most shock absorbing half pads - gel, memory foam, wool , other ?

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Does anyone know of any research done that measures which is the most shock absorbing ? theres so many on the market

As im a novice/bouncy/unbalanced rider and looking to give my horse a bit of comfort....

Am having lessons, and know about combining with saddle fit but wanting a bit cushion.

thanks in advance
 
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My mare always wears her Acavello gel pad under her saddle. It is lined with fluff so sits well and doesn't move at all! Since using it, the back lady has said she's so much more comfortable, which makes the £100 soo worth it :) They also look super smart too!!!
 
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I've only posted something similar this morning! I tried a ThinLine saddle pad last night - very good! However, the company is based in the US so with the import tax etc. the cost comes to around £140 which is steep.

Will be following with interest!
 

Pinkvboots

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A good bit of sheep is what I like under a saddle, but not all saddles are fitted to accommodate this, as they are much thicker than a normal cotton numnah so it might be worth getting your fitter out and saying what you want under your saddle.

Good tips for looking after sheepskin is give it a good brush after using so the fibres don't flatten and get full of sweat, only wash at 30 degrees never with fabric conditioner but not to often, and dry naturally giving it a little brush as it dries, keeps them in good condition and I have some of my numnahs years.
 

sbloom

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So much BS out there about pads, excuse my language. Sheepskin, proper medical grade sheepskin (I stock and recommend only Mattes) actually outperforms Acavallo on a basic bowling ball drop test I did recently (see Truth Tack Review on Youtube to see this type of test, shame she hasn't tested all these UK "industry standard" pads). I now carry a bowling ball in my van for this purpose!

Mattes no longer recommend brushing their sheepskin, I've not had a chance to find out why, or to test out if something has actually changed, as it always used to work. They recommend washing it more often than they used to, always use a LEATHER wash, not a wool wash.

Thinline is the best that is widely available in the UK, I have not tested it but the TTR has and it performs extremely well. It is thin, so won't perform as well as a similar material in a thicker style but won't affect your saddle fit. If you want the absolute mutts nutts then check out Jen of the TTR's brand in the US, Jen X Equine, though they are very thick so affect fit.

Prolite absorbs only 25% max shock, compared to the Jen X Equine ones at 90-95%. Not a fan though if a customer already has one I'll work with it, and if you already have one and your horse likes it, no problem. I firmly believe that if these companies keep renaming materials so you can't look them up with the manufacturer, and see what they were designed for, what their performance figures are, then we're being led my marketing only.

There are two new pads out - the VIP pad is made from a decent performing material but there is a cheaper more basic version available, the Winderen could be interesting, I think it's a really good material but they don't state what that material is, and again it's really thick so will affect your saddle fit.

Don't believe the hype people!
 

Casey76

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I was looking at the Winderen pad (the ad is really good, showing the bowling ball test with corresponding graphs of the dampening effect)

However I wonder how much this actually effects seat aids? Doesn’t the dampening effect of the pad also deaden the seat aid effects?
 
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So much BS out there about pads, excuse my language. Sheepskin, proper medical grade sheepskin (I stock and recommend only Mattes) actually outperforms Acavallo on a basic bowling ball drop test I did recently (see Truth Tack Review on Youtube to see this type of test, shame she hasn't tested all these UK "industry standard" pads). I now carry a bowling ball in my van for this purpose!

Mattes no longer recommend brushing their sheepskin, I've not had a chance to find out why, or to test out if something has actually changed, as it always used to work. They recommend washing it more often than they used to, always use a LEATHER wash, not a wool wash.

Thinline is the best that is widely available in the UK, I have not tested it but the TTR has and it performs extremely well. It is thin, so won't perform as well as a similar material in a thicker style but won't affect your saddle fit. If you want the absolute mutts nutts then check out Jen of the TTR's brand in the US, Jen X Equine, though they are very thick so affect fit.

Prolite absorbs only 25% max shock, compared to the Jen X Equine ones at 90-95%. Not a fan though if a customer already has one I'll work with it, and if you already have one and your horse likes it, no problem. I firmly believe that if these companies keep renaming materials so you can't look them up with the manufacturer, and see what they were designed for, what their performance figures are, then we're being led my marketing only.

There are two new pads out - the VIP pad is made from a decent performing material but there is a cheaper more basic version available, the Winderen could be interesting, I think it's a really good material but they don't state what that material is, and again it's really thick so will affect your saddle fit.

Don't believe the hype people!
thanks for this..
have you done the bowling ball test on the VIP Pad ? - looking at all their marketing couldn't see any reference to max shock absorb
 

sbloom

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It's an absolute minefield with no where near enough robust science backing up the claims. Another couple of very expensive/interesting options are the Toklat made with poron xrd and the Invictus made with D30.
Both these materials look very good, they name the materials, you can research how they perform. No BS! I knew of Toklat though they're not easy to source in the UK, but the Invictus is new to me so thank you!
 

milliepops

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thanks for this..
have you done the bowling ball test on the VIP Pad ? - looking at all their marketing couldn't see any reference to max shock absorb
I bought one at YHL, it felt different to every other gelpad I've had or seen and I will be selling my acavallo on the basis of 2 rides... if anyone can describe how to replicate a bowling ball test without a bowling ball (not the kind of thing I keep hanging around...) I'd have a go ;)
 

sbloom

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I got mine broken from a bowling alley, just phoned them up and asked for a damaged one!

thanks for this..
have you done the bowling ball test on the VIP Pad ? - looking at all their marketing couldn't see any reference to max shock absorb
I would like to but no prepared to fork out for one just to test it :). Did ask the maker of it for more info on a FB thread but was ignored, as was an osteo friend of mine.

It's a 40 year old technology, the makers of the material make their own more basic version of the pad. I think it's probably more like a memory foam type of performance as it was developed by or with NASA, very little overlap with high performance fast moving impact protection from what I've seen over the years. However, if your horse really likes it, as milliepops does, then go with it. I just want to save people spending money on products that aren't proven, and finding that there was either better available, or that it makes very little difference.
 

DabDab

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I was looking at the Winderen pad (the ad is really good, showing the bowling ball test with corresponding graphs of the dampening effect)

However I wonder how much this actually effects seat aids? Doesn’t the dampening effect of the pad also deaden the seat aid effects?
Can of worms.
Using a dropped weight test as the only indicator of performance for an equine saddle pad would be an extremely odd approach. However it is relatively inexpensive as a test and often material manufacturers will give the shock absorption properties, so even cheaper.
 
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I bought one at YHL, it felt different to every other gelpad I've had or seen and I will be selling my acavallo on the basis of 2 rides... if anyone can describe how to replicate a bowling ball test without a bowling ball (not the kind of thing I keep hanging around...) I'd have a go ;)

Fab - thank you - save me buying to try - tbh ive done some of my my own experiments this weekend with the pads I have.

I don't have bowling ball either but had a golf ball. As long as you use the same on all the tests it will give you an idea (even a marble)

Put the pad flat on a hard floor, drop the ball from knee height. (and you can also use your acavallo one as comparision)
Ideally what you are looking for is the one where the ball doesn't bounce back. - max absorb .

I asked VIP if they did this test (as its what of others do) but they replied and said they hadn't. - which made me think it doesn't perform that well.

The video a car going over a biscuit wrapped in the pad - but all that measures is loads baring and not direct impact.

thank you and let us know how you get on
x
 

sbloom

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I was looking at the Winderen pad (the ad is really good, showing the bowling ball test with corresponding graphs of the dampening effect)

However I wonder how much this actually effects seat aids? Doesn’t the dampening effect of the pad also deaden the seat aid effects?

