Our reviewer liked the innovative design of this saddle cloth despite its hefty price tag
The unusual cut of this saddle cloth is the first thing to catch your eye. It has an unusually generous curve to the central seam, which is designed to ensure it sits right up into the gullet of the saddle, thereby removing the pressure from all areas where a saddle cloth might touch the horse’s spine.
What a great idea I thought. My horse has been rubbed by saddle cloths behind the saddle when he is changing his coat in the past, so I was keen to see if this might alleviate the problem this spring. He also has a fairly pronounced wither, so I need a pad that’s high cut in front too.
This pad is very forward cut and has long straps back to the girth, which is a combination that I’ve found difficult to find, so that was another bonus. The lining material was incredibly soft to the touch – it reminded me of very smooth suede – with a fairly small square quilt.
Sadly when I put the pad on my jump saddle with the thick sheepskin halfpad I use, it was clear that the thickness of the half pad was not going to allow the saddle cloth to sit up into the gullet and work in the manner it was designed (see picture below) so it was time to think again. Luckily my yard owner had a couple of horses whose saddles it fitted, so she has been testing it instead.
Both of her horses showed no signs of discomfort or rubbing while wearing the saddle cloth, which has worn and washed well during the test period. As the rider was regularly swapping it between saddles, she found the Velcro fastening on the lower girth strap really useful. The Velcro fastenings were firm, giving you confidence they weren’t going to accidentally give way during use.
The area where the girth crosses the bottom of the saddle cloth is typically one of the first places to show wear, but the neoprene panel has worked effectively to protect this vulnerable area. After three months use, it is still looking in excellent condition.
The only negative feedback that the rider gave was that the generous forward cut of the pad meant there was a considerable amount of material in the area where she naturally carried her hands, which she found a little off putting.
However, if you’re looking for a pad that is smart, hard-wearing and comfortable for your horse, then the HRP Equestrian range could have exactly what you’re after. And if you baulk at the price, take a moment to think how much you invest in your saddle and its fitting. A poorly fitting saddle cloth could make that investment worthless. What price do you put on your horse’s comfort? Only you can decide that…
Not cheap, but an excellent quality saddlecloth with a design that is truly innovative