Have you just purchased a lovely new western saddle, and now you want the best saddle blanket to go with it? Or are you just thinking about buying western tack for your horse and want some more information about what would be the best options, before you purchase? In this blog we look at some different saddle blanket options out there, and talk about what’s good (or bad!) about them.
Western felt pads
Felt is a great material for western blankets! Natural felt is breathable, wicks away moisture and combines support and cushioning in ideal proportions.
Plain felt pads are generally the cheapest saddle blanket option, so they are a great starter pad. Because they are so easy to use and care for, they are a firm favourite with many western riders. If you’re looking for a western saddle banket that won’t break the bank and your horse is happy with too, then a plain wool felt pad is a great choice. We have western felt saddle blankets available in a variety of colours and sizes, and can also have one made to your specification.
Woven western saddle blankets
Woven pads, as the name suggests, are weaved on a loom, with different colours and patterns. Woven pads are great if you want to select from an almost unlimited number of colours, and want a saddle blanket that is a bit flashier than just a felt pad.
The cheapest option is a woven pad that is a rectangle shape, with no contouring in the spine and no lining. These blankets are too thin to be used on their own and always require a lining between the horse and the blanket. These can be fiddly to position properly under the saddle, as the lining and blanket can move about independently.
Our Equinen woven pads are all contoured in the spine for ultimate horse comfort – they suit even the shark fin withers, providing good clearance and reducing pressure on the spine. All our pads are also lined with real wool felt, so you never need to worry about a liner slipping around when you ride.
Wool western pads
Whatever type of western saddle blanket you prefer, always pay attention to the materials the blanket is made of. Synthetic materials are generally cheaper, but they’re not nearly as nice for the horse, and tend to also not be as hard wearing as natural materials.
Be aware that some western pad manufacturers have somewhat misleading descriptions of their materials. “Sheepskin” is often used to describe a lining material that is soft and fluffy, and you might think that it’s made of real sheepskin fur, but in fact these are often made with man-made, synthetic materials. And some woven pads are made with acrylic or other synthetic yarns. Always ask, and always check, before purchasing. If you’re investing a considerable amount of money on your horse tack, you want it to be made to the highest possible standard.
In summary, there are lots of options for a saddle blanket for your western saddle. Good saddle pad is made with high-quality materials and sits securely under your western saddle. Horse comfort is crucial, so choosing a contoured pad that is the correct thickness is the best thing you can do for your horse.