From Endurance to Dressage
Last month, I wrote about the need to find a new half pad. The fleece half pad I use for schooling, a Fleeceworks pad, never washes up well, and I didn't like that it fit so tight to the saddle, meaning the front and back fleece parts were right at the saddle's pommel and cantle. I suspect it has either shrunk or was never long enough to begin with. Nothing is "wrong" with mine other than the fact that it is a pain to keep clean. I have to "comb" it out after every wash, and it takes forever to get it to fluff back up. You can see it the photo below.
As I've already mentioned, my first choice was the Kavallerie 3D Air-Mesh Half Pad, but as luck would have it, it sold out in black. When I messaged Kavallerie to see how soon it would be back in stock, I was told the wait time would be about three months, so I ordered the LeMieux version from Dover.
First of all, this pad is much nicer than the retailers' photos show. No matter which site I checked, they all used the same photo of the pad which made the grip portion look like gray cloth. Now I can tell that it's silicone, much like you would see on a pair of breeches.
I've never not liked a LeMieux product that I've purchased - I have a pair of breeches, two different pads, a saddle cover, and a bridle bag, so I wasn't surprised to like this pad, too.
Price: From Dover, the pad costs $111.95 with free shipping. If you're also a USEF member and remember to use the discount code, CMXUSEF, you can save an additional 10%. Most "nicer" half pad are selling for upwards of $200, so this pad earns all the stars for value.
Fit: I didn't like how my Fleeceworks pad fit underneath my saddle, so I was extra careful when ordering the LeMieux. I wanted to make sure it was long enough for my saddle so that its edges didn't create a ridge of pressure underneath my saddle's panels. My Fleeceworks pad is 21", so I needed something longer. The LeMieux is 22" which gives me several inches for adjustability, and without the ridge created by the fleece at the front and back of the pad, I can shift the pad forward or backward as needed. I also love the high contour of the pad, something that LeMieux uses in all of its saddle pads. Again, this pad gets all the stars for fit.
Function: I've only ridden in the pad once, so this review is only very preliminary. Once my butt was in the saddle, I never even gave it another thought. For me, that's a good thing. I didn't need the grip of the X-Grip System, as my saddle doesn't move around, but I will say that for now, the pad is GRIPPY. After placing my saddle on Izzy's back, I usually slide it around until I get it in the position I like. When I tried to do that with the new half pad, I realized it was "glued" to the bottom of my saddle. If you're looking for a half pad that wont's slide around, this is the one. Again, the pad gets all the stars for function.
Durability: How well will it wash up? That, I don't know yet, but it seems pretty sturdy and durable. I am not sure how sticky the Grip System will stay, but since I didn't order the pad for that particular feature, I won't be concerned if it wears off. I suspect it should last well though as it is similar in feel to the silicone on all of my breeches, and all of those get washed far more frequently than this half pad will. All of the stitching is super tight, and the material is soft but heavy duty. Over all, it feels like it will be able to take some use and abuse. I want to give it all of the stars for durability, but that will remain to be seen.
For now, I am quite pleased with the Lemieux X-Grip Half Pad and feel that it was money well spent. The price was within my budget, it fits perfectly, does what it's supposed to, and seems like it will be easy to maintain. Once I use it for a month or two and wash it once or twice, I'll do a follow up review.
For now, I am super happy!
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%: