Testing 1, 2, 3: Success Equestrian Deluxe Hunter Non-Slip Pad
|Current Hunt Pad = Not Acceptable|
Quite a while ago I had sold or given away all of my shaped fleece saddle pads. I wasn't seriously pursuing the hunters or equitation anymore, and the few times I did step back into those rings a half pad by itself worked just fine to give us the right 'look' in the ring.
Then Sully's mom got me hooked on hunting, and I needed a shaped pad again.
She graciously lent me an extra one that she had laying around, and while the overall shape and size pretty much worked for my saddle, that thing slipped all over the place. During the hunter trials and the one hunt I used it on, I had to get off halfway through the morning and re-adjust it since it had slipped so badly! To be fair to the poor pad, because of Dino's conformation any pad that doesn't have a stiffer feel and high-wither shape will tend to slip back some.
Which means 99% of shaped fleece pads.
So, I started looking into my options for a hunt pad that would stay put for 3+ hours of riding and jumping over terrain. Ecogold makes a very popular non-slip pad, and Fleeceworks has recently come out with a "foxhunter" version of their sheepskin hunter pad that has a reinforced front edge to prevent slipping, which I thought was pretty interesting. But both of those pads would run me about $200+, and I just don't have that kind of money to spend on one saddle pad.
Enter the Success Equestrian Deluxe Hunter Non-Slip Pad. I purchased it on sale for $90, which was a MUCH more comfortable price point for me, and eagerly awaited its arrival.
My first impressions of this pad were very good. I liked the shape of it, and it seemed that it would accommodate my more forward-flap saddle quite well. It's filled with a thick, hefty foam that holds its shape, and seemed that it would stay well off the withers. The non-slip material was thoughtfully placed on both sides of the pad, with a soft, satiny fabric over the withers to prevent rubbing. It is a quality piece of equipment that's obviously been designed with a lot of thought and consideration of its use and performance.
It also fit my saddle very well! I was super pleased with the shape of this saddle pad. My saddle, a Prestige Eventer, is a bit more forward- and short-flapped than the average H/J saddle that these types of pads are made for, but the Success Equestrian pad really followed the shape of it quite well. I was able to use the girth loops, and it tucked up nicely into the pommel.
This thing is also STICKY.
The foam filling is quite thick, and I noticed that my girth took a bit more effort do do up than with our usual square correction pad or sheepskin half pad setup. I left it one hole looser than normal, and hopped on. Usually, there is some minor side-to-side movement when I step into the stirrup to mount up, but with the non-slip pad my saddle felt rock solid.
So far, so good.
The foam in the pad had, obviously, compacted a bit with the weight of my butt in the saddle, and I probably should have tightened the girth all the way once I was in the tack. But considering the work I did on terrain with a loose girth, this is a seriously minimal amount of slippage.
I had the opportunity to REALLY test the pad out on a 1.5 hour trail ride this week. I decided to try it without using the girth loops on the bottom. I had a hunch that adjusting the pad low enough to use the loops was causing it to drop down and shift back, and that hiking it further up into the gullet and skipping the girth loops might just do the trick.
After that kind of performance, I am 100% sold on the Success Equestrian Deluxe Hunter Non-Slip Pad! It is going to be my new go-to foxhunting pad, and is ideal for the rare occasions that I decide to step back in the hunter ring. Dino and I give this pad full PONY'TUDE Approval!