Let’s just say that I have not owned a suitable saddle pad for the hunter ring since, like, 1999. The 2017 options are staggering and widely range in price and quality. But I had to start somewhere …
I looked at the Ogilvy show hunter pads with memory foam, but for ~$280 they were a bit more than I wanted to spend on experimenting in the hunter ring. So I started looking at other options.
I knew I wanted some kind of sheepskin or wool for the properties–it’s kind of like nature’s memory foam and sheepskin is anti-bacterial because of the lanolin. I started looking at Fleeceworks products and found a good price at Riding Warehouse for the Therawool™ Show Hunter.
In our first try in the hunter ring, I used the saddle pad with no inserts or shims and I was very satisfied with its performance. Eli seemed quite comfortable and didn’t develop any back soreness. But, I did notice the saddle sat a bit low in front, more than I am really comfortable with, so I got the Ecofelt inserts .
Once I had the inserts, they looked a bit big and I thought I might have to cut them down a bit. I decided to try shoving them into the shim pockets before trimming to estimate how much I’d have to alter them, and as it turns out, they fit in very snugly and perfectly–no room for shifting around but not too big, either.
For our next attempt at hunters, I used the saddle pad with shims in place, and I was even more pleased with the performance of the pad than before, and Eli had no objections. I felt like with the Ecofelt, the saddle was more balanced on Eli, with pressure more evenly distributed along the panels.
One of the nice features about the Therawool™ is that it is machine washable. After the first show, I did wash it in the machine and hung it up to dry, and brushed out the Therawool™ with the wire brush that came with the saddle pad. It definitely shed a bit that first wash, but that’s what lint rollers are for. After the second show, the saddle pad was hardly even dirty, so instead of washing it I just hung it up to air out a bit and after it had dried completely I brushed the Therawool™ again with the wire brush, and the loft recovers quite well.
This is an extremely nice, well-made saddle pad and for less that $150 I think it’s a great deal.