A guide to Saddle Pads

One of the most important pieces of tack for you and your horse is the Saddle and Saddle Pad. Choosing the right saddle that works well with the right Saddle Pad is essential for comfort for your horse. A comfortable horse happy in his tack will find engagement and lifting of the core and back so much easier. Resistance causes tension, tension leads to not using themselves correctly.... then we know the rest that comes with that. 

The Horzehoods team including designers are all passionate horse owners and riders ensuring we tick every box when creating pieces for you and your horse.

Lets check out some of our most frequently asked questions to help you in your quest for the best.


Question: Are saddle pads and numnahs the same thing?

Answer: They are not the same. A numnah is shaped around the saddle, where as a saddle pad tends to be beyond just the saddle shape offering more coverage. Numnahs are used more frequently in showing classes to add some coverage and cushioning to the horses back without seeing any pad, cloth or pattern for a traditional turnout look. Numnahs tend to be made from thin cotton, wool or sheepskin. Both help to keep the horses back and saddle cleaner. Saddle pads are usually a more popular choice for every day disciplines such as training, clinics, lessons, photo shoots, events and even trail riding or hacking. 


Question: What is the purpose of a saddle pad?


  • Provide a barrier between the horses back and saddle to protect from saddle sweat, horse hair, debris and dirt.
  • use the special horzehoods wicking insert foam to help alleviate the horse from sweating, keeping them cool during training
  • minimise pressure on the horse's back.
  • prevent the saddle from moving around or slipping back (if this happens it is not necessary an issue with your pad but usually indicates a saddle fit issue so do get your saddle fitter out to check)

Question: What does GP Saddle stand for?

Answer: GP stands for 'general purpose' and tends to mean they can be used for GP saddles and Jump saddles. They are used when a rider does an array of different activities so would usually choose GP saddle when at their saddle fitting and choosing a purchase. Horzehoods do a GP/Jump which is a clever cut between the two meaning they are suitable for both general purpose or jump saddles. This makes them ideal if you do a bit of everything including jumping and dressage. 


Question: Can i use a Dressage Saddle Pad with a GP Saddle?

Answer: Yes. the beauty of a Dressage cut is they are a regular square, and although a little deeper they will fit GP saddles given GP's are partially built forward but not as forward as a Jump saddle. 


Question: What saddles best fit a Dressage Saddle Pad?

Answer: Dressage Pads are especially fantastic for Dressage, VSD and Working Hunter Saddles. They will and can fit with GP saddles if needed. Horzehoods do provide a GP/Jump cut specifically for GP saddles.


Can you jump in any cut saddle pad?

Answer: In theory you can jump in any saddle pad however choosing one that suits your saddle the best will provide optimum results. If you only jump rarely then you should be ok to jump small fences in any saddle but consult with your trainer first. If you participate in training regular in jumping then Horzehoods GP/Jump would be a better choice if you have a Jump or GP Saddle. Horzehoods pads come complete with a flexitabzsystem tab section. This is an interchangeable tab system allowing you to make your saddle pad more secure from saddle pad slips when jumping fast pace or higher more technical fences.


How often should you replace your saddle pad?

Answer: This really depends on how much the Pad is used. a high quality pad with the right manufacturing and design is always going to last longer than cheaper options; however the same pad that is ridden in daily for a year is going to wear out quicker than if a pad is only used at the weekends for one hour a time.


What Saddle pads do i need for Competition?

Dressage: An elegant classic White will always be the number one choice for Dressage competitors. Each association in each Country will have it's own rules. For British Dressage the rider has to show their number either side of the horse, using either pads, bridle numbers or both. Take a look at our Competition range. Horzehoods are known for innovation and brining new idea's to the industry. A new White Competition Pad will be launched in September 2022.

Showing: A preferred choice for Showing riders tends to be a numnah following the shape of the showing or working hunter saddle for a traditional look. 

Eventing: A classic block colour tends to be a popular choice for Cross Country with matching rider colours. 

Show Jumping: Smart GP/Jump Pads tends to be a popular choice in classic colours. 


What size pad will i need for my horse?

GP/Jump Chart

Dressage Cut Chart

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