ProLite Performance Pads are awesome! We use them everyday and they offer us solutions to meet both long and short term needs. They are one of the most important investments we have made in our horses comfort; and comfort equals better performance and happier horses.
Temporarily improving saddle fit.
No pad can compensate for a saddle that fits your horse perfectly. I would not advocate the long term use of pads which alter the saddle fit. In the short term though I use the Multi Riser Pad because I can totally customise the effect it has on the saddle balance. This is great with horses that are changing shape rapidly, for horses at the very start of training and those who lost muscle tone due to time off. There are times when it is not practical to have a saddle reflocked, mainly because the situation is very temporary. We have the Multi Riser pad, which has additional ProLite inserts for the front and back, and I am keen to try the Tri Pad, which has a third central pad for even greater adjustability! Of course, without the additional shims, the Multi Riser Pad is useful to pop under a well fitting saddle for even greater weight distribution without impacting the saddle balance at all. If you were to buy only one ProLite pad, I would recommend this because it is multi purpose. Be sure to store the inserts carefully when not in use, or you will end up hunting for them at the bottom of a tack locker when you do need them! Having learnt from my mistake, I now keep mine neatly together in a clear sandwich box!
Optimising every day performance in dressage training and equine rehabilitation.
The main use we make of the ProLite pads is to give extra protection to the horses’ backs in day to day training. For this we use the ProLite GP and Dressage Relief Pads. The specific quality I love about them is the ability to distribute pressure evenly over as wide an area as possible. Several things can contribute to this – a relaxed rider with a good seat, a saddle with broad panels and, for me, the ProLite pad offers a lovely additional safeguard. I do a fair amount of remedial training and equine rehabilitation so providing comfort and protection to the weak or vulnerable back is especially important.
ProLite pads are an ideal product for the young horse, the older horse or any horse with a sensitive back. That said, I use them on the fittest, strongest horses too!
One thing I am a stickler for is that all saddle cloths and pads are pulled up fully into the gullet of the saddle. It is vital that they exert no pressure upon the spine. The ProLite pads are shaped beautifully, even for the high withered horse. They sit up into the gullet, clear of the spine all the way along, and most importantly they stay there whilst you are working. I have never known them to move, even through the most energetic training session, through galloping, jumping and impromptu rodeo riding! The pad is always exactly where you put it at the start.
ProLite pads are very lightweight and that is another feature I love. I always liked gel pads and used those in the past but the weight of them was a disadvantage, as was the difficulty of keeping them from slipping down over the wither. With the ProLite products that is never an issue. I also used to feel that the gel pads somehow reduced the two way communication between my seat and the back of the horse; with ProLite pads I feel the communication is just as clear as if the pad was not there at all. This is so important for the dressage rider who needs to ‘read’ the back of the horse and influence the movement through their seat.
The pads also wash easily and wear extremely well. We launder all of the saddle pads and bandages every two or three times they are used and in the case of the ProLite pads we wash them weekly. In one extraordinary case I found a ProLite pad which had fallen down a gap between two buildings and spent an entire winter there. When it was discovered, soaking wet and disgusting, I decided to try washing it. Not only was the structure of the pad intact, it washed up bright and clean as new. It is back in everyday use and you would never guess what it had been through!
The ProLite Performance website explains that the product offers 3 in 1 protection from impact, pressure points, and movement. Specifically they absorb lateral movement without moving against the skin of the horse. This means that the hair is unruffled and the coat is not rubbed. The importance of this for dressage horses goes without saying. Click through to the ProLite Performance website and have a look at the full range of products for horse and rider!