H&H Asks: poll pads

SPENCER Wilton and his dressage horse Dolendo have had an amazing year — their debut at grand prix was a winning one, they took the grand prix kür title at the national dressage championships, and they’ve just headed two sections at an international in Saumur. Recently, Dolendo has been spotted with unusual padding on the headpiece of his bridle. We quizzed Spencer to find out more.

What is it?

“IT’S a neoprene pad that I found in a drawer — it looked like it would do the job,” says Spencer, who wanted a way of padding the rolled leather headpiece of his double bridle, because Dolendo can be sensitive when having his bridle put on or taken off.

“Dolendo can be funny about his poll, so I wanted there to be no extra pressure there.

“He has never reacted badly to poll pressure while being ridden, but it can sometimes be difficult to get his bridle over his ears, especially his left one,” Spencer explains.

What about padded bridles?

SPENCER is happy with his current, luxury Passier double bridle, and isn’t a fan of bridles that come with padded headpieces.

“They mean the bridle has to sit exactly in the centre, and you can’t adjust it in the same way.

“Horse’s heads aren’t totally symmetrical and sometimes you need to let a cheekpiece down a hole on one side, but not both,” he says.

“But I would like to find a less obtrusive pad,” Spencer adds.

Looking for a poll pad?

INCH’S Saddlery sell a gel pad, suitable for using on the noseband or headpiece, for £12.50.

Contact (tel: 01635 297090) www.inchs.com

This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (12 October, ’06)

Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk