8 half pads to consider to help perfect your saddle setup

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  • The best half pads for horses can be used for a variety of reasons. Some are added beneath correctly fitting saddles to add an extra layer of shock absorption and aid stability, while others can be added to account for changes in the horse’s shape and help to temporarily improve saddle fit. This is particularly useful when horses are developing or changing shape due to weight, fitness or age, and many of these have shims, which you can add and remove as necessary.

    Some half pads are designed to be used alone, but most can also be used with alongside one of the best saddle pads – some should be used underneath and against your horse’s back, while others should be used between the saddlecloth and saddle. A half pad should mould to the shape of your horse’s back to help distribute pressure evenly and allow the saddle to sit correctly. The best half pads for horses will be breathable and wick away sweat from your horse’s back.

    Best half pads for horses

    Weatherbeeta memory foam shimmable half pad

    WeatherBeeta Memory Foam Comfort Half Pad

    Colours: Black or white
    Sizes: Pony or full
    RRP: From £41.50

    This soft and breathable anti-slip and shock-absorbing half pad from Weatherbeeta helps to distribute pressure evenly. It has a suede top and fleece-lined underneath with memory foam inner. There is also a “shimmable version” that includes eight memory foam shims with four openings – two on each side to allow up to four in the front and four in the back, which allows you to adjust your saddle fit.

    This half pad was reviewed as part of our independent testing scheme – read the full review.

    In the UK? View the standard version now at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk, gsequestrian.co.uk or naylors.com
    In the US? View the standard version now at amazon.com
    In the UK? View the shimmable version now at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk or gsequestrian.co.uk
    In the US? View the shimmable version now at amazon.com

    Rhinegold non-slip gel half pad

    Rhinegold Non-slip Gel Half Pad

    Colours: Black or white
    Sizes: Pony, cob or full
    RRP: £30.95

    This anatomical pad from Rhinegold has a cotton outer, faux fur trim and shock-absorbing non-slip panel. The faux fur gives support and alleviates pressure points, while the rolled edges and padded wither offer additional comfort. It is finished with quilting and soft bindings.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    Fouganza synthetic sheepskin horse saddle pad 900

    Fouganza Synthetic Sheepskin Saddle Pad 900

    Colours: Black
    Sizes: Full
    RRP: £49.99

    This saddle pad has three layers of cushioning along the back separated by mesh to free the topline.

    In the UK? View now at decathlon.co.uk

    Shires Performance suede half pad

    Shires Arma Suede Half Pad

    Colours: Burnt orange, plum, raspberry, grey, black, royal blue, green or white
    Sizes: 15–16.5in or 17–18in
    RRP: £37.99

    In a great range of vibrant colours, this contoured half pad with suede top side from Shires has a SupaFleece lining that cushions impacts and increases airflow. It features touch-close retaining straps and a hard-wearing girth guard. Machine washable.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk or gsequestrian.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com
    LeMieux ProLambskin half pad

    LeMieux Merino+ Half Pad

    Colours: Natural/white, natural/black, black or brown
    Sizes: XS–L
    RRP: £84.95

    This LeMieux half pad is made of 100% natural Australian Merino lambskin, which is much denser and softer than the older sheep wool used in many similar products. The spine is swept up at the wither to relieve pressure on the spine and allow air flow. They can be used with any cut of saddle, on top of a thin cotton square or straight onto your horse’s back.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk or oakfield-direct.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    Hy Equestrian Fab fleece half pad

    Hy Equestrian Fab Fleece Half Pad

    Colours: Black, brown or white
    Sizes: One size
    RRP: £35.99

    This smart fleece-lined half pad from Hy has a clear spine. It is durable, washes well and dries fast, and is ideal for cushioning against impact as well as protecting against sores and chafing by increasing airflow. Machine washable.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk or gsequestrian.co.uk

    VIP Equestrian Original

    VIP Equestrian Original

    Sizes: Pony, medium or large
    RRP: £134

    Made of a very different material, this VIP Equestrian pad is soft, flexible and seamless and only 8mm thick so is designed to be used with a correctly fitting saddle for impact protection. It is non-stick, so does not pull at the hair, and features bobbles that increase the surface area and relieve pressure points. It is also hypoallergenic and easy to clean.

    In the UK? View now at ebay.co.uk

    Premier Equine shock absorber half pad

    Premier Equine Shock Absorber Half Pad

    Colours: Black
    Sizes: Full
    RRP: £74

    This Premier Equine half pad uses memory foam to act as a superior shock absorber and distribute pressure evenly. It also helps to eliminate rubbing and friction by adapting to the contours of your horse’s body.

    In the UK? View now at ebay.co.uk

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