Can You Ride Without a Saddle Pad?

Saddle pads play an important role in the comfort and health of your horse. They help protect the saddle from sweat and dirt, and they also provide padding that can make riding more comfortable for your horse.

However, a lot of riders choose to ride without a saddle pad which brings us to the question; Can you ride without a saddle pad?”

Riding without a saddle pad is not recommended, as it can cause discomfort to both the rider and horse. A saddle pad also helps protect the saddle from wear and tear, and keeps it clean. If you must ride without a saddle pad, be sure to use a clean, well-fitting saddle that is in good condition.

However not all saddle pads will provides you with the same level of comfort or protection. Even some low quality saddle pads can cause discomfort and unbalaned riding position.

It is important to consider good quality and decent padded saddle pads. Also make sure your horse individual needs as well such as for horse with withers the saddle pad should clear the withers to prevent rubbing.

And for horses with no withers, the saddle pad should be shaped so it doesn’t slide forward.

Here you can check out the best saddle pads for horses with no withers.

In this article, I will talk about the saddle pads importance, how you can identify the right size for you and your horse, and what to do when you do not have saddle pad but still need to ride.

Why use a saddle pad?

A well-fitting saddle pad is an important part of a comfortable ride for both you and your horse. Here are some of the reasons and benefits to using a saddle pad:

The very first and most obivious reason we use saddle pad is for shock absorption.

The padding in the saddle pad helps to take some of the impact and jarring out of riding, making it more comfortable for both the horse and rider.

Saddle pads also help to protect the horse’s back from the saddle itself. The padding in the saddle pad helps to create a barrier between the saddle and the horse’s back, which can help to prevent sores and irritation.

Saddle pads can also help to keep the saddle in place.

They provide a bit of grip and friction, which can help to keep the saddle from slipping or sliding around. This is especially helpful if you are riding in slippery conditions or if your saddle doesn’t fit quite right.

They also help keep the saddle clean and can absorb sweat. This can help to keep your saddle in good condition and looking nice for longer.

How to tell if your saddle pad is the right size?

The right size saddle pad should not bunch up under your saddle, and should offer full coverage from the front of the saddle to the back.

The saddle pad should also extend outwards, covering the area where your leg comes into contact with the horse’s side.

If you can see any part of the horse’s skin through the gap between the saddle and the saddle pad, it is too small.

Is riding bareback uncomfortable for the horse?

Riding bareback is definitely more uncomfortable for the horse than riding with a saddle and saddle pad.

The main reason for this is that without a saddle pad, the horse’s back is not protected from the rider’s weight and movement.

This can cause the horse to experience pain and soreness, especially if the rider is not properly balanced.

Additionally, riding without a saddle can also put more pressure on the horse’s back and spine, which can lead to injuries over time.


Can you use a saddle without a saddle pad?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. If your saddle fits you and your horse correctly, then you may be able to get away with riding without a saddle pad.

However, if your saddle does not fit properly or is causing your horse discomfort, then a saddle pad is a must. Additionally, saddle pads help to absorb sweat and keep your saddle clean, so they are always a good idea even if your saddle fits well.

Why don’t people use saddle pad?

The main reason people don’t use saddle pads is because they can be expensive and they can add bulk to the saddle.

Additionally, some people believe that saddle pads can cause the horse to sweat more.

Do I need a saddle pad?

Most people who ride do not use a saddle pad. If you are just starting out, you may want to use a saddle pad to help you stay comfortable in the saddle.

However, once you get used to riding without a saddle pad, you may find that you don’t need one.


A saddle pad is an excellent way to keep yourself and your horse comfortable during a ride.

While you can technically ride without a saddle pad, it’s not recommended since it can cause your horse discomfort and pain.

If you do decide to ride without a saddle pad, be sure to take extra care to balance yourself properly and avoid putting too much pressure on your horse’s back.

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