Attention to detail is key in the sport of dressage, and so the best dressage saddlepads are designed to boost your overall appearance, while ensuring your horse is as comfortable as possible to allow them to work correctly through their back muscles.
Most dressage riders prefer saddle pads to have minimum bulk between the saddle and the horse’s back so that seat and leg aids can be clearly felt. Traditionally dressage pads tend to be fairly square in shape, rather than following the line of the saddle flap.
If you are looking for the best dressage saddlepad for use in competition, then white is the most popular choice by far. However many brands now cater for the “matchy-matchy” market by producing pads in a range of stylish colours that riders can use to create an overall look for them and their horse.
Some pads are part lined with sheepskin, lambswool or technical materials to help distribute pressure or hold the saddle in place, but this does add bulk so it is worth checking that this doesn’t negatively affect the fit of your saddle.
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Find out which half pads were chosen as the best in test and best value in our independent group test
Horse & Hound has been working with a number of professional riders, trainers and yards to put a range of products to the test in a busy yard environment. And here are the results…
Meet the product testers
The dressage saddlepads in this group test were trialled by the Wild Farm Equestrian team. Wild Farm Equestrian is run by dressage trainer and competitor Keith Robertson, along with a dedicated team of grooms that produces young dressage horses right through to grand prix, alongside running a successful livery business.
Horse & Hound’s pick of the best dressage saddlepads for horses 2019
* BEST IN TEST *
“This saddlepad performed really well. It held its shape and position, even during the most strenuous of work. While it was really hard wearing and washed very well, it was also soft on the horse. A really classic style white numnah, which is smart enough for all occasions or just using at home. Personally I would have liked the d-ring attachments to have been a little longer to have suited some of our dressage saddles better, but this was a small gripe. I would most definitely recommend this functional, smart and hard wearing saddle pad to others.”
* BEST VALUE *
“This smart crisp white saddle pad has beautiful discreet sparkly detailing around the edge, making it a perfect saddle pad for everyday or for use at competitions. This pad stayed in place during lunging exercise and riding. With its wicking material underneath, my horse remained fresh and comfortable throughout. This is a great quality saddle pad for an affordable price.”
“A very smart saddle pad with beautiful detailing, it stays perfectly in place throughout a whole ride. The material underneath is very soft, which is perfect for sensitive horses. I love the gold trim against the navy blue. This gives the pad a luxurious look and with the Stockholm shiny badge in the corner, makes it really stand out. If you are happy to spend in order to look super stylish, this is the pad for you.”
“I loved the look of this saddle pad – the silky surface and colour was so elegant. It looked a lot more expensive than its price suggests. Unfortunately the fit wasn’t right for the 17” dressage saddle it was tested with. It was very short along the spine leaving the saddle’s rear panel close to touching the edge of the pad, which risks causing a pressure point. Also only the rear girth strap was able to run through the girth fastening as it was positioned too far back. Such a same as it is a beautiful pad for such a reasonable price.”
“A really eye-catching saddle pad, but I found it quite bulky with multiple layers of padding and gel. It keeps the saddle very stable thanks to the silicone underside, but this limits all movement, which may not benefit all horses. I can see this working for horses coming back into work that have lost some condition/topline or to stabilise a slipping saddle temporarily. It would be a good addition to the tack room for someone who has a horse that varies in condition dramatically over the year.”
Horse & Hound is in the process of testing a wide range of equestrian kit, clothing and equipment, the results of which will be published on HorseandHound.co.uk
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