How to Clean Saddle Pads

How to Clean Saddle Pads

by Alexa Gohn

No matter what discipline you ride, your saddle pad provides both function and style. To keep your pad looking its best and ensure it continues to protect your horse's back, it's important to wash it regularly.

Whether you just signed up for a show and want your pads sparkling or you've been riding a lot and they need some TLC, check out a few of our tips and tricks on how to clean saddle pads.

Saddle Pad Types

Before you grab a bottle of detergent, it's important to keep in mind that different types of horse saddle pads will require different cleaning methods. Some common English saddle pad types include:

  • Cotton pads: Thin and lightweight, cotton pads are the standard across all English disciplines. 
  • Sheepskin pads or half pads: Made from wool fibers, these pads help with both distributing pressure and improving air circulation.
  • Gel pads: Can be constructed out of various materials, but are usually dense to absorb impact. 

Common types of Western pads include:

  • Blanket pads: Made from thick, woven fabric and featuring a variety of colors and patterns
  • Felt pads: Constructed from compressed wool and usually featuring contoured, square or shaped designs.
  • Woven pads: Look similar to a woven blanket but usually have padding and either natural or synthetic fleece on the bottom. 

How to Clean a Wool Saddle Pad

If you have a wool saddle pad, you won't be able to clean it with a washing machine or dryer because machine washing will damage your pad. Instead, follow these quick and easy tips on how to clean your wool or felt saddle pads: 

  1. Use a curry to loosen and remove any dirt, sweat and hair.
  2. Swat away or use a vacuum hose attachment to remove the loosened particles. 
  3. Spray and wash your pad using your garden hose, making sure to aim the water toward the pad's edges.
  4. Allow the pad to air dry.

When to Use a Washer

Regular cotton English pads can be tossed in the washer to get them looking good as new again. Before you wash your cotton saddle pads, remove built-up dirt, sweat and hair so you don't damage your washing machine. If your pad is especially dirty, you may want to consider using a hose to pre-rinse it, soaking it or applying a stain remover. 

Tips and Tricks for Cleaning Saddle Pads

Here are a few other tips and tricks to keep in mind when cleaning your saddle pads:

  • Use cool or cold water.
  • Protect your horse's skin from irritants by using only natural detergents or mild shampoo.
  • Hang your pad naturally when drying it to prevent damage due to folding.

Find the English and Western Saddle Pads You Need to Love the Ride at Horse Tack Co

Here at Horse Tack Co, whether you ride dressage or barrel race, we can help you find the perfect tack in our wide selection of horse saddle pads. We carry the top brands you know and love, including names like Maxtra, Comfort Plus and Roma.

Browse our saddle pad collection today and enjoy competitive pricing and fast, flat-rate shipping on all orders over $75.  

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