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A few things worth knowing about saddle cloths.

Published: 2020-08-05 11:38:42 Categories: Guides Rss feed , Products Rss feed

What is a saddle cloth?

Saddle cloth is an element resembling a small blanket, which on the inside is made of polyurethane foam or polyester wadding, covered with fabric on the outside (e.g. polyester, cotton, Alcantara), most often quilted, ornamentally trimmed with ropes or tapes. It belongs to the equestrian textiles - necessary equipment for riding in a saddle.


Why do we use a saddle cloth?

The main functions of a saddle cloth are:

  • absorbing the horse's sweat and dirt during training.
  • protecting the horse's body from chafing caused by the saddle and equipment,
  • protecting the saddle from tearing, sweat, salt, and dirt, which allows you to keep the saddle clean,
  • amortization of the pressure on the horse's back,
  • providing proper airflow between the horse's skin and the saddle, which prevents chafing.

Many saddle cloths have nylon tapes with velcro closures or without them that allow you to attach the saddle cloth to the saddle - to the stirrup leathers and girth, which helps stabilize the saddle cloth on the horse's back and keeping it in its place under the saddle.

Not only the outer material matters in saddle cloths. The crucial part is its inside, which is responsible for absorbing moisture and preventing chafing. What is more, in recent years, the producers think more and more of the people using the saddle cloths - that is the riders, trying to pick materials from which it is easy to clean the horse's hair.

Cloths and pads

While talking about saddle cloths, it is worth mentioning saddle pads. Pads have a very similar function as cloths, but they are much thicker (thicker padding, greater weight). Pads usually do not have the nylon straps that allow you to attach them to the saddle. They have more scarce and usually horizontal quilting, which makes the pads thicker in section and more springy. All that makes pads better at absorbing sweat and providing air circulation. Pads would be great for intense effort when your horse sweats excessively. However, you should keep in mind that if your saddle sticks very close to the horse's back, there might be not enough space for a pad, and that would have a negative effect on the horse's spine.


  1. ESKADRON, POLO saddle PAD

Types of saddle cloths

We differentiate a couple of types of saddle pads and each of them has a specific function:

  • VS – all-purpose saddle cloth of a rectangular shape with round edges that fits most saddles,
  • DR or DL – dressage saddle cloth of a square shape, fits most dressage saddles with longer flaps as the cloth itself is longer too,
  • SR - jumping cloth in the shape of a tear - it covers most of the horse's belly and back, which minimizes the horse's sweating while jumping,
  • VSS – all-purpose/jumping saddle cloth,
  • VSD – all-purpose/dressage saddle cloth.

There is a similar differentiation for ponies with an additional letter "P" on the front:

  • PVS - all-purpose,
  • PVSS - versatile/jumping,
  • PVSD - versatile/dressage,
  • PDR/PDL - dressage,
  • PSR – jumping.

There is also a different classification of cloths and pads - for the intended use:

  • saddle cloths for classic riding (listed above),
  • western pads/cloths,
  • pads for bareback riding,
  • pads for lunging girths.

pas-do-lonzowania-dla -konia

BUSSE, lunging girth pad COLOUR

Where best to buy a saddle cloth?

It is best to buy a saddle cloth in an equestrian shop. It is good if you first have a chance to see it live e.g. during a Cavaliada fair. One of the most popular cloths on the market are the ones from Eskadron. They are very durable, at the same time tasteful. Each collection has a big group of fans. Eskadron's saddle cloths can still look impressive after years of use.

If you are looking for timeless patterns, you can also take a look at the collections from Kingsland, Busse, or Equiline.

What color of a saddle pad?

It all depends on your preferences and likes but you should also take into consideration your horse's coat color.

Horse's coat and the saddle cloth's color

The least interesting combinations are the ones where the horse's coat matches closely the saddle pad's shade. For example, a light beige saddle pad would not look good on a gray horse, and a brown cloth would look sad on a sable horse. However, a white pad on a gray horse, and a black pad on a sable horse - would both look amazing.

The case is similar when it comes to chestnut horses - vivid colors such as fuchsia or fiery red would not look good on them (although it all depends on the shades of both the horse's coat and the cloth).

It is easiest to match a saddle pad to a bay horse, more particularly a dark bay horse - such horses look great in bright and dark colors, vivid and soft shades.

What saddle cloths are most popular?

We most often choose dark saddle pads - brown, black, gray, navy blue. Other popular colors are dark green, dark red, or maroon. It stems from a very simple reason - you cannot see dirt on dark saddle cloths. What is more, we are prone to associate them with classic horse riding, timelessness, and they match most horses' coats.


KINGSLAND, CLASSIC jumping saddle pad

Saddle pad and the stylization

Since new colorful wraps, boots, and decorative saddle cloths entered the market, a new trend for well-thought stylizations appeared - both for the rider and the horse to create a matching unity. This trend is fueled by the fact that most riders in Europe are women. The equestrian equipment producers decided to meet the expectations, designing rugs, saddle pads, wraps, and equestrian clothing (breeches, caps, socks, t-shirts, vests, etc.) that complement one another.

Our closets are full of color sets - we could pick something different for each rider with our horse, matching our outfit to his equipment.

Saddle pads and equestrian disciplines - taking part in competitions

When you take part in competitions, the color of your saddle cloth matters. What color to pick for show jumping? While taking part in show jumping competitions, you have a lot of freedom with this choice. In Poland, there are no rules imposing the color or cut of a saddle cloth for this particular discipline.

Dressage competitions are a different matter. Which color to choose for dressage? It is considered best to use a white or creme saddle cloth. In Poland, it is not dictated by official regulations - just a custom. However, if you take part in international competitions - a white saddle cloth would be necessary.


  3. KINGSLAND, GAIL saddle cloth
  6. ESKADRON, PERFORMANCE saddle cloth

Saddle cloth versus pad

The main task of a saddle cloth is to prevent chafing caused by the saddle and other pieces of equipment and to absorb sweat. The main function of a pad is to alleviate and evenly distribute the pressure of the saddle's panels on the horse's back. Besides classic pads, there are also correction pads. The horse's body, just like a human one, can be asymmetrical or wrongly built because of incorrect riding or injuries. A pad might help you minimize these asymmetries, disproportions, and issues with a slightly ill-fitted saddle.


Eskadron, Reflexx collection


  1. ANIMO, W-PAD saddle pad
  2. BUSSE, COMFORT saddle pad
  3. ACAVALLO, LAMMFELL gel saddle pad
  4. HORZE, HARLEIGH fur correction pad
  6. MATTES, jumping saddle pad

Pads, just like cloths, are often quilted and come with nylon straps with velcro that help you attach them to the saddle.

Saddle pads are made of various materials - for example:

  • foam pads (polyurethane foam of a high grammage) or filled with polyester wadding,
  • gel pads,
  • synthetic fur pads,
  • medical (natural) fur pads - more durable ones.

How many saddle cloths do you need?

One saddle cloth is usually not enough - depending on the frequency and intensity of your rides and whether you shave your horse or not (and if your horse is a lovely fleabag - especially the owners of gray horses would understand that), your saddle cloths will get dirty at a different pace. Thus, you would need at least a few - especially if you do not want to wash them too often.


A saddle cloth is one of the most basic products in every equestrian closet that protects both your horse and the equipment he uses (the saddle or a pad). It is also one of the most ornamental elements that would allow you to keep your horse stylish and chic. Who does not like to put a saddle on that matches the boots or wraps? The producers offer us more and more interesting collections each year, so surely everybody would be able to find something perfect for themselves.

Check our offer of saddle cloths and pads.

Any questions? Call us or leave a message.

Equestrian shop: +48 784 039 784

Saddle department: +48 606 914 300


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