A Fleeceworks pad is an essential piece of tack, an indispensable ingredient in correct saddle fit. Part of the foundation for a good ride and a healthy horse is well fit tack. How do you pick a saddle pad? Seems simple.....at first. Half pad, full pad, sheepskin, Therawool, bamboo? We have answers! The Fleeceworks line is deep, with many options, natural fabrics and designs to chose from. Confused? Read through our FAQs but if you have more questions, call or email us. Fleeceworks president Judy McSwain is the sorting hat of saddle pad  selections. Tell her about your horse: age, breed, confirmation and your saddle: brand and size; and she'll provide you with saddle pad picks based on her years of experience.  Prior to her work at Fleeceworks, Judy was a nurse practitioner and has a solid understanding of the impact of anatomy on movement.

How do I choose a half pad?

The best half pads do triple duty: they absorb impact, improve saddle fit and provide thermal balance by soaking up moisture and dispersing heat.  Well made half pads and full pads provide impact protection. When you sit the trot, transition to canter, or land from a jump, impact pressure is created. How your horse absorbs that impact depends on the saddle pad. Fleeceworks half pads address all of these issues. Plus, some half pads are shimmable, with pockets for inserts that can further customize the fit. This can address a wide variety of fit issues with your saddle. Half pads can prevent chaffing and address saddle slippage problems. Inserts with memory foam are also available and aid in preventing both of those issues. Half pads are useful in addressing the ways that your horse’s body may change over time. As horses gain or lose weight and age, half pads can provide additional support during these times of transition. And if you ride several different horses – you can usually ride in the same half pad. Again here shims are useful and you can change the shims to give you a better saddle fit for each ride.

What should I consider when choosing a full pad?

Consider shape, size, fabric and budget. Full pads can be a square shape or a shape that mirrors the cut of your saddle. Shaped pads should fit your saddle with no more than an inch or so of material visible once your saddle is on. Look at the length of the saddle flaps too. The shape of the cantle can also vary. The cantle should not sit on the outside of the pad. Fleeceworks offers full pads with or without shim pockets, which  further customizes the fit. Here are a few options for full pads with shim. 

What is Fleeceworks FXK Technology?

Fleecework's FXK Technology is the inclusion of an elastic band that runs vertically over the top of the saddle pad to comprehensively protect your horse’s entire topline. This patent pending technology is a cross elastic band that acts as a shock absorber, taking rotational pull off the horse's shoulder before any pressure can reach the sensitive spine and wither areas. Some horse’s shoulder movement can pull a normal pad down so that it lies taut over the withers and some area of the spine. In the worst cases this can create pressure points at the base the withers, and interrupt blood flow. Some address this with a saddle pad with a wither cut out. But, a cut out still has a beginning point and an end point. Both these points lie over potentially sensitive areas and can cause pressure points. Consider that the position of the wither is different in every horse relative to the position of the hole in a saddle pad. How effective can a cut out really be?

The FXK elastic is the same technology and material used in medical and orthopedic equipment. It is woven so that it moves in only one way and direction – it gives with the movement of the horse and it gives over the horse’s withers. Fleeceworks offers both full pads and half pads in the FXK line. Check out our Fleeceworks FXK pads here.

My horse has very high withers, which pad should I use?

Fleeceworks has three great options for high withered horses.

  1. Any Fleeceworks pad with FXK technology because it gives with the movement of horse over the topline.
  2. Any pad with Perfect Balance Technology because it creates a concave space behind the withers and is available with memory foam inserts that fill in that channel with support.
  3. Wither relief pad – Fleeceworks does offer a traditional cut out wither relief half pad, available in both sheepskin and Therawool.

What is Perfect Balance Technology?

Fleeceworks™ Perfect Balance Technology combines pure Australian Sheepskin, the option of three different insert materials and a patent pending design to make the Perfect Balance Pad an essential piece of equipment for every horse and rider.

KEEP? Fleeceworks™ PJ Pad was developed in close collaboration with internationally known equestrian Pierre Jolicoeur for his range of saddles. Finely calibrated to offer maximum protection without an inch of bulk, the PJ pad is cut to provide the essential protective layer. The PJ pad offers wither relief with a traditional cut-out. It also comes with a removable rear riser made from high-tech Visco-Elastic material.

How do I attach the seat saver to my saddle?

Check out our English Seat Savers and our Western Seat Savers.

  1. Take off your stirrup leathers.
  2. Slide the loops on the front on to the stirrup bars.
  3. Flip the seat saver over the top of the saddle.
  4. Bring the elastic from the front and back through the channel and Velcro it.
  5. Take elastic piece on the back and put it around the cantle.

