This week, during the CDI*5 and CDI*3, we were stabled with some lovely people who gave me a great idea (well, I say great now but we'll see how everyone likes it!) to feature a different product or brand that I use and explain a little bit about it. A sort of "My Favourite Things" piece which really should be "Things I Can't Live Without" piece!
I got asked a lot about the different things I use on my horses, what it does, if i like it, etc etc... so why not write it down and share with everyone!?
Click below on "Read More" to find out which ACAVALLO pads I use on which horses, why I use them, and what I like about them!
Favorite Thing: ACAVALLO Anatomic Soft Gel Pad
Favorite For: Pavarotti
What: Extremely lightweight gel pad that goes directly on your horses back to prevent saddle movement and slipping, distributes pressure and absorbs shock, all without adding bulk maintaining a close contact feel.
Why: I use this pad every time I ride Pavarotti no matter what! I have always had a problem with Otti being a little girthy (ok a lot girthy) and hated having to tighten the girth so that I wouldn't roll of his big back. I had tried a lot of different girths but all resulted in his pinned back ears and tense back :( Finally, I tried the Anatomic Soft Gel Pad directly on his back, thanks to the advice of a friend, and not only did it stop my saddle from moving around, it also meant I didn't have to tighten the girth too tight! I had a very happy Otti from the moment the saddle went on and an even happier Otti once we started working, thanks to the fact that the saddle didn't move around and it was much softer on his back! I also love that it's great in all weather, from cold indoors in Europe to hot humid days in Wellington- it stays dry, breathable and comfortable for Otti.
Highly Recommended For:
Favorite Thing: ACAVALLO Massage Gel Pad
Favorite For: Triviant
What: A lightweight, non-slip pad that goes directly on the horse's back with the same breathable, shock-absorbing and air circulating properties as the anatomic gel pad however this has a pillar-shaped structure providing a very unique massage effect that improves blood circulation throughout the horse's back muscles.
Why: Originally, Triviant had gone with a more classic gel pad like the Anatomic Gel Pad however ever since we gave this Massage Gel Pad a try we love it and use it every ride! Like Otti, Trivi is also a little girthy and can get tight over his back and stomach if he feels uncomfortable or tense (plus he is quite a hot horse by nature). I found that this particular style of gel pad not only helped with saddle fit and girthy issues, it also improved the circulation in his back resulting in a much softer, relaxed Trivi right from the start.
Highly Recommended for:
Favorite Thing: ACAVALLO Withers Free HEXA. Soft Gel Pad with Micropile
Favorite For: Triviant & Ladina
What: A gel pad that is cut out to relieve the withers, prevent weight distribution problems and prevent bulking in the tree area of the saddle that often can pinch and be too tight on many horses. The pad has an anti-slip, shock absorbing hexagonal gel pad on top which is combined with micropile fabric and an inner 4 mm thick open cell foam providing comfort to the horse’s back while maintaining contact with the saddle. Why hexagonal gel structure? Because air is compressed within the cells of the gel pad and expelled as the horse moves, creating a cushion under the saddle.
Why: So for Triviant, he will tell you if he doesnt like what's on his back! If he doesn't like what he has (saddle-wise or saddle pad) he curls his back and kind of bounces like he is going to buck and his canter becomes impossible to sit on! Normally, a simple memory pad does the trick- i even went to Macy's and bought a memory foam topper and cut out a saddle pad for him. However, that just kind of did the trick... nothing special.
Finally one day, I looked at the make-shift pad I had and pressed down on it between my 2 hands and then rubbed my hands together to feel the friction. To my surprise, there was no protection! I realized that when you have "naked" memory foam, press down on it and then apply movement and pressure, it is as good as having nothing on! After this, I actually spoke with a specialist from ACAVALLO about what to do and she recommended the Withers Free HEXA. Soft Gel Pad with Micropile or the one with memory foam. I chose the micropile option because I like how it was only 4mm thick. A lot of memory foam pads you see today are so SO thick which to me ruin the whole point of having a custom saddle (which is what Trivi has). You lose that close contact feeling. I was ecstatic with how this pad felt! Not only did it give freedom to his withers, the structure and science of the pad was approved by Trivi! He felt soft, relaxed and happy! PLUS, can I just add, I also felt so comfortable! It not only cushioned and shock-absorbed for the horse, it did so for me as well resulting in a more smooth, in-sync ride.
I was so sold on it, we tested it on our jumper mare who is also a little like Trivi in the sense that she is a hot horse and sometimes struggles with tension in her back. She was previously using just a sheepskin pad that to be honest really only looked like it added a thick layer between the saddle pad and saddle. In jumping, you especially want to have that close contact feeling while still making sure the horse is comfortable in their back so that they can use it correctly when going over the fences. It's been 3 days now and so far we (and the mare) are loving it! She feels great, soft over the back and less defensive when her rider steps up to get on. It's still early to truly know how she feels about it but so far it looks like we may need to get another Withers Free HEXA. Soft Gel Pad with Micropile so we don't fight over it!
Here is how it looks under Ladina's jumping saddle. You can see the up close details of the hexagons.
Highly Recommended for:
So those are all the ACAVALLO pads I use on a daily basis! I have researched and played around with a lot of different types of equipment in order to find the best things that work for each of my horses individually. If there are 3 things I wish to remind everyone of in each of these "My Favorite Things" posts it's these: