August 1, 2011

We're On The Bandwagon

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a trend hater.  If it's mainstream & popular & all the cool kids want it, I automatically don't trust it, don't like it, & don't want it; I'm going to approach said thing with very critical thinking & questions galore, because usually, said trendy thing ends up being ridiculous (giant sunglasses that make you look like a moronic alien, anyone?).  And I'm not going to call something great unless it meets some pretty high standards.  Call me contradictory, I'm ok with that.

So when I started hearing about Ecogold saddle pads, I kind of rolled my eyes & thought, here we go, another trendy saddle pad, the next magical Mattes pad that everyone just must have.

But then something unexpected happened. I attended our Area II Annual Meeting back in January & John Da Silva (who was a textile engineer long before Ecogold began) presented the Ecogold product line to us.  OMG, there was science.  Someone actually tested the product, used common sense & data & THERE WAS SCIENCE!  Yeah, yeah, I'm a science nerd.

I was intrigued & impressed & I started watching a little more closely. But the things weren't cheap & I wasn't quite ready to be convinced yet.

Summer came along & I was riding as I usually do -- with ThinLine pad plus baby pad plus (when jumping) sheepskin pad. Ugh. And the Thinline does. not. breathe. I needed to combine real shock absorption with breathability, as the more I learn about equine tissue, the more I realize the importance of keeping things cool when working. My mind wandered back to that wintery presentation.

I sent an email to Mr. Da Silva with an embarrassingly long list of questions.  Which he answered almost immediately & by 'answered', I mean 'covered ALL the bases'.  So I took the plunge & ordered a Secure Jumper pad.  I talked to the ever-helpful Patricia & she even checked on some material colours for me.

Oh, yeah. Crappy cell phone pic.

When I pulled it out of the box, the first thing that struck me was how lovely & well-made it looked.   I put it on Solo & it was definitely shaped with withers in mind!  The girth loops fell EXACTLY below my billets (almost never happens!) & the grippiness to horse & saddle felt great.  I ordered the XL as per the website since my saddles are 17.5 & 18" & it's a little bit big for both my saddles; in fact, it looks kinda silly with my dressage saddle (I can only buy one, sheesh, so I decided the jumping saddle was the priority to pad with grip & bounce) but fortunately, I have no qualms about looking goofy.

I have three rides on it now, one with the dressage saddle & two with the jump saddle.  I LOVE IT.  And I think Solo approved as well.  In the dressage saddle, we had some of our best long, stretchy trot ever & he was sooo consistent in the bridle, which he'll only do if his back is super happy.  In both saddles, the sweat marks were about the best I've ever seen on this horse & El Finicky Topline. 

I could tell air had been traveling through the material -- I didn't have to peel it off like a piece of tape (re ThinLine).  The grip kept the pad in place without billet straps too.  We still had a tiny bit of saddle shifting to the side, but given my current extreme lopsidedness (and Solo's), that is hardly surprising; there is only so much a pad can do!  I feel confident that once I get my left leg rehabbed to some semblance of normalcy, that will no longer be an issue.

So far, so great -- I've yet to really put it to the test of XC or a hard-core trail, but thus far, I can say that it's a great-looking, great-riding pad made by great people with a lot of potential once we get back into real work!

Does this mean people are going to think I'm trendy now?


  1. ooh i haven't seen those before, man new zealand is behind the times. it sounds great =)
    i'm such a groupie.. if everyone is buying something i'm convinced it must have something special or they wouldn't all be buying it, riiight?

  2. Hmmm, if the price is right and the need is right (my usual criteria, I'm a cheap-bum college student) then I might look into getting one of those! Especially with your comments on how well Solo was doing dressage in it!

  3. Now you're killing me... I feel the same way about those bug eyed sunglasses.

    I don't think of the Ecogold saddle pads the same way, mostly because I have saddle pad issues and am a sucker for good marketing. I was "sold" on the concept when I watched the testing video and have craved to have one myself.

    I just haven't taken the plunge... now this... sigh... ;)

  4. I bought one of the half pads during the True Prospect Farm relief drive. Was also pleasantly surprised. Had been using a ThinLine with a couple of front shims and this was perfect (no shims needed) and had MUCH more even sweat. My horse seems to love it for the first half dozen rides. Can't wait for his stifle to heal and get back in the saddle!

  5. Nice! I bought a secure jumper pad in black during the fundraiser for Boyd (I had been eyeing them for a gave me a perfect excuse to buy one!) and I really like it too. I accidentally ordered the smaller size (my saddle is an 18"), but I like how it fits as they are sized pretty generously.
    I am admittedly a trend junkie though....Mattes, Charles Owen (on sale).... ;)

  6. Aaaahhh, I have been coveting one of those for a while! And you got in my color, too -- jealousy!I do have a set of front Ecogold XC boots and really like them, so at least I can console myself with that.

    And, hello, wasn't the M&M test scientific enough for you?! (I was SO pissed when I didn't win that contest, bu the way :-/)

  7. My trainer really loves these pads as well. Out of curiosity I started looking on-line at them but so far I'm only seeing everything in white? Where were you able to get yours in color?

