What size of a saddle pad do I need?

This is a picture of a 32" length saddle pad.  A smaller roping saddle is being used in this picture.
This is a picture of a 32" length saddle pad. A smaller roping saddle is being used in this picture.
This is a saddle pad that has a length of 38".   Notice the length of the saddle pad that is still behind the saddle skirting?  Imagine what it would look like if a barrel (smaller) saddle was on this pad instead.
This is a saddle pad that has a length of 38". Notice the length of the saddle pad that is still behind the saddle skirting? Imagine what it would look like if a barrel (smaller) saddle was on this pad instead.

What size of saddle pad do I need? Where do I start?

You can start off by asking yourself some simple questions.

  1. What size is my saddle?
  2. Does my horse have a short or long back?
  3. What is my preference on the look of my tack on my horse?

Size of Saddle:

Take into consideration the size of your saddle. Is it a barrel, roping, cutting, etc saddle? If you have a larger saddle such as a roping or cutting saddle then you will probably not want a saddle pad that is 30" in length. Nine chances out of ten that pad will probably just barely be long enough for the saddle to fit on. On the flip side if you have a barrel saddle then you probably want to stay away from the long (38") saddle pads.

Does my horse have a long or short back?

A lot of people don't take this into consideration when choosing a saddle pad. If you have a short backed horse and decide to go with a saddle pad that is 38" long - it may be too long for your horse. It will probably end somewhere in the middle of the horse's rear. However things could be reversed as well. If you have a long backed horse and decide to go with a 30" saddle pad - there may be a lot of the horses back that is still exposed after the saddle pad and saddle are on the horse. It may look weird to you or other people. That is where this next section comes into play.

What is my personal preference of how my horse should look when tacked up?

Ultimately the decision comes down to your personal preference. What do you think looks good? Do you think that your saddle pad should cover the whole back of the horse and come right before his hindquarters start?

A lot of people like for their saddle pad, saddle, and horse to look a specific way. Some people may use a shorter (32") saddle pad on a short backed horse with a barrel saddle. On the same horse if a roping saddle is used they may get a little longer of a pad (36") to compensate for the larger saddle. On a long backed horse if a roping saddle is used they may use a long (38") pad. However if the same long backed horse is used and a barrel saddle they may use a long (36") pad to cover the horses back.

What it really comes down to is what is your personal opinion, your type and size of saddle, and your horse all as a combination. There really isn't a "correct" answer to this question. There are only opinions.

Comments 5 comments

Rpetracek profile image

Rpetracek 8 years ago from Southern California

Not Bad Horse Tack, Enjoyed some of your pointers. Will keep an eye out. I think being in the horse industry you gave solid advice.


nightcats profile image

nightcats 8 years ago from North Vancouver

I don't know anything about horses, but this looks like a nicely laid out page with good information.


Black Pearl 1 profile image

Black Pearl 1 8 years ago from USA

Very informative and to the point.


redfox 5 years ago

Thanks for the info just what I was looking for


Miss Lil' Atlanta profile image

Miss Lil' Atlanta 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

I'm having to buy a new saddle pad sometime soon, so I've definitely been thinking about white style of saddle pad that I'm going to choose.

First I need to choose a lease horse out before I can do anything though lol.

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