While I have been through a lot of schooling saddle pad options with some good results, for the longest time I had a really hard time finding a decent hunter fitted show pad.
First I had a Thinline Sheepskin fitted pad, but it was incredibly hard to clean and stayed an off-white yellow color. Sheepskin is expensive, hard to clean… and super expensive! After seeing so many hunter horses at WEF with fleece fitted pads, I said bye bye to sheepskin and opted for something easier.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I went for a simple Toklat Medallion fleece pad. With no bells and whistles, you can get a new one for between $40-$60. They’re easy to clean, bleachable and look nice enough in the show ring. Mine gave me problems from the start though. It slipped a ton and offered no support for my horse’s sensitive back.
So I did a little saddle pad research, and listened to several of the jumper riders at my barn really enjoying their EcoGold half pads. Curious, I went investigating on the website and found this.
It’s a Forward Flap Hunter pad, a mix of memory foam, no-slip material, and fleece. Here’s what EcoGold has to say about it:
This hunter saddle pad keeps the saddle securely in place with its 100% breathable non-slip materials. The flap area is not padded, providing a closer contact and more stable riding position.
The horse’s back is protected with breathable high-density open-cell foam, which absorbs shock and moves impact laterally.
ECOGOLD’s unique and innovative Frictionless™ system prevents rubbing on the withers. This saddle pad is the choice of Olympic Gold medallist McLain Ward and top hunter riders Scott Stewart, John French, Louise Serio, Hope Glynn and and many more!
Maybe partially because I am a bit of a Louise Serio fangirl or maybe because the thought of getting shock absorption for Simon plus a saddle pad that was easy to clean was pretty appealing… either way I stuck this saddle pad on my Christmas/Birthday list and hoped Santa would be good to me.
Santa was, and now I’ve been able to use my pretty new pad at three horse shows. The verdict? I love it!
It is super easy to clean, and came out from a wash on cold water with normal detergent looking pretty spiffy. I have peace of mind knowing that Simon’s back has a little bit more support than a regular fleece pad, and it doesn’t move at all. This might not be impressive to y’all, but I get a death grip leg over bigger fences and my square pad likes to bunch and slip behind my leg. This pad has no problems.
They have a non-forward flap version as well, but the forward model fits my saddle like it was made for it. Score!
At $165 it’s not a cheap purchase, but if you’re looking for a hunter show pad that will look good, hold up, and help your horse – I highly suggest this EcoGold pad!