I have used an Ogilvy, Ecogold, EquineLux and SaddleRight.
Out of all of them, I liked the Saddleright the most. Lifetime warranty and they look really nice. I still felt as close to the horse as I would have without the pad, and it seems to conform to any horse you use it on (unlike something with memory foam). I don't think it would make a saddle that is too wide fit a narrow horse, though.
I would choose the EquineLux next, and that is what I'm using right now. It's nice how you can cut out the shims to fit the horse's needs, and I still feel just as close to the horse.
Third would be the Ecogold pad. I didn't use the triple protection one, but I used the 'Calmatech Jumper' pad with the halfpad-shaped insert. I felt like it raised me above the horse a little bit too much and I remember it sliding around on the horse.
Fourth is the Ogilvy. I've tried three different ones (2 real ones and 1 Shedrow fake) on three different horses, one of them a jumper and 2 hunters, and they were all horrible! It is literally like sitting in a saddle with a pillow between you and the horse. They look nice for a little while, until they're broken in - then they just look smushed and awful. The worst part is that it still feels like a huge pillow even after it's broken in.
The world is full of options, especially when it comes to horse products. As a former tack store employee, I assumed I had a pretty good idea of everything available in the world of tack and gear. But I have found that the horse industry is constantly adapting to advancing technologies, and I am excited to see these new products and adaptations hitting the market.
Take saddle pads, for example. I have never put much thought into which saddle pad to use, apart from choosing the pad that is slightly less filthy than another one. But I recently had the chance to test a new saddle pad designed by EquineLUX. This Canadian company, launched in 2012, has taken saddle pad design to a whole new level. EquineLUX has employed the newest fabrics and materials to produce an innovative and advanced saddle pad that’s also very attractive.
The top of the pad has a non-slip section where the saddle rests, and the bottom (horse) side is made of cotton to reduce irritation. The pad itself is composed of layers of polyester 3-D spacer fabric, air-trough non-slip mesh textile, and an open-cell High Resilience foam. The layers are spaced to allow air to circulate so the horse doesn’t sweat up as much underneath, and to keep the pad from sliding around. This layering system also protects the horse’s back by providing shock absorption. Optional foam inserts provide additional cushioning, and can help improve the contact between saddle and horse.
The EquineLUX saddle pad is available in black or white, in a choice of jumper, hunter, dressage, and eventing styles. Riders can also choose the thickness that best fits their saddle, and for the high withered horse there is a bit of extra room provided if the pad is pulled up high during tacking up.
I tried the EquineLUX pad in both the dressage and eventing styles, and both were great. Being a slighter 16 hand Thoroughbred, Chase has a smaller barrel, and so the dressage pad was a bit big on him, but not to the point where it was bunching up. What really impressed me was the lack of sweat buildup on Chase’s back after the ride. Instead of the usual sweaty patches, the sweat was more evenly distributed over his back, and the amount of sweat was noticeably reduced.
Best of all was Chase’s response to the pad. He has a sensitive back and before testing the pad I had been trying to figure out if the problem was saddle related. But after riding in both of the EquineLUX pads continuously for a couple of weeks, Chase was less sensitive when I ran my hand down his spine and he seemed more comfortable in general when under saddle. This isn’t to say that a saddle pad should be used as a “fix” for an ill-fitting saddle, but it would be interesting to try this pad on another, less sensitive horse, to see if there is again an improvement in performance.
While today’s technological developments do not always deliver the benefits they promise, the EquineLUX pad stands out as a positive example of technology improving the lives of our horses. We might just be looking at the saddle pad of the future.
phylwar I just purchased myself an Equine Lux Saddle pad and LOVE it.
Not sure if there are any others out there that have used them but WOW.
It has just enough foam under the saddle to help absorb shock to keep my back from getting sore(and the horse's back too).
Has a no slip material under it to keep your saddle from slipping
and best of all they are Made in Canada.
I am ordering another one for schooling.
Gumby It looks good, I bought an Ultra Thinline and have to say, I am not very impressed. I don't need the non stick backing as I'd want to put a pad under it to keep it clean. Which type did you get and is it heavy at all? Thanks. Also, about how much do they cost ?.
phylwar I got this one http://www.equinelux.com/hunter-saddle-pads.php it is very light. it was worth it
Small Change phylwar, have you used an EcoGold pad? I'm told that these two pads are essentially the same...
phylwar Small Chanage, I DO have an EcoGold and this one is SO much better and cheaper. I was looking for another EcoGold and got the story and thought I would try the EquineLux. So glad I did. I just ordered a second one for schooling. they have a deal on facebook ends today.
Small Change Oh wow, if it's better, that's speaking very highly of it!
nonie I've been looking for a good half pad with shims, so I'll trust your review and give 'er a shot!
spoiler76 FYI, they will also make a shaped pad to measure if you have a hard-to-fit saddle like mine. You can send them pictures and they'll make one to fit - for the same price!
