The BEST Saddle Pads for Barrel Racing [7 REVIEWS]

What is a Saddle Pad?

The word saddle pad refers to a blanket, pad, or piece of fabric that you put under a saddle. It is essential to choose the best saddle pad for barrel racing. These pads help your horse absorb sweat, cushion the Saddle, and protect their backs. 

There are different types of saddle pads. Some are lighter and are usually for decoration. You should always select a saddle pad that is appropriate for your horse.

Saddle with saddle pad

Our Top Pick for Barrel Racing Saddle Pads

Our top pick for the best saddle pads for barrel racing is the Weaver Leather Synergy Contoured Barrel Performance Saddle Pad. It is lightweight comfortable, and it is made with high-quality materials. You can also find these pads in stores near you.

The Different Types of Saddle Pads Available

The Shaped Pad

This pad has a simple design. It fits very well around the edges of the saddle, thus being excellent for disciplines where you want to show off more of your horse – like hunters or displaying. It’s also more remarkable for your horse; thus, it is helpful during distance races.

The fleece pads are soft on your horse’s skin and trendy for use in hunter classes. You could even go for the more traditional full fleece pad, which is challenging to maintain.

The Square Pad

Square pads are a little warmer for your horse than shaped pads, but they are excellent for embroidering large logos like your stud, school, or sponsor’s emblem. You can use them in jumping, during events, and dressage (where they should always use a square white pad) 

Like contoured pads, you can trim them with sheepskin to increase comfort. Square pads with a beautiful swallowtail are trendy for their unusual design.

The Western Pad

The western round skirt barrel saddle pad is large and rectangular, enabling it to fit under the saddle’s skirt. While most are traditional in their making, some incorporate foam parts to absorb additional shock from the rider’s weight. 

Others have fleece inners to minimize chafing or rubbing. Still, others are exceedingly ornate for exhibits and other special events. You should always use western with a western saddle and fit well underneath endurance, trail, military, or stock saddles. You should avoid using this saddle with English saddles.

Corrective Saddle Pads

The following pads are available with correction inserts to help raise your saddle or make it more symmetrical. Many of these have memory foam, which adapts to your horse’s shape for ideal cushioning every time. Others are non-slip, preventing saddles from slipping on those extra-wide barrel-shaped ponies, notably Quarter.

Horse varieties are available in Western riding. Still, others allow for more free movement of the shoulder. Observe your horse’s method of moving and any challenges they might have to choose whether they need a corrective pad and, if so, which one would fit them best.

Sheepskin Half Pads

These pads are top-rated in the dressage and showjumping fraternities. Made from either genuine or faux sheepskin, these soft and fluffy pads provide a bit more shock absorption and keep the saddle snugger on the horse’s back. They usually are properly cut back and have pads in the wither area to relieve pressure from the saddle’s pommel. 

Sheepskins can be a fantastic addition for any hardworking horse, but they alter the saddle’s fit. Don’t just randomly introduce a sheepskin (or any half pad) to a saddle that already fits. A competent saddle fitter should fit your saddle with the sheepskin to guarantee that your addition is not pinching your horse’s scapulae.

Half Corrective Pads

The variety of corrective half pads is prevalent for usage on troublesome horses. Asymmetrical horses can benefit tremendously from using a half pad with removable shims, which you can use to “fill up” the horse’s less developed side until that muscle builds. Sometimes these come with memory foam shims or a sheepskin lining to increase comfort. 

Other half pads have foam and a design that enables them to lift a saddle that’s too large or imbalanced – a considerable advantage if you have a horse that you expect to grow into a wider saddle. Finally, gel pads provide even better shock-absorbing capabilities than sheepskin with the added virtue of keeping the saddle more firmly in place.

What is the Difference Between a Saddle Blanket and a Saddle Pad?

The most basic western saddle blanket is a simple long piece of thickly woven cotton. Traditional saddle pads are available in vibrant patterns and may have fringed or tasseled edges. You can have a lot of fun picking one that matches the color of your horse. 

These blankets are compatible with a wide range of horses and saddles, and they may be all you need. In addition, they’re simple to clean. You can wash, dry, and hang a majority of them.

