Impact Gel Saddle Pad?
Have any of you guys tried the Impact Gel Saddle Pads?
I just visited one of my local tack stores yesterday and the girl showed me these, and I don't know if I should believe how awesome she said they were or not.
Barrel Racer Tack Store: Impact Gel Saddle Pads starting at $115!
She brought it up because I was looking at the saddles, but explained how I have a 3 year old Paint who is underweight and I'm waiting for her to fill out before I fit a saddle to her, plus she will continue to fill out the next couple years, so I didn't want to buy a saddle yet. She said I could get the pad and that would help the saddle fit. I've always heard that you should never try to fit a saddle by buying a pad, so I was extremely disbelieving of her. My filly is getting pretty ready to have someone start riding her, but I don't have a saddle--what do you recommend in my situation and general thoughts of the impact gel pad?
I dislike gel pads, and memory foam pads - because what happens is, when you put pressure down onto the pad, what happens to the material? It escapes from the pressure given, so offers no protection from pressure points that the saddle may cause.
Now to the 2nd point in your post, yes and no - yes, your saddle should fit perfectly without a pad what-so-ever BUT there are horses who have oddly shaped backs where no matter how many saddles you put on their backs, you wont beable to find one that will fit perfectly.
Take my fellow for instance, like many TB's - high withers, muscle atrophy, A symetrical and etc, etc, etc - where no saddle will fit perfectly. Back to my fellow.....if you were to look at him, you'd say "narrow" for a tree width - BUT I can't go narrow, because he has broad shoulders and a broad back, while being A Symetrical. He has muscle atrophy behind his shoulders and a weak loin - so no matter what, you wont find a saddle that'll fit him.
I can go narrow, but now I am hindering his shoulders, I can go wide, but now I am hindering his withers. He also has gaps and pockets along his back - soooooo, yes, getting a pad to help fill in the gaps and the pockets, will help to make the saddle that fits him "best" without a pad, fit better.
I have a nice saddle now, that fits him quite nicely, aside from the fact that it is too wide for his withers, and the pockets behind his shoulders due to muscle atrophy over time from poor saddle fit - and being A symetrical - I have to go with a pad, to make that saddle I have, fit him "perfectly" or as perfect as I can get.
I had a saddler come out recently, who spent quite some time, measuring his back, examining the saddle on his back, measuring the gaps and the spaces, made tracings - and is making me a custom pad, to make the saddle that I have, fit him better.
Not a fan of gel pads. They can't breathe and they squish down to nothing where the pressure is, right where you need it.
Impact Gels are not just gel. They also have very nice quality wool felt over and under the gel. I have several used ones that I bought from a friend and I really like them. The only downside is that they are heavier than plain felt. But even if the gel were not inside them, they would still be an awesome pad because of the quality of the felt used.
So I am a bit of a fan of them.
I like them MUCH better than memory foam or the Professional's Choice pads.
The Impact Gels are like a gel pad and a high quality felt pad rolled into one. :-)
Now are they going to cure a poorly fitting saddle? No. I don't think any pad will. But, if you have a somewhat well fitting saddle, they will certainly do a better than average job protecting your horse's back.
I am a fan of wool felt pads in general.
I think they are good quality western pads. Last forever and the wool felt is very high quality. the gel is not that thick and is pretty firm.
Im a huge fan of them. I will only use impact gel pads and 5 star pads with my horses. A++++
I used them, but I am not a huge fan. They are ok, but like any pad it won't last forever. Use will wear them down and I don't care how many times the guy hits it with a hammer that doesn't prove to me it is the last and best pad you will every buy. (The guy at our horse fair does this every year.) You need to find a pad that fits between your saddle and your horse the best.
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