I'm in the process of ordering my custom pad from them now. I've got a long and forward flap saddle that is very tough to fit with a standard pad.
SC - one thing that's nice about the EquineLUX pads is that they don't use the plasticy material on the underside, but a natural cotton weave that is also non-slip. Should breathe better.
I saw phylwar's in person, and it was lovely. Looked to be very well made, materials were nice, not too thick or thin.
nonie They sent me Fedex tracking numbers so I can stalk it, but I'm still impatient to see if it's as nice as people are saying. Does anyone have any experiences to share to tide me over? I hate buying things online I've never seen myself...
Gumby if you want to drive to Waterdown to see mine you can LOL. you won't be sorry, I just LOVE mine.
Gumby Looks like I'll be ordering another! It arrived yesterday, I rode in it today and will probably never use another pad again. The sticky part holds the pad to the saddle perfectly, I have never had the part you pull up into the gullet stay exactly where it was supposed to. It is light yet has a nice amount of substance to it, plus they were smart enough to make the lining grey. Thanks for suggesting it.
ehNZed How is natural cotton sticky?
nonie My half pad arrived 48 hours after I ordered it, which was pretty impressive. So far I quite like it, it's light, breathable, and it stays put! I did have to put in my own front shims as it only came with single shims that filled each side front to back (I ended up taking those out after feeling like I was riding 6 inches above her back with the addition of my shims :P. Once I took them out it felt much better). I am just wondering how it will hold up long term with the light mesh fabrics used; has anyone had any experience with them over the long haul?
EquineLux is a manufacturer of high-performance luxury saddle pads. Their market is the competitive equestrian sports, but pleasure riders will find a lot to like about these pads. They’re attractive and easy to clean. Most can be machine washed, in cold water with mild soap and hung to dry. Everyday maintenance is as simple as shaking any horse hair and dust off, or using a lint roller.
The pads are designed to provide non-slip contact with the saddle, reduce heat and sweat, keeping the horse’s back cooler and more comfortable. For those of us with high withered horses, or hard to fit backs, these pads offer features to make fitting easier.
A combination of natural and synthetic materials make these Canadian made pads sturdy, comfortable and well fitting. They feature merino sheepskin, 100% cotton, leather, 3-D spacer fabric, high resilience foam, breathable synthetic fibres, non-slip textiles, synthetic webbings and sun and moisture resistant polyester thread. This combines to make a pad that is non-slip, breathable, shock-absorbing, moisture wicking and quick drying. The pads are designed to fit the horse well, and some have shims for extra fitting options, allowing the use of the pad on more than one horse. Half-pads, hunter style, eventer pads and full dressage pads are available. Color choices are black and white. Prices range from $60 to 220$.
EquineLUX also takes special orders of other colors, or sizes and can embroider names or logos onto the pad. Special orders are priced individually.
Each pad is made of several layers of fabric, designed to provide the best sweat wicking and comfort. The cotton layer is pre-shrunk, which means no bunching after the pad has been washed and dried. A 3-Dimensional Spacer fabric provides excellent breath-ability and cushioning. A layer of high resiliency foam helps distribute the weight of the saddle and rider and provides additional shock absorbency.
Stress and wear points at the girth area are reinforced with leather.
EquineLUX sent a black, sweat wicking saddle pad, intended for everyday use, for this review. The pad felt substantial—not floppy like a cheap poly/cotton full pad, but was still very light-weight. Setting it on Trillium’s back, I really liked how it fit. The cut amply allowed for her high withers, and even after the saddle had been placed on top of it, the pad did not pull down tightly.
The one disappointment I had in the pad as I was saddling up, was that the billet straps on my all-purpose saddle, did not reach down far enough to go though the strap on the saddle pad. It was impossible to pull my girth up through the pad, because the strap was sewn down in a way that made it impossible to fit anything but a billet strap through.
However, that didn’t mean the pad shifted while I was riding. Thanks to the non-slip polymer coated textile, the pad stuck right with the saddle and didn’t shift an inch. Nor did the pad pull down as they so often do, and bind tightly against the horse’s withers.
The Bottom Line
I really liked this pad, except for the straps that the girth goes through. If I were a saddle pad manufacturer (I do have experience with heavy industrial sewing and textiles) I would make these straps entirely of hook and loop fastener top and bottom so that they could be secured down over any configuration of billet strap. I really liked the fit on my high withered mare. The non-slip fabric securely held the pad in place despite my not being able to use the straps to put the billet strap through. There was no slippage at all. I liked that the pad was quick dry and allowed air flow. Although I tried this pad in very early spring, I can see it being a good choice for hard work in hot weather.
This pad is almost too nice for everyday use, but considering how well it fits and its easy care, it will replace my current cotton/poly full pad. Because I am a sewist, I’m going to take a look at doing a little alteration to the girth straps. Overall, I was really impressed with this pad and only lopped off a half a star for this review because of the girth strap issue.
George Morris said: “Think of riding as a science, but love it as an art.”
If Nacho has taught me anything, it’s that riding her is a long series of experiments. Discovering what she likes is a great achievement and we are able to make huge progress. So, I’m always trying new things with her in order to figure her out. I’ve learned that she likes wide girths and wiggly bits. She hates a flash noseband, loves a figure-eight. It’s one big, long term science experiment.
When it comes to saddle pads, I’ve done a ton of experimenting. Before the EquineLUX saddle pad, I’d had the best luck with a Back on Track pad, even though it was too big for my small horse. I’ve tried half-pads, wither pads, and gel pads, among other things in order to calm my cold-backed horse. No matter how well a saddle fit Nacho, she is cold-backed. That said, I am open to trying something that is better looking than the Back on Track, and still eases the symptoms of cold back syndrome. The EquineLUX pad was successful in many ways, and I thoroughly enjoyed trying it out.
First and foremost, I was totally impressed with the customer service that the CEO, Maxim, provided. He was truly interested in suggesting the right type of saddle pad for my horse. He not only helped me to pick out a pad that might be suitable for my needs, but suggested that the company could custom-make that pad to fit the very forward cut of my jumping saddle! Ultimately, my custom saddle pad was designed like the one on the top of this page - the XTR Shock-Absorbing saddle pad, but mine would have a slightly different shape to accommodate the shape of my saddle. About a week after our conversation, the custom-designed saddle pad arrived.
What I first noticed about the EquineLUX XTR Shock-Absorbing Pad was its quality. It has a no-slip area on the top so it will not move from underneath the saddle. The girth loop is reinforced with leather. The fabric had a nice feel and the whole thing was well put-together. Although the visible parts of the pad are white, the underside is lined with gray fabric. Hey, that hides dirt! One feature that I especially like on the pad that I tried is the velcro pockets with removable shims. That makes the pad
1) easier to wash and
2) easier to fit on many horses with different saddles.
The shims are made of shock-absorbing foam, which is especially appealing, considering my horse.
As you can see in the above photo, the cut of this saddle pad fits the flap of my saddle perfectly! I really like the shape of the pad – I have been seeing this cut more often lately and I think it looks classy. In the photo, the no-slip area can be seen under the cantle of my saddle, and below that, the velcro for the shim pockets is visible. The ONLY THING that I would change is that the girth loop does not line up perfectly with my girth. I believe that this is due to two things, neither of which is the fault of the manufacturer (because this is a problem I have had frequently with this horse and this saddle). First of all, my horse has an extremely huge shoulder and very set-back withers. This alters where the girth falls. In order for the girth to be in the correct place, it seems like my saddle ends up half-way up Nacho’s neck! When the saddle itself is sitting in the correct place, the girth is practically around the mare’s belly! For this reason, the girth rarely lines up with the girth loop, and on most of my saddle pads, I have cut away the girth loop. I should have told Maxim that when I spoke to him, but I didn’t think of it. I’m sure he would have been able to adjust the positioning for me. So, as you can see in the above photo, only one strap of the girth’s elastic goes through the loop. Since the saddle pad is non-slip, this is not a concern to me. It never moved during testing. I think it is mostly due to a custom pad/unusual saddle shape vs. horse conformation thing. Not a big deal.
One of Nacho’s signature moves is to immediately leap forward a few strides when I first get on, especially when I haven’t ridden for a week or so. On the day that I tried the EquineLUX pad for the first time, I hadn’t ridden in a few days due to an exam. I totally expected her to scoot forward and act like a cold-backed fool. She didn’t. Over the next 35 minutes or so, we proceeded to have an excellent ride. She was hot, yes, but that’s just her general nature. She was, however, much more willing than usual to use her back and push from behind. That’s Nacho’s way of saying that she’s satisfied with something that I’ve changed. And you know, every time I’ve used the XTR Shock-Absorbing Pad since that first day, Nacho has resisted her urge to scoot away from the mounting block. The saddle pad has never slipped, and I’ve now used it 10 or 12 times. It looks classy and it’s easy to wash. It breathes and the design also allows a release of heat, which keeps the horse more comfortable.
This is truly an excellent product. Not only is it made of quality materials, but it functions exceptionally well while looking stylish and modern. And behind all that, the products are backed up with unparalleled customer service. Maxim noticed the girth loop issue on his own from a photo and asked me about it, then offered to make me another pad that corrects this problem with my personal saddle and horse! How awesome is that? I’d recommend the EquineLUX Saddle Pads without hesitation. You won’t be disappointed.