What are the advantages of sheepskin?

Sheepskin is extremely dense and absorbs a lot of moisture. 

Therawool: Some people prefer Therawool for two main reasons: it dries faster and it’s about 30% less expensive than sheepskin. If you’re on a budget, Therawool is a great option. 


Bamboo is the easiest natural fiber to care for—it can go in the washer and dryer (score!). Bamboo is well loved for it’s moisture wicking and antibacterial properties. Recent technologies have dramatically increased the use of bamboo fiber. Fleecework’s bamboo is pulped and pressed into sheets that look like felt, which is a more pure form of bamboo. It’s the liner of our bamboo pads. With Fleecework's bamboo pads and wraps Flannel – you are putting the natural fiber between you and your horse. There is no foam or plastic.

What kinds of wool are there and what kinds does Fleeceworks use?

There are different sheep around the world. At Fleeceworks, we use merino wool sheep which are thought to have the finest sheepskin in the world. Sheepskin is assessed and categorized for different purposes–some are intended for carpet, some are used to make shoes and boots and some are better suited as saddle pads.

What is Therawool?

Therawool is a blend of merino and merino cross fibers that are shorn  and woven onto a cotton poly backround. It is a proprietary blend that ensures it does not turn into  hard knots when washed.  It can also be brushed out which returns the loft

How do I clean my sheepskin saddle pad?

Because sheepskin is animal hide, it does require some regular attention, just like your tack. The best way to care for your sheepskin pad is to first let it dry. Sheepskin pads absorb moisture like no other and it's important to get it completely dry. Then brush it out with wire brush. It can also be vacumed . Often, those two steps are enough. But if you want to keep going, set up your sheepskin pad on a wash rack, hose it down. Scrub it with soap (See Suggestions below), spray it again, use a sweat scraper and run fingers through the hair fibers.  Let it drip as needed  then reshape  and dry flatIf using a machine, we suggest a front load. The  This method saturates the hide and your item will need time to dry. It  should be reshaped and laid flat. Let it dry and brush it out.


We recommend   Fresh Rider, War Horse , Blanket Safe Sheepskin soaps Do not use Woolite on sheepskin. It will cause microscopic tearing of the hide..Woolite can be used with the Therawool. 

What’s the correct way to layer a half pad and full pad?

it’s a choice. Perfect sheepskin next to the horses back because it pulls the moisture from the horse’s back. spreads the heat out. worry about wear and tear on pad. Use baby pad – it’s light enough that allows the heat to pull through. Thermal balance is what you will lose if you don’t do it this way. Some of half pads with banded edge discreetly designed to go under half pads – because there’s no roll.


What’s the best saddle pad for the hunter ring?

any of classic – the show hunter in wool or sheepskin, FXK, shaped pad. most of the full pads – considered full pads on website – traditional basic pad classic full pad – that’s available in partial or full trim. Partial with no sheepskin on bottom lasts longer closer feel. FXK one step up – wither clearance – available in partial. Show hunter – shimmable – available in sheepskin in partial or full also available in therawool. Easy care bamboo – two cuts – no slip due to the memory foam light inserts

What about equitation?

And jumpers?

More flexibility – use care bamboo – half pads with baby pads – easy care quilted bamboo pad – square pads with sheepskin or wool attached – some of these are shimmable

Is it really necessary to use different saddle pads for dressage, cross country and stadium jumping? Why or why not?

The same quilted saddle pads can be used in xc and the stadium phase

Fleeceworks half pads that  are  categorized as  dressage, close contact and all purpose can be used  with all 3 saddles.  We recommend selecting a  size large enough to fit the dressage saddle, to accommodate the wider gussets. It is always better to half pad with a bit of room that  have saddle  gussets sitting on the  roles. 

The   Fleeceworks pads categorized as dressage pads have a straighter drop in the front  and are wide across the back

How often should saddle pads be replaced?

It’s time to invest in a new pad. Think about it – if you have symmetrical wear points on the pad – or under the pad – coming from friction – areas where you see wear. Depending on use – running sneakers 300-500 – have one for show and have one for everyday – worth it to have a few in rotation – will last longer.

What’s the best way to wash my FW pad?

How often should I wash my FW pad?

Can I special order a trim color? Barn orders?

The special  order program will return  for orders to the web site in 2024.  Until the program returns to an online status we are taking  individual special orders via phone or email  

Embroidered – let us know and we can ship it directly to that person.