The VIP is absolutely everywhere at the moment; and quite rightly so! I purchased one myself when Crispy arrived from Ireland at the start of the year and was so impressed with it, I knew we had to stock them at Equissentials Dressage.
We get loads of questions every day about these wonderful 'gel' (nope, they're not gel) pads and what makes them so special, so I thought I'd put (virtual) pen to paper and answer some of the questions for you.
The VIP is made from an incredible raw material, that is totally different from any gel products you can currently buy. VIP Equestrian discovered it 20 years ago in a wheel chair pad, and even rode with wheelchair pads under their saddles for 2 years. The horses were so soft and happy in their backs; that after a break from horses an returning to find nothing comparable they created the VIP.
The manufacturers are worldwide market leaders in medical pressure relieving technology and the raw material the VIP is made from was designed by a surgeon to treat and prevent pressure sores in his patients. Medical markets require products are rigorously scientifically researched, proven and tested - far more so than products aimed at the animal markets - so you can feel rest assured the material is of the highest standard.
🌟 WILL IT CHANGE HOW MY SADDLE FITS?
No! The VIP is designed to not alter the fit of a correctly fitting saddle. It is is only 8mm thick so very low profile and discrete. Unlike wool half pads that add bulk and sit you up off your horse the VIP is designed to give a close contact feel.
There are no fur trims as they cause pressure points where the saddle never fully sits within the trim. The VIP has thin bonded film edges, and only a film gullet joining the two form fitting panels meaning the design is seamless eliminating pressure both across the panels and in the sensitive spine area of the back. This design also means the pad can be used under or on top of the saddlecloth.
🌟 WILL IT FIT MY SADDLE? WHICH WAY UP DOES IT GO
The V.I.P is 1 size/shape. It is used by Olympic dressage, SJ and Event riders, by endurance, polo and horse ball riders, in showing and side saddle disciplines and also by para riders and the RDA. It works well with all horse sized saddles.
I rise in a 17 inch saddle and the pad fits well; the sizing will accommodate up to 18 inch saddles and we have a sponsored rider who uses one under a 15 inch showing saddle; the smaller saddles do have more of the VIP showing but this doesn't alter the fit or use of them in anyway.
The V.I.P can be used with flock, air and foam panelled saddles, but the saddle must be correctly fitting to start with. The VIP can be used directly on the horses back or between the saddle and saddle cloth - the only stipulation is that the bobble side goes down towards the horse.
🌟 THERE ARE OTHER GEL PADS ON THE MARKET - IS THE V.I.P DIFFERENT?
By buying a VIP you are investing in the best raw materials currently available to use in an impact protection pad, to compliment the fit and investment you made in your saddle, and not alter it. A comfy horse is a happy horse and so a happy safer rider
The VIP is not sticky or stretchy and always retains its shape. It does not pluck hair. It also has a very high tensile strength so will not bottom out or spread under pressure.. Other gels pads spread under weight and pressure and bottom out, so their effectiveness is minimised. This means The VIP retains its exceptional pressure and impact-relieving qualities regardless of any duress the pad is placed under. This is ideal for reducing the pressure under saddle tree points.
The “bobble” design means more raw materials can be used to optimise the impact absorption while keeping the weight and thicknessof the pad down. When placed on the horse’s back, pads with holes fill with sweat and hair causing friction whereas the VIP's soft but pliable structure guarantees an even distribution of weight. The material also redistributes heat.
Another advantage of the thin film coating is that the pad is very easy to clean and maintain. It can just be run under a tap to clean. It is hypoallergenic, and does not attract bacteria.
Priced at £130 and available in blue, black or nude/gold these are the ultimate investment in your horses comfort and well being.