I'm looking for a good endurance saddle pad (one that can stand 30miles on the trail, doesn't necessarily have to be an "endurance" pad.) that will fit my English saddle. Preferably less than $50 if possible, but that may be pushing it.
Definitely not less than $50, but I have been really happy with my Haf pad. Bought 3 years ago, use a dressage saddle for 50 mile rides. I do have replacement foam inserts (Equipedic foam I cut to fit) but no slippage, easy to clean.
For less than $50 maybe a used Toklat woolback or coolback? They last forever. I had both, they would get a bit sweaty/heavy and needed to be washed more than I liked, and I prefer the Haf with the more impact-absorbing foam.
"Do your best, and leave the rest, twill all come right, some day or night" -Black Beauty
I second Irish horse on the woolback/coolback. If you do get a woolback/coolback, make sure you are really careful about where you put it down - it will pick up burrs like crazy. A shedding blade will work well to get them out, but it takes awhile. You might be able to find a good one for less than 50. If you are in the Bay Area , check out Saddles to Boots(or any used tack place in your area)- they have a ton of used pads, alot of which are great endurance pads at 1/2 cost.Make sure you check the "western" side of the store - several of the used places I go to hide even english endurance pads in the western stuff. Another trick if you get a pad with inserts ( particularly used) is to take the inserts out of the pad and pinch them - if your fingers can push the pad down to almost nothing, how do you think it will protect your horses back from you+saddle for 30 miles ? I have replaced them foam inserts in some of pads by cutting up an old felt pad in the same shape as the original inserts. The felt seems to protect my horses back well without breaking down as quickly as some foam can. For a pad, my favorite is http://horsesdacor.com/cashelcompany...saddlepad.aspx - a friend of mine has used one for over 1000 miles and the original inserts are still good, and the price is fairly reasonable when compared with other good endurance pads.
An endurance pad that retails for less than $50 new is most likely not going to give your horse the protection and comfort he needs for hours under saddle. Like others said, a used woolback or coolback pad is probably your best bet. Toklat makes them in all shapes and sizes, including standard AP and dressage, so you should be able to find one that fits.
Toklat Woolback is your best pad out there. Make sure it is the wool one. It will last forever, and dries pretty fast. When dry or after washing it then when dry, fluff it, if you choose, with a wire dog brush.
I have a Solstice, and use one. I think mine is the dressage one. I needed a pad to fit the length of my saddle. My current wool back I got in 1998. Still using it today in 2013. That is longevity! Pricy perhaps for the original, but lasting a long long time.
I have 2 of her saddle blankets that I have ridden many many many miles on and my horse is always in great shape with never ever a back problem.While it's more than you said you wanted to spend, it is a lot cheaper than an equine chiropractor,massage therapist or vet !!
I like the 5 Star wool pads, been using them for years and my horses love them.
Like the other suggestions on here they sell for well over $50. When you consider the fact if your horse starts having back problems you probably aren't going to be able to ride it all, let alone compete (not to mention whatever vet/chiro bills come about as a result), it makes sense to invest in a quality pad. One-time investment that can save you a lot of money and your horse a lot of pain later on down the road.
We generally put on major miles and we've always used either the diamond wool pads or a Pro Choice pad. The wool pads go on our pack horses and riding horses and we've never had a problem, very happy with them. Love wool.
Well I took a different approach... I use a Supracor Cool Grip pad which is very pricey (over $200) BUT I have used the same pad exclusively - I mean every single time I ride - for more than 10 years now and it is still in excellent shape. I trail ride a few times a week, used to do LDs and now do CTRs (about 40 miles over 2 days), here in the hot and humid SE. As you know, the vets check a horse's back 2-3 times before, during and after rides - mine has been completely sound always.
Since I don't use the fleece or any other cloth pads I'm not sure if or how often you have to replace those but it might be worth doing a cost comparison. The Supracor does come in different styles to fit different type saddles and I can vouch for their quality, comfort, durability and ease of care (hose off or dunk and let air dry).
It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.