8 Best Saddle Pad for High Withered Horses – Top Picks

The horse with shark fin withers is often the hardest to fit with saddles and pads. While any horse of any breed can have high withers, it is most common in Thoroughbreds, Saddlebreds, and some Warmbloods. While finding the best fitting saddle for these horses is important, having the best saddle pad for high-withered horses is vital because it affects saddle fit.

Our Top Pick
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ECP Correction All Purpose Contoured Saddle Pad 

  • Four memory foam pockets that Velcro shut
  • Allows for adjustments in both the pommel and cantle areas.
  • Available in 10 color options

What You Need to Know About High Withered Horses

The first thing to know is that high withers can be a good thing. High withers typically means that once you have the right saddle and pad, your horse may be more able to lengthen its stride. So, while you may lament the difficulty of fitting a high-withered horse, he may be able to run faster or jump higher because of his conformation.

The most important aspect of saddle fit is that your saddle cannot rest on the withers. The saddle should clear the withers by an inch or 2 to 3 fingers width. If the saddle is higher than that, it is too narrow. The tree is too wide if it is lower than or even touching the withers. Proper saddle fit also considers the horse’s back and shoulders. High-withered horses may have narrow shoulders and a wide back.

The best western saddle pad for high-withered horses is typically a cut-back western cushion. This foam has openings, either an entire slit or a hole, designed to provide wither point relief. This allows the additional withers movement to come through without extra padding.

For horses with very high withers, you may also need to cushion the back higher to evenly distribute the weight of the saddle and rider—pads designed for swayback horses or pads that allow you to build up portions with e the answer.

Our Favorite Saddle Pads for High Withered Horses

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Our Top Pick
ECP Correction All Purpose Contoured Saddle Pad

ECP Correction All Purpose Contoured Saddle Pad
  • Moisture wicking
  • Diamond-quilted pad
  • Streamlined look
  • Adjustable fit
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Diamond Wool Contour Relief PadDiamond Wool Contour Relief Pad
  • Durable cotton duck top
  • 1” wool felt bottom
  • Removable shims
  • Made of quality wool
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Kavallerie All-Purpose Saddle PadKavallerie All-Purpose Saddle Pad
  • Made of 3D mesh
  • Lightweight and fully padded
  • Elegant Quilted Design
  • Stylish accents
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Exselle Half Pad with Wither ReliefExselle Half Pad with Wither Relief
  • 100% Cotton Twill
  • For High Wither Horses
  • Washable in Cool Water
  • It fits most English saddles.
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Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Correction Saddle PadSouthwestern Equine OrthoRide Correction Saddle Pad
  • Solve saddle fit problems
  • Perfect for high withered
  • Shock absorption
  • Saddle Tilt Forward
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Classic Equine BioFit Shim Felt PadClassic Equine BioFit Shim Felt Pad
  • Adjustable correction
  • BioFit Shim Pad
  • Corrects downhill saddle fit
  • Available in two sizes
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5 Star Horse Saddle Pad5 Star Horse Saddle Pad
  • Prevents heat build-up
  • Contoured for a precise fit
  • Even weight distribution
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Total Saddle Fit Perfect Saddle PadTotal Saddle Fit Perfect Saddle Pad
  • Offers three size options
  • Made from 100% wool felt.
  • Eliminates pressure points
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Top 8 Saddle Pads for High Withered Horses

For English riders, you can also find similarly designed English pads. The best English padding for a high-withered horse also provides wither relief. English pads will often have an extra amount of material built into the wither area that will allow movements – lifting off the horse’s withers. You may also need additional riser pads for the cantle of the saddle to help distribute weight evenly and to ensure that the saddle isn’t at an awkward angle.

#1) Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Correction Saddle Pad

western saddle pads

The Southwestern Equine OrthoRide Correction Saddle Pad is designed to relieve several issues riders have with saddle fit. It is made of orthopedic-grade felt with Poron XRD and memory foam. The built-up area is designed to relieve shoulder strain and pressure.

This shoulder cushion is designed for all types of conformation, from high withers to the horse’s shoulders. It is great for young horses or horses with unusual conformation. If your saddle is too large or tilts forward, these pads will help you.

  • Contoured design made of two-tone, orthopedic-grade felt
  • Includes Poron XRD and memory foam build-up
  • Fills saddle gaps and prevents pressure points
  • Wicks away moisture and sweat
Pros
  • Fits horses young to old
  • Great for high-withered horses
  • Great for all Western performance disciplines
Cons
  • Some users report issues with stitching and separation

#2) Classic Equine BioFit Correction Shim Pad

western saddle pads

Classic Equine is a brand well-known for quality horse tack products. The Classic Equine BioFit Correction Shim Pad is designed to be adjusted to your horse’s needs.
This pad alleviates “downhill” saddle fit due to conformation issues and high withers. It includes cut-out an area for high-withered horses.

