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Gel saddle pads are great for horses with naturally sensitive backs or horses that are new to work and have not yet build proper back muscles. Gel pads redistribute the weight and pressure of the saddle and the rider improving the condition of horses back. Gel pads can also ride the front or the back of the saddle making poorly fitted saddles sit better.
The Best Gel Saddle Pads in 2021
- Editor’s Choice – Acavallo Anatomic Gel Pad
- Runner-Up – Acavallo Shaped Gel Pad & Front Riser
- Third Place – Acavallo Lammfell-Gel Memory Pad
- Fourth Place – LeMieux Lambskin Pro-sorb System Half Pad
Acavallo Anatomic Gel pad is definitely my number one pick. It’s super universal and fits any horse. It can be used under all types of saddles. Unlike many gel pads on the market, the gel is very resistant to harsh conditions (sweat, water, heat or sun). Densely positioned air holes make the pad breathable which means you can use it not only on the saddle pad, but also directly on the horse, under the saddle pad. This feature will be useful for horses with sensitive backs and back problems like kissing spine syndrome. It is also very easy to clean: being water resistant, it can be washed in the washing machine in 30*C. It will fit any horse, the producers made sure you can cut the gel to the right size yourself by marking cut lines on the pad. It comes in two different colors: transparent or black. Black color will look fresh for longer, transparent gel pads have a tendency to turn yellowish with time (uric acid from horses sweat stains them). I bought mine three years ago and the only downside is the yellow color I can’t clean off, so if I were to buy it again I would definitely go with black.
- Machine washable
- Can be cut to size – fits any horse
- Lasts long
Just like the previous acavallo gel pad, the quality of this product is amazing. Resistant to sweat, heat and water, can be washed in a machine at 30*C. Thanks to perforations in the gel it is breathable. Gel is thicker in the front, lifting up the front of the saddle. Wide saddles often lie too low on horses back, putting a lot of pressure on the wither and causing back pain. Acavallo front riser prevents it and improves the state of your horses back. It is also great for young horses or ponies which tend to have disproportionate hind, the gel keeps the saddle in a vertical or slightly uphill position. Unfortunately this gel pad comes only in transparent color. Benefits:
- Great with poorly fitted, too wide saddles
- Perfect for young horses and ponies with disproportionate hind or horses that have tendencies to fall downhill during training
- Machine washable
Another product by Acavallo. This pad combines two different technologies: the typical gel with memory foam. Memory foam becomes plastic under heat and works exactly where it needs to. This ensures that the pad leaves no scratches or marks on your horse. It is perfect for older horses with a worse blood flow. In addition the materials are non slip and will sit well on your horses back. This model is a bit more difficult in maintenance than typical gel pad but still relatively easy to clean. Memory foam might feel hard and stiff when not on the horse but do not worry about it- it is completely normal. The pad gets softer when your horse warms up and the muscles produce heat.
- Hood for older horses with poorer blood flow
- Doesn’t leave marks and scratches on your horse
A great deal for someone who values fashion and practicality. This pad comes in four different colors: white, black, brown and a mix of black and white. The pad is made out of material but comes with full set of shock absorbing gel insertable pads. Material pads absorb the sweat better than typical gel pads. Lambskin prevents the escape of heat, so this pad might not be ideal in the summer, but just perfect during colder months. This pad has nothing but amazing reviews, the customers love the looks and the feel of it. Benefits:
- Pretty make
- Comes in different colors
- Made of natural breathable materials
- Comes with a full set of insertable pads
What to Look for in Gel Saddle Pads
The quality of the gel is important. Poor quality products tend to get sticky and gooey after only a couple of uses, making other equipment like the saddle or saddle pad dirty. Cheap materials may also lead to allergies in horses, which show as spots or tiny lumps on the horses back. Holes in the gel are important for the sweat to evaporate and your horses skin to breathe. An alternative is wool, which causes less allergic reactions and is naturally more breathable and sweat absorbing.
Benefits of Gel Saddle Pads
- Redistribution of saddles and riders weight, leading to an equally distributed pressure
- Absorbing shocks (especially during show jumping or eventing).
- Improving a fit of a poorly fitted saddle
- Improving or curing the back pain in riders and horses
- Make you look glam and professional
If your horse is affected by back pain, we highly suggest you also have a look at other methods of improving back health, such as investing in a well fitted saddle, in high quality saddle pads and in therapy (massage, osteopathy or magnetic rugs). All those things combined give truly amazing results in improving the back pain in horses and are often a complete solution to your riding problems.