The disadvantage of these blankets is that they may slide out from beneath the saddle on some horses. They can also clump, resulting in sores. They may collect burrs and seed heads because they are woven fabric. 

If you’re competing in western pleasure classes, you should avoid a blanket with long fringes because the extra movement while your horse moves can create the impression of choppy gaits. A woven pad is a modest modification on the typical western blanket. These pads have the appearance of a folded woven blanket. 

There may be shock-absorbing cushioning between the top and bottom layers and leather straps to keep the pad in place. You can tailor these cushions better to match the curvature of the horse’s back, reducing slippage and bunching.

The underside of some pads has a natural or synthetic fleece. The leather border protects the edges from wear. If the center has foam, it may be extremely hot on your horse’s back, so seek one that has a breathable foam or wool.

Pads might be challenging to wash due to their thickness. It’s essential to keep an eye on the cushioning in the center to make sure it doesn’t grow firm over time. 

Natural fleece does not endure as long as synthetic fleece, and both are susceptible to compacting and hardening. In addition, the closed-cell foam retains heat, whereas open-cell foam is more excellent but less durable and shock-absorbing.

Horse saddle

The Best Fly Sheets for Equines: At a Glance

  1. Weaver Leather Synergy Contoured Barrel Performance Saddle Pad: Best Overall Saddle Pad.
  2. ECP Equine Comfort Products 3D Mesh Western Saddle Pad, Black: Best for Sports and Other Outdoor Activities.
  3. Tahoe Double Back Fleece & Wool Felt Padding Barrel Saddle Pad: Best for Outdoor Activities.
  4. Southwestern Equine OrthoRide All Purpose Trail Riding Black Saddle Pad: Best for Racing and Other Sports Activities.
  5. Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Elite Premium Tan Topper and Chocolate Wool Bottom Saddle Pad: Best for Sports.
  6. Star Equine -Thick Western Contoured Natural Pad: Best for Barrel Racing, Trail Riding, and Roping.
  7. Weaver Leather 35-2712-1 Contoured Wool Blend Felt Saddle Pad: Best for Racing and Other Outdoor Activities.

7 Saddle Pads for Barrel Racing (Tried and Tested)

Weaver Leather Synergy Contoured Barrel Performance Saddle Pad: Best Overall Saddle Pad

4.6 out of 5 stars

Package dimensions: 33 x 17.5 x 4 inches (83.8 x 44.45 x 10.16 centimetres)

Item dimensions: 34 x 18 x 4 inches (86.36 x 45.7 x 10.16 centimetres)

Brand name: ‎Weaver leather

Colour: ‎Charcoal/turquoise

Size: ‎33 x 38 inches (83.8x 96.5 centimetres)

About This Item

The Weaver Leather Synergy Contoured Performance saddle Pad’s most remarkable feature is its exceptional contouring on any horse’s back for optimal comfort throughout your rides. The brand has created the saddle pad to eliminate any saddle roll while preserving a natural fit on the horse. 

This saddle pad features EVA sports foam and promotes breathability and ventilation to reduce perspiration and grime collection. In addition, raw wool material keeps the wick free of moisture on your horse, keeping both you and your stallion cool for the most satisfactory experience.

Furthermore, this saddle pad is lightweight, making it a perfect choice for barrel riders who want to keep themselves and their horses comfortable. The brand guarantees that the material is of a high-quality, long-lasting design. Finally, you may also use this for saddles with short skirts.

The Weaver Leather Synergy Contoured Performance saddle Pad is the most incredible alternative today for exceptional performance in barrel racing.

Why We Like It

  • Allows ventilation with EVA sports foam.
  • Contoured leather for the most acceptable fit.
  • It has different colors to select from.
  • Designed with merino wool for horses with sensitive skin.

Why We Didn’t Like It

  • It is only available in one size.

ECP Equine Comfort Products 3D Mesh Western Saddle Pad, Black: Best for Sports and Other Outdoor Activities

8.7 Out of 5 Stars

Brand: ECP Equine Comfort Products

Item package dimensions: 16 x 9 x 5 inches (40.6 x 22.8 x 12.7 centimeters)

Package weight: 2.01 pounds (‎0.91 kilograms)

Item dimensions: ‎31 x 17 x 4 inches (78.7 x 43.2 x 10.2 centimeters)

Colour:‎ Black

Size: ‎31 x 17 inches (78.7 x 43.2 centimeters)

About This Item

The lightweight and ultra-breathable fibers that compress provide protection and padding. The mesh material clings to the saddle, while the open-air passages in the pad provide for consistent ventilation and breathability.

It is an all-purpose non-slip pad that helps to avoid chafing. In addition, the underside of the saddle has a high grip and conforms to the curve of any horse’s back—aiding in the avoidance of injuries and treatment.

You may position adjustable memory foam shims within the pockets to provide the best support for the horse and rider. It’s ideal for horses with saddle fit issues or sore spots.

Instructions for care: Before washing, take out the memory foam shims. Hand-wash with a mild detergent in cold water. It will help if you do not use bleach. Lay flat to dry. You should avoid Ironing and dry cleaning. It is not advisable.

Other pads will cause your horse to overheat and overwork, causing weariness and discomfort to set in much faster. Open-air passages in 3D mesh pads allow constant ventilation and thermoregulation, resulting in a healthier and happier horse.

Why We Like It

  • You can use it to fit many different horses.
  • Has many color options.
  • Affordable.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The pocket for shims does not stay closed.

Tahoe Double Back Fleece & Wool Felt Padding Barrel Saddle Pad: Best for Outdoor Activities

9.5 out of 10 stars

Item package dimensions: 17.1 x 13.7 x 6.3 inches (43.4 x 34.8 x 16 centimeters)

Package weight: ‎2.3 pounds (1.04 kilograms)

Item dimensions: ‎27 x 31 x 1 inches (68.5 x 78.7 x 2.5 centimeters)

Brand name:‎ Tahoe tack

Colour: Lime green

Material: ‎Felt

Size: 27 x 31 inches (68.5 x 78.7 centimeters)

About This Item

This saddle pad has a lot of appealing features. It comprises a quilted cotton blend pad layered over the double back fleece and has pads with wool felt.

You may hand-wash this pad and then hang it to dry, and it will look fantastic and last for years. The wool felt underpinning is non-slip, so you can ensure that your tack will stay put. This is highly critical while performing barrel turns. The horse will also appreciate the plush felt lining.

Another advantage of this saddle pad is that it comes in various colors. Black, green, purple, royal blue, and turquoise are all options. The pad provides lots of area around the withers.

They created the pad for barrel saddles with circular skirts, but you can use it with any barrel or western saddle. 

Why We like it

  • It has a design that is explicitly for barrel saddles.
  • It’s comfortable and straightforward to use.
  • For long-term use because it is pretty durable.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Rather than being conventional, it has a more modern appearance.

Southwestern Equine OrthoRide All Purpose Trail Riding Black Saddle Pad: Best for Racing and Other Sports Activities

9.0 out of 10 stars

Item package dimensions: 30 x 16.4 x 5.3 inches (76.2 x 41.7 x 13.5 centimeters)

Package weight ‎: 6.9 pounds (3.11 kilograms)

Brand name: ‎Southwestern Equine

Colour: ‎Black

Size: ‎31 x 32 inches (78.7 x 81.2 centimeters)

About This Item

Because of the “kidney” form inserts that provide excellent spinal comfort for your horse, it’s one of the most significant round western saddle pads. The Poron XRD stabilizes the saddle in short spins, ideal for barrel racing. Aids with the stabilization of the saddle in turns.

It is lightweight and flexible, allowing you to move with your horse naturally. In addition, the “kidney” shape inserts deliver optimal spine relief using treeless saddles. This saddle pad is the perfect “go-to” pad for ensuring your horse’s bad back days are a thing of the past, allowing you and your horse to enjoy a pleasant ride together!

Why We like it

  • Solves a variety of saddle fit issues.
  • These are good saddle pads that can fit young horses with weak shoulder muscles.
  • Flexible and lightweight.
  • Natural leathers in black.

What We Did Not Like

  • It is pretty pricy.
  • The pads slide back on the mare.

Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Elite Premium Tan Topper and Chocolate Wool Bottom Saddle Pad: Best for Sports

9.3 Out of 10 Stars

Package dimensions: 30 x 14.5 x 2 inches (76.2 x 36.8 x 5.1 centimeters)

Package weight: ‎5.8 pounds (2.65 kilograms)

Brand name: ‎Southwestern Equine

Colour: ‎Desert rose

Size: 31 x 30 inches (78.7 x 76.2 centimeters)

About This Item

This western saddle pad is a lifesaver for horses with sensitive withers or saddle fitting concerns. Its mild, shock-absorbing properties will assist both young and aging horses.

The contoured two-tone orthopedic grade with poron XRD and memory foam build-up relieves shoulder strain and pressure. In addition, horses with odd conformation, such as high withers, narrow shoulders, or asymmetrical muscle development, benefit from their unique shape.

This cushion wicks away sweat and has leather trimming for added durability, so your horse will feel comfortable.

Why We Like It

  • Allows ventilation. 
  • It comes in different colors.

Why We Didn’t Like It

  • It is only available in one size.

Star Equine -Thick Western Contoured Natural Pad: Best for Barrel Racing, Trail Riding, and Roping

9.0 out of 10 stars

Brand: 5 Star Equine

Package dimensions: ‎31 x 15.5 x 4.25 inches (78.7 x 39.4 x 10.8 centimeters)

Package weight ‎: 5.9 pounds (2.68 kilograms)

Color: Black

About This Item

When you have these 5-star saddle pads, there is no more uncomfortable and difficult padding. This saddle pad is gentle, long-lasting, and comfortable for you and your horse. 

These perfectly contoured 5-star pads fit your horse comfortably with less cinching and slippage. There’s no need for extra cushioning or blankets! 

Why We Like It

  • Perfect for racing.
  • Gentle and long-lasting.
  • Clean and simple to use.
  • It’s comfortable for your horse to wear.

Why We Didn’t Like It

  • Has a few color variations.

Weaver Leather 35-2712-1 Contoured Wool Blend Felt Saddle Pad: Best for Racing and Other Outdoor Activities Amazon’s Choice Award in Equestrian Saddle Pads by Weaver Leather

9.8 Out of 10 Stars 

Package dimensions: 28 x 15 x 3 inches (71.1 x 38.1 x 7.6 centimeters)

Package weight ‎: 5 pounds (2.27 kilograms)

Brand name: ‎Weaver leather

Colour: ‎Tan

Size: ‎30 x 30 inches (76.2 x 76.2 centimeters)

About This Item

Because of its beautiful design and excellent material quality, the Weaver Leather All Purpose Contoured Barrel Saddle Pad is one of the market’s most popular barrel racing saddle pads.

For ultimate comfort for you and your horse, the saddle pad comprises a Merino wool fleece bottom and a felt insert. It also includes a maize fleece underside that makes it more comfortable for the horse to wear. It also fits every horse perfectly, which is essential to consider when barrel racing.

The pad has a weaver leather herculon cover that keeps mold and mildew at bay. Its lightweight design, which makes it easy to handle and operate, especially for sanitation, is even more noteworthy. The saddle pad is easy to clean and dry in a short amount of time. This pad is high-quality and stylish with a beautiful teal and green Western pattern.

The Weaver Leather All Purpose Contoured Barrel Saddle Pad (36-9307-H37) is the most durable, efficient, and attractive saddle pad for any barrel racer.

Why We Like It

  • Perfect for barrel racing, with a precise and snug fit.
  • Western design is both eye-catching and inventive.
  • Clean and simple to use.
  • For your horse, it’s comfortable to wear.

Why We Didn’t Like It

  • Some people may not like the thin saddle pad.
  • There isn’t a lot of color variety.

How to Pick the Best Saddle Pad for Barrel Racing


When choosing a pad or when you want to order one, make sure it isn’t too long. Most barrel racers prefer a 28-inch (71.1-centimeter) place, though if your horse has a longer back, you may be able to utilize a 30-inch (76.2-centimeter) pad. Ensure that the pad you chose does not stretch over your horse’s hip area and obstruct its stride.