It features a wedge-shaped closed-cell foam shim, allowing you to adjust the pad to the saddle. If you need more correction, slide the pad back. If you need less, slide it forward.

  • Contoured to fit the horse’s shape
  • BioFit Shim Pad
  • Corrects downhill fit
  • Available in two sizes
Pros
  • Made of 100% virgin wool fleece
  • Eliminates pressure points
  • Doesn’t slip or move
Cons
  • Only one color choice

#3) Diamond Wool Contour Relief Pad w/Shim Pockets

Diamond Wool Contour Relief Pad

For the ultimate correction and fit, the Diamond Wool Contour Relief Pad with Shim Pockets your horse needs your saddle and cushion to your high-withered horse’s needs.

This is one of the best western saddle pads for high-withered horses. It features a contoured spin and three pockets on each side.

With these pockets, you can use the wool shims to fill areas where your horse needs support. Features cut-out area for wither relief as well.

  • Available in six color options
  • Includes multiple shims and pockets for shim placement
  • Shims are ½ inch thick and made of wool
  • Features durable duck cotton top
Pros
  • Made of quality wool
  • Hugs the horse’s back
  • Multiple adjustments can be made for horses as they age
Cons
  • Cotton can be slippery with some saddles

#4) Kavallerie All-Purpose Saddle Pad with Quilted Anti-Slip Padding

best Saddle Pad

The Kavallerie All Purpose Pad is the way to go for the English rider who needs wither clearance and likes a little style. This all-purpose shock absorber fits everything from your jump saddle to your dressage saddle.

It is available with or without fur accents. It is designed for the horse and rider’s comfort, adding stability without adding density.

The pad materials help prevent back injuries such as rubs and bruising. It does not slip or chaff.

  • Made of breathable bamboo charcoal lining
  • Plenty of wither clearance for high-withered horses
  • It prevents friction, rubs, and chafing on long riding days
Pros
  • Made of 3D mesh for airflow and heat regulation
  • Stylish accents for schooling and showing
  • Lightweight and fully padded
Cons
  • Not adjustable with shims, so your saddle must fit your horse properly.

#5) ECP Cotton Correction All Purpose Contoured Saddle Pad

ECP Correction All Purpose Contoured Saddle Pad

Also, for the Englto fill, the ECP Cotton Correction All Purpose Contoured Saddle pad features memory foam pockets allowing you to precisely fit your pad and saddle to your horse’s needs.

This is one of the best English saddle pads for high-withered horses as you can adjust easily, and the memory foam pads absorb shocks.

This is ideal for young horses that also change shape as they age.

  • Four memory foam pockets that Velcro shut
  • Allows for adjustments in both the pommel and cantle areas.
  • Available in 10 color options
Pros
  • Moisture wicking, diamond-quilted pad
  • Streamlined look without being bulky
  • Adjustable fit to your horse’s needs
Cons
  • Memory foam may not provide enough cushion for some horses

#6) Exselle Half Pad with Wither Relief

Exselle Half Pad with Wither Relief

If you need a little extra protection for your high-withered horse, the Exselle Half Pad with Wither Relief is another great option at an affordable price.

This half pad works with your standard all-purpose saddle pads and provides additional relief.

It is made of cotton twill with felt and sponge in between — a simple solution for added wither protection.

  • Available in black or white and at two lengths
  • Features tight fleece bottom with rolled wither and cantle edges
  • Helps fill the gap in high-withered and slightly swaybacked horses
Pros
  • Small and can easily be used on multiple horses
  • Fits most English saddles
  • May help correct a slipping saddle
Cons
  • May not fit larger seat saddles

#7) 5 Star Horse Saddle Pad

5 Star Horse Saddle Pad

Scientific research and thorough field testing assure that the 5-Star Equine Saddle Pad provides great functionality, safety, and performance.

The saddle pad is constructed entirely of virgin wool, making it incredibly soft and comfy for long rides with your high-withered horse. The wool pads also provide ideal compression, compensating for well- and incorrectly-fitted cushions. In addition, its one-of-a-kind design prevents heat and pressure accumulation.

This also distributes weight uniformly and absorbs shock. The rounded back allows for extra hip space, while the precise shapes are tailored to suit you and your horse perfectly.

To keep the saddle steady, no additional cinching is required. You won’t have to be concerned about it falling off either.

The saddle pad is constructed of high-quality pressed industrial felt, so you can count on it to last a long time. It’s also simple to clean, ensuring worry-free rides.

If you’re looking for a multifunctional saddle cushion, the 5-Star Equine Saddle Pad is a great choice. It’s ideal for ropers, reiners, cutters, and saddles with longer skirts.

  • All-natural, 100% wool, felt construction for comfort and durability
  • Prevents heat build-up
  • Contoured for a precise fit
  • Even weight distribution
Pros
  • Exceptionally soft and comfortable for rider and horse
  • Made from high-quality wool felt for increased durability
  • Impact absorption
  • Easy to clean and maintain
Cons
  • May be too thick for some saddles

#8) Total Saddle Fit Perfect Saddle Pad

Total Saddle Fit Perfect Saddle Pad

The Perfect Saddle Pad from Total Saddle Fit has outstanding performance and comfort for added peace of mind.

Unlike conventional saddle pads, TSF has a fully ventilated, open spinal channel that keeps your horse’s spine free of heat and pressure, providing excellent comfort. You’ll also like the 25mm 100% wool felt, which has the appropriate thickness and won’t compress under increased weight, making it excellent for high-withered horses.

It has a cutaway at the bottom to give the rider’s leg a slimmer appearance. It also has a withered freedom opening, a cut-back design that prevents your horse’s withers from being pressed unnecessarily.

A vented topline and a 1.5-inch open channel above the topline complete Wither Freedom’s stress-relieving features.

You’ll like the saddle pad’s fitting system, which allows you to find the ideal fit based on saddle balance, rider weight, and panel contact across your horse’s back. The concealed pockets beneath it also let you position the shims in various fashions to accommodate saddle modifications. You can use shims to correct rocking saddles, bridging, crooked saddles, and other issues.

The saddle pad comes in three sizes: small (28 inches), medium (30 inches), and large (32 inches) to accommodate a wide range of horses and riders.

  • Includes an optional saddle fitting shim system
  • It comes with a complete set of six 25-mm shims
  • Completely free and vented spine design
  • Total wither freedom
  • Ample clearance and less bulk underneath the saddle’s front
Pros
  • Offers three size options
  • Made from 100% wool felt
  • Eliminates pressure points
  • Offers optional shims for precise fit
Cons
  • It offers only one color option
Best Saddle Pad for High Withered Horses

Things to Consider Before You Buy a Saddle Pad for a High Withered Horse

When purchasing the best saddle pad for high withers, you will want to consider a few things:

Does the pad include shims?

Removable shims allow you to precisely adjust and fit the pad to the horse. This gives you a truly custom fit. Some pads are built up in the wither area and may not allow you to change the built-in part.

Are the shims wool or memory foam?

If you’re shopping for a Western saddle pad, wool shims will compensate for the most bulk and won’t squish under the weight of a western saddle. Memory foam works for most English saddles because they are lightweight. However, the weight of the rider may also need to be considered.

Will a half pad work?

With English saddles, a half pad is often a viable option. You can pair it with an all-purpose pad that provides plenty of wither clearance. However, be smart in shopping for a half pad as some are thin materials that provide “the look” of a half pad without actually providing any wither support.

Frequent Asked Questions about Saddle Pads for High Withered Horses

Do I need a thick saddle pad? 

The overall thickness of the pad is not necessarily what you’re looking for in a saddle pad. Regarding horses with high withers, it’s more about protection in the area of the withers and along the back.

Can you buy extra shims for adjustable pads?

The majority of the adjustable pads do have shims that can be purchased separately. These pads are often a small investment, so being able to replace the shims means you won’t have to replace the saddle pad when the shims wear down.

Will the pad work on multiple horses?

The saddle pads with removable shims will allow you to use the pad on multiple horses. Take the shims out if you have a horse that doesn’t need additional support. Replace the shims on the horse that needs the extra padding.

Final Words

When it comes to finding the best saddle pad for high-withered horses, it comes down to the individual need of that horse. Be sure to understand that a horse with high withers in healthy weight and condition may need a saddle pad fitted differently than a high, open senior horse with trouble keeping topline. Younger horses will grow and change and may grow into a regular saddle pad, while older horses will likely always need the additional padding to keep them comfortable.

It’s also important to remember the weight of your saddle and the rider when shopping for a wither pad. Comfort is always the number one priority, so take your time to shop and try out different high-wither saddle pads to find the best one for you and your horse.

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