From Endurance to Dressage
I wish I could remember who suggested this dressage pad. I am pretty sure I saw it on a Facebook page moderated by Sprinkler Bandits. In any case, I was in need of a dressage pad for Izzy that is show legal. Everything legal that I own is Speedy-sized. The other white pads that I own have some kind of logo or monogram which is not allowed at rated shows.
I am sure the Union Hill Dressage pad is available from a variety of vendors, but I found mine at SmartPak. When buying dressage pads for Speedy, I have to be very selective about the pad's dimensions as most dressage pads are made for BIG horses. I am finding that I have to be nearly as careful when buying pads for Izzy. In his case, the bigger the better.
The Union Hill dressage pad is an excellent fit for Izzy's large, but shorter backed frame. It has a moderate spine length at 23", Speedy sized actually, with a generous 22 1/2" drop. And like any good dressage pad, it is nicely contoured along the spine with a small amount of extra padding at the withers.
I don't know what most riders prefer, but I like a pad with some substance. I find that the thinner pads tend to wrinkle and bunch up. This pad has a solid weight to it, but it's not too heavy. It seems to be sturdily constructed, but I won't know for sure until it's gone through the wash a few times.
While I haven't actually girthed up my saddle with this pad yet, I think it should fit okay. I compared it to the pad I used at last weekend's schooling show, and it has the same drop.
The pad retails for $20.95, but if you're a regular SmartPak shopper, you can easily get it for less with a Smart Perks, USEF, or similar discount. If my girth ends up fitting too closely to the edge of the pad, it can easily become a schooling pad, and I can never have too many of those!
Overall, for around 20 bucks, the Union Hill Dressage Pad is a pretty smart purchase - inexpensive, but more than serviceable. I think I am going to break it in today.
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%