From Endurance to Dressage
Another Dressage Pad?
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.
I actually meant to suggest this pad when you did the review on the last speedy friendly pad. I have one and it was almost a touch small so I thought it may be what you were looking for. I loved mine. I think that VTO sells the dressage model too and occasionally has some pretty great sales :)
8/3/2014 01:12:44 am
I love VTO! I checked for this pad there after you shared, but I only found the all purpose. However, I do own this pad from VTO http://www.vtosaddlery.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=VTO&Product_Code=RMSSP&Category_Code=APPAD but I only use it for shows. It's very similar, but with sheepskin and it's more than twice the price! :0)
8/3/2014 12:58:34 am
I love tack reviews like this, with close up photos demonstrating important factors.
8/3/2014 01:26:43 am
Thanks,Lytha! I was very impressed with the folks who did your saddle pad. When we spend so much money on an item, it's nice when a company will do what they can to make the purchase a satisfactory one.
8/3/2014 02:20:40 am
I have been waiting for this review! I have been thinking of getting this pad for Varro! I have to use a half pad on him and think this might be a fine alternative!
8/3/2014 03:50:03 am
I really like the pad, Sandra. It provides a little bit of extra cushion without being bulky. It's not memory foam or gel, so I imagine the fleece will start to compact, but it's been working really well for Speedy.
8/3/2014 03:25:00 am
I have the same problem with pads for Paddy. This one looks SUPER classy, and fits oh-so-well! How do you find the fleece does in the heat?
8/3/2014 03:55:48 am
Heat … hahahaha that's funny! It's been well north of 100 degrees here for weeks on end so I can actually answer that.
8/7/2014 05:03:48 am
My difficulty is finding dressage pads that are small enough. Most dressage pads are designed for very large horses so they are always a few inches too long along the spine and definitely too long in the drop. I've manage to find a few along the way that are the dimensions I need, but every time I find a new, smaller pad, I jump all over it! :0)
8/7/2014 05:01:42 am
VTO actually sells an AP version of this pad. It's not square, but it might be what you're thinking of: http://www.vtosaddlery.com/product/SP/PRIFAPP.htm
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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%: