If you’ve got a saddle that slips then your first port of call is a saddler fitter to check that everything is as it should be, but in the meantime one of the best non-slip saddle pads will help you out. You might also benefit from one of the best anatomical girths, which also help to improve stability. Just as with standard saddle pads, the best non-slip saddle pads will still be able to draw moisture away from your horse, offer a good amount of cushioning and shouldn’t move when you’re riding.
The best non-slip saddle pads usually have some sort of grip, which is often made of silicone and usually features on the topside of the pad. Some designs also have silicone grip on the underside, but there are concerns from some professionals that this can cause damage to your horse’s fascia and it’s advisable that you consult your physiotherapist before using a saddle pad in this way. Likewise, the gel pads that are designed to be used in addition to a saddle pad are usually best placed on top of your current pad so as not to interfere with your horse.
For a saddle pad to work at it’s best, make sure it fits well, there is good clearance at the spine and there is no excess material that could cause bunching or rubbing. All saddle pads should be easily washable and durable so they can withstand long-term use and regular cleaning.
In this guide, we’ve included traditional gel pads, which can sometimes be cut to fit your saddle, as well as saddle pads and numnahs that have a non-slip element built into their design. The integrated pads are more expensive, but provide added cushioning for the horse – and they look smart. The traditional gel pads may be more cost-effective as you can swap them between pads for different disciplines, plus they can be cut to size.
Best non-slip saddle pads
WeatherBeeta Ultra Grip Saddle Pad
Shapes: Dressage or jump
Colours: White, black, grey and blue
This robust WeatherBeeta pad has a silicone grip and memory foam underneath the saddle to absorb impact and provide traction. It also has a covered girth guard to enhance comfort and provide more durability on contact points. It’s made from a long-lasting suede fabric and has a moisture-wicking lining to help keep your horse cool and dry.
Acavallo Lightweight Gel Pad
Colours: Black or clear
Sizes: One size
An anti-clip classic that you’ve probably seen on your yard at some point, the Acavallo pad can be used between your saddle and saddle pad. It’s made from lightweight and breathable material this pad can be cut to size around your saddle and can be machine-washed.
LeMieux X-Grip Twin Sided Pad
Shapes: Jump or dressage
Colours: Navy, black and white
Available in dressage and jump shapes, this saddle pad is great for competitive riders of all levels that need to prevent slippage. The topside is silicone, and below is a lower-density memory foam with an Acavallo gel on the underside. The bamboo linings help to absorb sweat and the wider girth keepers have three interlocking loops to enable more girthing options.
Equitex Luxe Saddle Pad
Shapes: GP, dressage, hunter, western or treeless
Colours: 15 options
Sizes: Pony, cob or full
RRP: From £220
This velvet saddle pad has a silica grip on the topside that anchors the pad to the saddle, which prevents any unwanted movement in all directions. It does not adhere to your horse’s coat and is ideal for barrel-shaped horses with minimal withers. No straps are required to secure in place.
Shires Arma Performance Air Motion Pro
Shapes: GP or shaped numnah
Sizes: 15–16.5in or 17–18in
H&H Review: 8/10
This fitted, non-slip saddle pad is made from compression-resistant materials to help move moist air away from the horse to keep them cool. The same materials make this pad shock-absorbing, while the grippy exterior keeps the saddle secure. It also has mesh along the spine to allow cool, dry air to flow over the horse’s back. It is machine washable and quick drying.
We tested this saddle pad and found that it never moved or slipped. It was really breathable, hard wearing and washed very well, never losing its shape or condition. Read the full Shires Arma Performance Air Motion Pro review.
Gel-Eze Non-Slip Pad
Sizes: One size
Another pad that does what it says on the tin. This pad is 3mm thick and has good impact absorption. It’s lightweight, machine washable and perforated to allow airflow. It has trace lines to help you cut it to size. Gel-Eze also make a range of anti-slip wither pads and sheepskins.
Shires Arma Fusion Saddlecloth
Shapes: GP or jump
Colours: Black, red, green, grey or blue
This saddlecloth has a silicone exterior and shock-absorbing lining to provide grip and comfort to the horse, while also has the same spinal mesh zones as the Air Motion Pro Numnah for extra airflow. It has a faux fur trim and an anti-pill cotton outer, which makes it a durable option.
Rhinegold Non-Slip Gel Straighter Cut Saddle Cloth
Colours: Black or white
Sizes: Full, cob or pony
This shock-absorbing non-slip saddle pad features a faux fur trim and an anti-rub girth panel. It is 100% cotton and has rolled edges to make it more comfortable for the horse to wear. It’s soft-to-touch and effectively stops the saddle from slipping.
Shires Arma Gel Pad
Sizes: One size
This non-slip gel pad provides a shock-absorbing layer between the numnah and saddle. It’s slim to avoid bulk, perforated to allow airflow and is designed to reduce unwanted saddle movement. It can be cut to size for smaller saddles.
How do I keep my saddle pad from slipping?
Preventing a saddle pad from slipping is essential to keep you and your horse comfortable, and your saddle fitting as designed.
If your saddle is slipping, before anything else it’s important to ensure that it fits correctly – consult with a qualified saddle fitter. Your horse’s body can change over time and throughout the year so it’s recommended to get your saddle checked regularly.
Next, ensure you’re using all of the saddle pad straps. The number of straps varies across with design but if you have a strap missing on one side but not the other, this could cause the saddle pad to pull to one side.
If all of the above is in order and the saddle pad is clean and in good working use, then a non-slip pad might help.
Non-slip made are made from a grippy material such as silicone or gel and enhance traction and grip on the horse’s back. These materials can help to reduce the movement of the saddle when riding.
Do non-slip saddle pads work?
Non-slip pads are designed to provide additional grip, but it’s unlikely that a saddle pad can eliminate slipping in all situations – for example, they can’t improve rider balance – and non-slip pads might not suit every horse.
The effectiveness of a non-slip pad will also depend on its fit and suitability for your specific riding needs and the characteristics of your horse.
Non-slip pads can be very useful for horses with a flat back or those who sweat easily. To ensure the saddle pad remains effective, it’s important to regularly clean it so the accumulation of sweat and dirt doesn’t reduce its ability to prevent slipping.
Why does my saddle keep sliding back?
There could be several reasons why a saddle might slip back. But if it’s happening regularly it’s important to find the underlying cause to ensure the comfort and safety of both you and your horse.
The first thing to check would be saddle fit – this is the most common cause of a saddle sliding back. As above, it’s recommended you consult a professional saddle fitter regularly to ensure your saddle is fit for purpose.
Incorrect saddle placement is another common reason for a saddle moving back. If the saddle is too far forward it may slide back to the position in which it was designed to rest. Make sure the gullet is clear of the withers and the panels are evenly distributing pressure across the horse’s back.
Another common cause of saddle slippage is girth tension. Insufficient tension can cause a saddle to move back when riding. Make sure the girth is tight enough but not too tight to cause discomfort to the horse. If you can’t get any fingers underneath the girth it is too tight.
Some horses’ conformational characteristics can also lead to a saddle slipping back, such as high withers or a round barrel. In these cases, choosing a non-slip pad can help to mitigate the issue.
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