George Morris said: “Think of riding as a science, but love it as an art.”
If Nacho has taught me anything, it’s that riding her is a long series of experiments. Discovering what she likes is a great achievement and we are able to make huge progress. So, I’m always trying new things with her in order to figure her out. I’ve learned that she likes wide girths and wiggly bits. She hates a flash noseband, loves a figure-eight. It’s one big, long term science experiment.
When it comes to saddle pads, I’ve done a ton of experimenting. Before the EquineLUX saddle pad, I’d had the best luck with a Back on Track pad, even though it was too big for my small horse. I’ve tried half-pads, wither pads, and gel pads, among other things in order to calm my cold-backed horse. No matter how well a saddle fit Nacho, she is cold-backed. That said, I am open to trying something that is better looking than the Back on Track, and still eases the symptoms of cold back syndrome. The EquineLUX pad was successful in many ways, and I thoroughly enjoyed trying it out.
First and foremost, I was totally impressed with the customer service that the CEO, Maxim, provided. He was truly interested in suggesting the right type of saddle pad for my horse. He not only helped me to pick out a pad that might be suitable for my needs, but suggested that the company could custom-make that pad to fit the very forward cut of my jumping saddle! Ultimately, my custom saddle pad was designed like the one on the top of this page - the XTR Shock-Absorbing saddle pad, but mine would have a slightly different shape to accommodate the shape of my saddle. About a week after our conversation, the custom-designed saddle pad arrived.
What I first noticed about the EquineLUX XTR Shock-Absorbing Pad was its quality. It has a no-slip area on the top so it will not move from underneath the saddle. The girth loop is reinforced with leather. The fabric had a nice feel and the whole thing was well put-together. Although the visible parts of the pad are white, the underside is lined with gray fabric. Hey, that hides dirt! One feature that I especially like on the pad that I tried is the velcro pockets with removable shims. That makes the pad 1) easier to wash and 2) easier to fit on many horses with different saddles. The shims are made of shock-absorbing foam, which is especially appealing, considering my horse.
As you can see in the above photo, the cut of this saddle pad fits the flap of my saddle perfectly! I really like the shape of the pad – I have been seeing this cut more often lately and I think it looks classy. In the photo, the no-slip area can be seen under the cantle of my saddle, and below that, the velcro for the shim pockets is visible. The ONLY THING that I would change is that the girth loop does not line up perfectly with my girth. I believe that this is due to two things, neither of which is the fault of the manufacturer (because this is a problem I have had frequently with this horse and this saddle). First of all, my horse has an extremely huge shoulder and very set-back withers. This alters where the girth falls. In order for the girth to be in the correct place, it seems like my saddle ends up half-way up Nacho’s neck! When the saddle itself is sitting in the correct place, the girth is practically around the mare’s belly! For this reason, the girth rarely lines up with the girth loop, and on most of my saddle pads, I have cut away the girth loop. I should have told Maxim that when I spoke to him, but I didn’t think of it. I’m sure he would have been able to adjust the positioning for me. So, as you can see in the above photo, only one strap of the girth’s elastic goes through the loop. Since the saddle pad is non-slip, this is not a concern to me. It never moved during testing. I think it is mostly due to a custom pad/unusual saddle shape vs. horse conformation thing. Not a big deal.
One of Nacho’s signature moves is to immediately leap forward a few strides when I first get on, especially when I haven’t ridden for a week or so. On the day that I tried the EquineLUX pad for the first time, I hadn’t ridden in a few days due to an exam. I totally expected her to scoot forward and act like a cold-backed fool. She didn’t. Over the next 35 minutes or so, we proceeded to have an excellent ride. She was hot, yes, but that’s just her general nature. She was, however, much more willing than usual to use her back and push from behind. That’s Nacho’s way of saying that she’s satisfied with something that I’ve changed. And you know, every time I’ve used the XTR Shock-Absorbing Pad since that first day, Nacho has resisted her urge to scoot away from the mounting block. The saddle pad has never slipped, and I’ve now used it 10 or 12 times. It looks classy and it’s easy to wash. It breathes and the design also allows a release of heat, which keeps the horse more comfortable.
This is truly an excellent product. Not only is it made of quality materials, but it functions exceptionally well while looking stylish and modern. And behind all that, the products are backed up with unparalleled customer service. Maxim noticed the girth loop issue on his own from a photo and asked me about it, then offered to make me another pad that corrects this problem with my personal saddle and horse! How awesome is that? I’d recommend the EquineLUX Saddle Pads without hesitation. You won’t be disappointed.