It’s always a tough choice, choosing the right pad that works for both you and your horse. Fortunately, there are a multitude of options on the market today for just about every shape, size, and preference.
The idea of a custom pad has always been a big seller in today’s market. Especially for eventers, who love to color coordinate. When Padded Ponies approached me with the opportunity to test one of their memory foam half pads, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
I’m lucky enough to have a relatively “normal” shaped horse. He doesn’t have the “shark fin” withers that many Thoroughbreds have, and he goes in a standard medium tree saddle. When testing out a demo saddle a couple of weeks ago, I was pleased that no major altercations would need to be made once I ordered his saddle.
I may be a minority in this opinion — perhaps it’s because I’ve dealt with an ill-fitting saddle for the past few years — but I still favor the idea of using a half pad, as long as it does not interfere with my saddle fit. Like I said, my old saddle (the one pictured) needed a lot of help in that department. So I’m always game to test out a new half pad to see if it provides some more comfort for both my horse and me.
The obvious thing about Padded Ponies is the custom options. A click through their website yields so many options that you’ll be able to find any color and pattern combination possible. They also offer solid colors, so if patterns aren’t your thing not to worry!
I ordered mine in my eventing colors of royal purple and gray (ok, my colors also include black and white but who’s counting?). Out of the box, I was impressed with the quality with which the pads are made. There’s even an embroidered reminder on washing instructions (machine wash, line dry) on the spine so you don’t have any pesky tags to worry about. That’s what I call attention to detail.
The memory foam was cold out of the box from shipping, but I was pleased to see that once it warmed up it was pliable and ready to use.
The thing about memory foam is that it can appear pretty thick on first glance. I wasn’t sure how it would work with my saddle since it did seem a bit thick out of the box, but I was pleased to see that once it was on, the foam immediately conformed to my saddle, alleviating pressure points and achieving a nice fit without interfering.
During my ride, I felt comfortable and secure in the saddle and I felt my horse moving well through his back, making me feel that he enjoyed the extra comfort between him and the saddle.
Once I was finished riding, the pad almost immediately returned to its full shape. This was encouraging, as it made me feel that it could be used on multiple horses and conform accordingly to them. I’m happy to report that after a handful of rides, the pad is still returning to its original shape and density after removal.
The pad is large enough to fit a larger saddle (my old saddle, pictured, is a 16.5″) with plenty of room, which is great considering I will have a larger saddle coming in the next few months.
Overall, I’ve had a positive experience with Padded Ponies. Their customer service is wonderful, and they’re able to offer a custom product at an affordable price. I think I can speak for both my horse and myself when I say I’m glad we landed on this option, which is both fun and functional.
You can view more information on Padded Ponies (and order your own!) here. You can find saddle pads, stirrup and saddle covers, and different types of half pads, so shop to your heart’s content!
Go Padded Ponies!