Top barrel racers prefer a compressed wool pad. Wool absorbs sweat from your horse’s back and wicks it away. This, in turn, will make it feel more at ease when in the saddle. You need to select a material that retains its shape effectively and won’t compress while also being soft enough to contour to the back of a horse.

Although some riders prefer fleece padding, Campbell believes they cause the seat to roll excessively during a race. Some horses, though, appear to appreciate having fleece against their backs. 


For barrel racing, you’ll want a thick pad to provide your horse with the comfort they deserve while being light enough not to slow it down. 

Barrel racers, in general, do not require the extra cushioning that, say, a roping horse would need to endure the impact of stopping a calf. A ¾-inch (1.9-centimeters) pad is the right amount of protection for most riders’ horses’ backs.

Campbell disagrees with some riders who feel that adopting a thicker 1-inch (2.5-centimeters) pad will prevent their horses from getting painful backs. Camp doesn’t think the extra padding is relevant and could cause your saddle to roll when you’re running. 

There is one important exception: if you own a horse with a high wither, you may require extra cushioning. A 1-inch (2.5-centimeters) pad might be the most incredible barrel saddle pad for your horse in that instance.

Customized to Your Needs

If you want to win, you need to have a barrel racing saddle pad just for your horse. Many of the top riders on the barrel racing circuits do precisely that for their riders.

FAQs on Saddle Pads for Barrel Racing

Do I Need a Different Saddle Pad for Barrel Racing?

Barrel racers, in general, do not require the extra cushioning that, say, a roping horse would need to endure the impact of stopping a calf. Instead, a 3/4-inch (1.9-centimeters) pad provides the ideal protection for most riders’ horses’ backs.

Fleece vs. Wool Saddle Pad – The Difference

Fleece is a popular material that you use as the foundation for woven, ornamental pads or the entire blanket. Synthetic fleece lasts longer than genuine wool fleece and does not matt or condense as rapidly. It is not, however, as cushioning as 100% wool fleece. 

Both are evaporative and breathable to remove heat from your horse’s back. It adjusts to your horse’s back over time, allowing your saddle to sit comfortably. This implies you will need to wash and fluff it, so it doesn’t flatten out and become useless.

Because it cushions, breathes, and wicks moisture, felt is akin to fleece. Felt comes in a variety of materials. Genuine wool is the most expensive, while a wool/synthetic hybrid is less costly and does the same job. Felt does not breathe and fleece because it is compact but thicker and has more cushioning.

Can You Use One Saddle Pad for Multiple Horses?

If you have several horses around the same size, you can use the same saddle pad for all of them. On the other hand, choosing saddle pads for each horse is usually better. This will ensure that you get the appropriate size and style for each horse. The horses will acclimate to the pads, and you will ensure that each horse has the proper pad.

How Long Does a Saddle Pad Last on Average?

The best horse saddle pads will usually last between two and three years. Of course, this timeline is subject to vary depending on various factors. The amount of time you spend using the saddle pad, for example, will cause wear and tear over time.

If you use the pad frequently, it may not last as long as someone who uses it less frequently. Furthermore, the level of care you give the pad will make a difference. Finally, if you want it to last, you must keep it clean and in good condition.

How Do I Clean a Saddle Pad?

Another question that comes up regularly is how to clean the saddle pad. Cleaning a wool saddle pad is, for the most part, the same regardless of brand. Scrubbing the pad with a rubber curry comb is an excellent start. 

Apply the same circular motion as you would when currying your horse. Make sure you get rid of any loose dirt or debris in the saddle pad. You should then wash the pad. Hang it to dry naturally. That’s all there is to it when keeping the saddle pad clean. You can assist in extending the life of the saddle pad by keeping it in good condition.

Saddle a Horse

Parting Words

Horse saddle pads have significantly been evolving in all areas over time. There are high chances that you’ll find one that matches your sense of style, thanks to variances in the materials that encase the pads. 

While most padding items on the market have all of the bells and whistles to make them look as spectacular as possible, it’s vital to remember that you’re buying a pad that will provide nothing but comfort to both the rider and the horse.

If you need the best saddle pad for barrel racing, you should buy the Weaver Leather Synergy Contoured Barrel Performance Saddle Pad. With this saddle pad, you and your horse will be very comfortable.