  8. I was drooling over those pads for a long time, but the price was just a little too rich for me. But then I bought one of the Secure XC pads during the Boyd fundraiser. I have the smaller size and it's a tad big on my 17" but I love the pad. I've only ridden in it once so far (I'm saving it for shows and clinics) Pretty fitting that the first ride was at a Boyd Martin cross country clinic.

    I was a believer after one ride. I was on a 22 year old TB who I've always ridden with a pad and gel pad to give him some more comfort over the back, especially when jumping as I know I sometimes flop back into the saddle. But he also tends to get rolly-polly so keeping the saddle in place is sometimes difficult. My saddle never moved, and Bugsy wasn't the least bit sore over his back afterwards. It has great airflow. Bugs is super fit so he doesn't usually sweat much, except under the saddle. but with the Ecogold pad he was hardly even damp. Now I just need to save up my money for another one...

    And I'm with you on the sunglasses. I hate the bug eyed look!

  9. ROFL, Suzanne, great minds think alike!

    LOL, J_C, I'll try not to hold your trendiness against you. I probably should have ordered the smaller size, but it's probably too late now since they made it for me.

    Frizz, I did dig the M&M test, although, hmmm, where was that replication? ;-P

    Amanda, I just talked to Ecogold about the colours -- they had other pads that came in navy blue, so I just asked if they could make this one blue too.

    Jennifer, I thought they were too expensive too, but if it keeps performing like it is, then I will instead be thinking it's totally worth it.

  10. I was probably more pissed that Frizz that I didn't win the M&M contest. I tried so hard!! I really like the ecogold pads (and research!!), but Izzy tends to slide EVERYTHING back thanks to her big, loose shoulders. Sooo.... if I could demo one, I'd be enthralled.

    PS If yours is too big and they won't take a custom back, you can always sell it to me. Love the color!

  11. Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this great review. It made my day. :) And I didn't know we were trendy!!! When did that happen? lol...

    Thanks again.


  12. PS This is what, your 2nd or 3rd feature on EN? Who did you sleep with? Or am I supposed to believe you're just that witty, cutting edge, and charming?

  13. For those that want to demo one, if you're in central-ish NC, I'm more than willing to loan my half pad out while the gimpy stifle is healing. It's just collecting dust while I'm waiting less-than-patiently. :) Email me at

    Oh, and about the colors--check Ecogold's website. My colors are navy and light blue so I ordered the half pad in navy. It's probably closer to a royal, but with a white baby pad underneath, it will do just fine.

  14. SB, hold that thought, I might consider that! Oh, and are you trying to imply that I am NOT constantly witty and charming? Of course, they cannot resist the awesomeness of Solo!

    Patricia, welcome to trendiness! ;-) I do love my pad very much and Solo says thank you. I will hopping over to email to ask you a question about sizes!

  15. Oh dear, your review of them is certainly tempting me to try one... my guy is like the princess and the pea - if his saddle isn't JUST RIGHT, he lets me know. Both my saddles fit super-close though, and I use really thin pads so as not to change the saddle fit - are the EcoGold pads pretty thin?

  16. Jenj -- yes, the pads are thin. I observed no change in saddle fit at all. Even the foam part does not take up much room. Did I mention they are awesome (dang, Ecogold should give me a commission, ROFL!)?

  17. Hmm, sounds good!

    PS I consider ThinLine trendy. And Woofwear. Good products, but trendy, which does not lessen their value to me. :)!

  18. I'm pretty sure these are the half-pads that the good folks at the MMSC/Maker's Mark Secretariat Center are using, and raving about. I'd have to check but the name is ringing a bell. Other than their remarks I hadn't heard of them... but your review sure makes them sound good. Hope Solo keeps improving!

  19. Alana, the ThinLine was free, so that absolves me of guilt, LOL!

    RW, Ecogold does have their totally cush half pads as well. I haven't tried those yet, but it's only for lack of money. They look very nice.

  20. I believe that your apprehension toward and downright condemnation of trends classifies you as a "hipster". And BTW, the EcoGold pads are certainly NOT a waste of money. My beloved trainer uses them on multiple horses that are ridden five days a week in pretty hard work and they have lasted a very long time.

  21. Agggh, noooo, not hipster! I think I would have to buy black glasses and plaid to be that? I think I'm just a hater, ROFL!

  22. Hey RiderWriter, the Secretariat Center uses Ogilvy pads. I've ridden in one once, and it seemed nice, but for the price I'd just as soon try EcoGold!

  23. I know this post is old, but I am wondering if you still have this pad, and if you still love it? I just ordered one as I am having some saddle slipping issues.

    1. Hi Dragon -- I DO love it and it's worn very well. I wash both in the washing machine on occasion (I also have the half-pad), but mostly I just hose off the square pad and it hang-dries in about 15 minutes! They are really phenomenal and I can't believe I've had them for three years!!!