From Endurance to Dressage
Well, yeah. Speedy is so hard to fit that when I see one that I think will work, I kind of have to jump on it. I actually saw this pad a few months ago, but was too busy to order it … until now!
The size, 25" x 42" is perfect for Speedy, but not for Sydney. If you have a moose, this probably won't work for you, but if you have a smaller horse like I do, the size is perfect! (I have the problem of the edge of the pad touching the top of my girth, which is already about the shortest dressage girth they make. That's why I need the shorter drop on a pad.)
Not only does it fit perfectly, but the diamond and square quilted pattern is really eye-catching. This is the first pad like it that I've seen. It's nicely contoured, something I really like for wither clearance, and it also has billet and girth straps like you would expect on most pads. Although, as a side note, I hate the billet straps and always cut them off.
When I opened the box and pulled the pad out, I was super excited and prepared to be wowed! But then … I wasn't. In fact, I was really bummed out and quickly stuffed it back into the plastic bag, ready to return it the next day.
The quality was great, the pad had a nice weight to it, not cheap and flimsy, but the one thing that I hadn't paid much attention to while ordering, was the fleece underside.
My saddle fits both of my boys well, and according to my saddle fitter, I don't need a half pad for Speedy. A regular dressage pad is enough padding for the way my saddle is fitted for him. Sydney does require a riser pad because he is not quite as well-sprung in the ribcage as is Speedy G. This pad felt really thick, and I just didn't want all of that bulk under my leg.
Here's a photo showing the non-fleeced thickness for comparison.
I went trail riding on Saturday, had a show on Sunday, gave Speedy Monday off, went to work on Tuesday, and then I looked at the pad again in the middle of the week. By that time, my husband had tossed the shipping box so I started to think about just keeping the pad even though I didn't really like it. Getting a box seemed like more trouble than it was worth.
I went ahead and tossed it up on Speedy and saddled him up. By the time I had girthed him up all the way, I was still on the same billet holes as I would have been with a thinner pad. Hmmm. Maybe it wasn't as thick as I thought. I got on, and the first thing I noticed was that Speedy moved a little bit freer through his back. Not like 100% different, but I was expecting to feel bulk under my leg and a bit of awkwardness.
Instead, Speedy gave me some really good trot work that was buoyant, forward, and powerful. Double hmmm. I don't know if he was just well rested after the show, happy to be back to work, or if the work I've been doing with him (asking for more thrust) is really starting to show up. The pad may have given him just a bit more freedom in his back, I don't know, but it certainly didn't hinder us the way I was expecting it to.
Final critique? I really like this pad and definitely think I'll be ordering the white one for next season.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: