The common version of the western pad includes the trim with lambskin on the underside. The lambskin can compensate for minor unevenness of the saddle, absorbs sweat and moisture from the horse's back and provides a more comfortable experience for the horse.
Western pads are thicker compared to the saddle pads of the English riding style. The Western pad can have a wool thickness of 20 mm or 30 mm. Of course, versions without lambskin or with lower wool thickness are also available. Western pads have also come onto the market in the meantime in which minor difficulties in the saddle position can be compensated for with inserts using insert pockets.
In places where the western saddle rests directly on the western pad and friction can occur, leather inserts are often incorporated to prevent the outer material from tearing.
Western pads are for the western rider what the dressage saddle pad is for the dressage rider. Due to the fact that the western saddle has a different shape and, more importantly, is heavier, western pads are usually uniformly rectangular in cut. Compared to saddle pads or rugs, they are thickly padded to distribute the weight of the saddle and rider evenly. They also provide some shock absorption.
Western pads are often found in colourful patterns inspired by Native American style, and a thick sheepskin lining on the underside ensures that the horse's back is protected. A leather insert at fender level prevents the fabric from becoming frayed. Western pads are constantly being developed further, so in addition to different materials, there are now also different types of ventilation and other functional features to suit the respective training purpose.