Welcome to EN’s Product Review series! Who doesn’t love shopping … especially when the object of your search is new gear for yourself or your horse? While browsing for gear is fun, sometimes it’s just overwhelming to search through all of the products that are available for you and your horse. Companies featured in my posts have very generously provided me with their products, so that I may try them out and share my own experiences with all of you! Of course, every horse and rider is a unique individual, so each product may perform differently for you and your horse then it does for me—after all, different things work for different people (and horses!), and that is all part of the variety of life! This column is meant only for me to recount my personal journey, and share my own and my horse’s experiences with all of the exciting products featured. While I make no recommendations, I hope that you have fun and find entertainment while reading about my many adventures of trying new products, and that hearing about my personal experiences might help give you factors to consider when you are on your own quest for new gear!
When I get home after a long day, I just can’t wait to go out for a ride. Before heading on down to the barn though, I hurry to change into my riding gear and gather up my tack. As a creature of habit, I usually go through the same steps–my own sort of ritual. Schooling apparel on. Zip up those tall boots. Put my helmet on my head (one less thing to carry). Stick my gloves in my back pocket. Grab saddle pad, saddle, and girth. Loop my arm through my bridle….and, DON’T FORGET that breastplate. My breastplate has always been a much loved part of my member of my collection of tack. In my mind, it is a must have when I’m schooling over jumps. Even for a session practicing over small jumps, I make sure to include my breastplate when tacking up because a slipping saddle is just no fun at all.
Recently, I was very excited when I had the chance to try out a No Slip Saddle Pad from Success Equestrian. I’ve actually never used a non-slip type pad; truth be told, I feel like I basically had resigned myself to a life of double tightening my girth and still having my saddle slip around some while riding. Now, the pad that I had the opportunity to try was the Deluxe Jumper / All Purpose No Slip Pad, in black (though is also comes in white as well). When I pulled the pad out of the package, I noticed the air flow grip material that runs along the top of the pad where the saddle will sit, and also up towards the front of the underside of the pad. The grippy material is just right where you need it to be. The seat of the pad is also nice and cushiony; it not only is covered with the air flow grip material, but it also includes an additional 1.5cm of open cell breathable foam cushion inside. Overall, the pad has a crisp, clean look, and it also feels nice and…well, padded!
The first day that I went to try out the No Slip Saddle Pad from Success Equestrian, I grabbed the pad up while I was gathering my tack up…and then I paused. Breastplate? Or no breastplate? On a day when I certainly planned on schooling over some small jumps, normally this decision would be a no brainer. I decided to be bold though, and left my breastplate behind, so that I could let the saddle pad truly show me what it could do for me (and my saddle). After I got Ripley all groomed up for his ride, I went to start tacking him up. I placed the Success Equestrian pad on Ripley’s back, and then I noticed something. There were no ‘front straps’ to help anchor the pad to the saddle–instead there were just the usual two straps for the girth to pass through on either side of the pad! At first, I was intrigued by this, but then I thought that perhaps the Success pad doesn’t really need those extra two straps to help it stay in place. Little did I know (but would soon find out), that my thought was spot on.
After I finished tacking up, I hopped up into the saddle to head down to start warming up. During my warm up, Ripley and I worked through all of his gaits, and I kept glancing down to make sure the pad didn’t slip (especially since without those two extra straps to anchor it to the saddle). I didn’t notice it slip or slide at all. With our warm-up complete, I was ready to start jumping…except that I needed to hop off and get everything set up. So, I had to hop off, adjust the jump and hop back on. I usually use a mounting block to hop into the saddle, but in this case my block was back up by the barn–unfortunately for me, that meant hopping back on Ripley from the ground. For me, mounting from the ground just means that I will have to tighten the girth (yet again…and poor Ripley just hates that), and have to deal with the saddle wanting to really slide over while I’m mounting. After I hop on, of course, I must throw my body weight toward the other side of the saddle to try to correct the positioning. Total. Pain. In. The. Butt. But lo and behold – amazingly enough, when I went to hop back up on Ripley from the ground, the saddle didn’t budge or slip. At all. It was pretty amazing, actually.
So, after this point, I was feeling pretty darn confident in the non-slipping ability of the Success Equestrian pad (again–it. didn’t. budge!) I went on to do some more canter work to get Ripley to settle more before tackling the small jumps at all. Once he was settled, we really got right down to it, and practiced our jumping. Again, I found myself glancing down from time to time–and I noticed that the Success pad still hadn’t budged, amazingly enough. No breastplate, and no overly tightened girth, and still my saddle didn’t budge. What a beautiful thing…that’s for darn sure!
Ripley and I had quite the schooling session – he was rocket launching himself over the jumps (even though they were a little on the small side…hey, my boy’s in his 20s, but he still has his mojo!). Tired and
sweaty glistening, we took our cool down walk and returned to the barn. One thing that I noticed when I went to untack? The No Slip Saddle Pad absolutely lived up to it’s name, and it indeed did not slip, budge or move at all that I could see. Not only can a Success pad help you keep your saddle in place, but every purchase of a pad also helps equestrians in need. A portion of every Success Equestrian pad purchase is donated to the Equestrian Aid Foundation, whose mission is help members of the equestrian community who have been affected by serious illnesses or injuries. If you find yourself bringing home your own Success pad, you can feel great knowing that a portion of the purchase price is also helping other equestrians in need.
The No Slip Saddle Pad by Success Equestrian has definitely been a ‘successful’ for me. Not only does the pad appear to contour to Ripley’s back and provide a little extra cushion for the saddle, but it also has not slipped for me. At all. Pads from Success Equestrian are offered in a number of styles, which include both half pads and full pads, ranging in price from $75 – $99 (the Deluxe Jumper / All Purpose No Slip Pad that I tried out retails for $99. The pad is certainly a worthwhile and budget friendly investment to address issues of saddle slippage!
Go saddles that stay (where you put them). Go Success Equestrian. Go Eventing.