Alright so Im not super keen on using pads to correct for failures in the saddle, but since Nick's saddle is fitted to him, and I've had multiple people tell me he has a sensitive back- I went looking for an appropriate half pad that would not compromise the saddle fit and would also provide some shock absorption. The first one I looked at was thin line- but ultimately better technology has come out and I've ridden with thinline pads before (other horses) and didn't notice much difference.
Pretty much everything on the market right now is some variation on gel (yay non-neutonian solids) and foam if it's not your typical sheepskin (which I have used on Nick and have not noticed a difference, also it's thicker, so can compromise saddle fit)
The winderen pad was voted the best half pad of 2017 and after going through their website and agonizing over it while trying to convince myself its not worth buying tack while my horse is out of it with a head cold- I found a discount and just went for it.
It's comes from Sweden, so essentially took an eternity to get here but it did.
I bought the jumping saddle version- since I wanted to use it with both my saddles, and that was recommended if you were only going to get one, because of the cut of the front of the pad. I also got the 17" because my saddles are a 16" and a 16.5" and the 16" version I worried to be too short. In hindsight I wish I had made the opposite of these decisions, but when you buy something expensive from Sweden and you don't want to ship it back- it helps if you don't hold your mistakes too close to your heart. The end result is it's a little long, and the front of the panels don't follow the line of my saddle- but these are both aesthetic issues and don't effect use.
When I first got Nick his back bounced up and down when he trotted he was so fat and weak in his topline. Over the last few years he's gotten stronger, and is relatively uncomplicated to get through and to get over his back, however he has always been really adverse to heavier riders, and if you sit wrong by a smidge or don't get quite "with" him well enough in trot and canter his back drops like the ball on New year's eve. While he was always good I wondered if getting him a thin half pad that would disperse some of the forces on his back would help him feel more comfortable exerting himself under saddle kinda like how a good pair of shoes can make all the difference for a runner being able to maintain a pace over several miles without their arches aching.
I have had 2 rides in it- and honestly it's amazing. He was far more willing to put bounce in his canter, and suspension in his trot than previously. Nick is a little cold backed and I noticed a much faster warm-up than usual using the half pad, which would indicate that it conforms to the back quickly and that probably- (like every gel product on the market) it holds heat. One thing I noticed off the bat- is that it seemed to also reduce the forces on me (less bounce) which is something they claim to do and it's recommended for riders with back pain for that reason. For me it was a pleasant bonus- and maybe will save me some aches and pains when I'm 50, as I hope it also helps maintain Nick's spine health as well.
All in all its a super cool pad and if a rider has a horse that is a little wiggy about their back and is indicating that it might want further comfort- I'd totally recomend this pad.
- improved thoroughness and maintaining throughness
- reduced bounce for the rider as well.
- seems to help with coldbacked-ness
- increased expression in gaits with occasional happy bucks.
-you can swap out the colors to wash/use different colors.
-will probably hold heat in hot weather.
-its not cheap.
-customer service is great but there's not much that can be done about the fact that returns would cost a lot in postage.
- it doesn't magically train my horse for me.
Their website: https://www.winderen.com/en/page/59/...tect-solu.html https://www.evetdrug.co.uk/horse-car...--18mm-comfort