For visual reasons alone, we generally choose a numnah or saddle pad that is placed directly on the horse's back. Saddle pads are now almost a fashion accessory and the actual function is more or less forgotten.
Yet the latest developments in saddle pads are highly sophisticated. Only a few saddle pads now consist simply of fabric and some foam filling. Many saddle pads now have an underside made of a honeycomb-like fabric, which immediately draws perspiration away from your horse's body, passes it through the fabric and foam filling of the saddle pad and releases it to the outside. Such saddle pads are recommended for high intensity training or for horses that sweat quickly and a lot.
There are saddle pads that are lined with fur. Sheepskin pads are correspondingly high in price, the reason being that this is medically tanned sheepskin. Medically tanned sheepskin has an hypoallergenic effect and is particularly suitable for sensitive horses. Often, only sheepskin helps when horses chafe under the saddle, under the girth, on the legs or under the halter.
In top sport you hardly see a horse that does not have extra padding under the saddle. This can take the form of so-called "half pads". These are usually made of (synthetic) fur and have the same cut as the saddle pads. Here it is purely a matter of a little more comfort for the horse's back.
Gel pads can be used as a temporary correction of a saddle problem, but should not be used over a longer period of time. These pads cause, for example, the rear part of the saddle to be raised. Such pads can be used in the short term, for example, on horses that are still developing and have had a growth spurt.
This pad is made of foam rubber and has an anti-slip property. As a rule, such a pad should be placed directly on the horse's back, otherwise the effect will not be achieved. There are also saddle cloths and saddle pads that have foam rubber in the area where the saddle pad rests.