sway back.
- What are you going to be doing with your horse?
- If you are mainly going to be trail riding in the woods, you may want to stay away from fleece lined saddle pads. The stickers and such off cedar trees along with other debris from trail riding in the woods tend to get stuck in the fleece. This makes it harder for cleaning and also if something works it way in the fleece to where it is under your saddle can be uncomfortable for your horse.
- If you are going to be roping, you will want to ensure you have a high quality pad for shock absorption.
- Horse Size
- If you have a smaller or short backed horse and purchase a longer saddle pad, the pad may end on the horses hips instead of the back. Besides the visual appeal of this scenerio, it may also rub the horse when it moves, distract the horse, or even make the horse sore.
- Saddle Size
- You want to make sure that your saddle pad is big enough for your saddle. If you have a 16" seat roping saddle then a 29/30" in length saddle pad will probably be too small depending on how big a a skirt your saddle has. Just make sure that your saddle isn't hanging off the back of the saddle pad.