There are many different qualities within one foam, these really good pads are like non-Newtonian fluids - cornflour and water. Take a look at how that performs when you thumb it hard, yet how it performs, as you would expect if you gently push your finger into it. I have riders are higher levels finding even 13mm XRD great to ride on. Flocking doesn't deaden weight aids, neither even does an air panel if fitted well...


The video a car going over a biscuit wrapped in the pad - but all that measures is loads baring and not direct impact.
x
Yes, it's spreading pressure, which sheepskin does pretty well, though probably not to that level. The key factors in a good pad, I'm sure amongst others, are that you want fast recovery but LOW rebound, ie you do not want the pad contributing to bounce if you're likely to be fired out of the saddle in a rotational fall. Spreading pressure is definitely helpful, but a well fitted saddle should be showing pretty even pressure under it statically, it's the dynamic pressure that's the issue.

Multi quote isn't working properly so will make a second post.
 

sbloom

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has anyone any info on Numed numnahs?
What would you like to know? They're not performance numnahs in the normal sense that we're talking about here. They have some pads that contain Prolite (shimmy pads) but the rest are wool fleece lined, shorn from the sheep and woven into a knitted backing. Not a bad product at all, but it will not perform even as well as sheepskin.

Can of worms.
Using a dropped weight test as the only indicator of performance for an equine saddle pad would be an extremely odd approach. However it is relatively inexpensive as a test and often material manufacturers will give the shock absorption properties, so even cheaper.
Sorry, I didn't realise this had part quoted above, very odd!

Well seeing as the foremost safety textiles designer in the industry uses it for demonstration purposes it's pretty useful. XRD is demoed in videos with drop tests. However, these pads that use proprietary materials have been developed in close consultation with the manufacturers, have undergone extensive general testing, and have full data sheets available for those who can interpret them (my OH happens to have a good deal of experience in the foam industry). It is not conclusive, sure, but it's a useful indicator.

Do you have experience you can bring to the discussion? I think this is all so important for consumers to understand, to avoid the hype, that "so and so uses it so it must be amazing", or even about some of the more scientific testing that goes on. What was the sample used? How were controls set up? How applicable therefore is this research to my own situation? Validity and reliability of data in the new research coming along is super important, but we all get dazzled by "science".
 

DabDab

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Oh gosh, I'm not going to start spouting off boring engineery stuff! 😉

In terms of just the limitations of drop weight test for this particular application:
*The material that the test material is sat on has a bearing on performance because of how the two interact, so when you sit the test material on a horse's back, rather than, say, concrete, it will exhibit different absorption properties.
*Shock absorption/mechanical dampening effects are not linear, so the exact response will be different under light loads than heavy loads
*The test is based on applying a shock loading, whereas for a saddle pad (unless you're riding really strangely), most of the loads generated are cyclic, and arguably it's those kinds of cyclic forces that are the most likely to damage a horse's back
*For saddle pads that have a large dampening effect you have to account for where the energy is going when it is 'absorbed' by the material. If it's turning to heat energy (which is most likely), is that desirable? Do we want something that is really shock absorbing but turns into a hot plate on the horse's back, or do we want something a bit less 'absorbent' but that has really good airflow properties built into the design?
 

sbloom

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Thank you :). The materials are all developed for breathability, and the original purpose of these pads was for rider safety, the XC side of things especially, but these materials are being used by national endurance teams with fantastic results obviously over huge distances so again I am sure the cyclical impacts are well catered for.

Jen Hegeman settled on the bowling ball test as the closest approximation for a human that she could easily find and demonstrate.

I would hope to, at some point, do some specific pressure testing in use - there is a cheaper system available now which may mean this is cost effective. The Pliance system is hideously expensive so unless you are manufacturing to quite a scale it can be prohibitive.

These are all effectively non-Newtonian liquids, they do not generate heat is my understanding, I believe the pressure is somewhat pushed sideways but perhaps you can help us on this one?
 

DabDab

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Sorry might be me being dense, but which manufacturer are you talking about? There have been quite a few mentioned on this thread.
What's the rider safety angle? Reducing impact up spine?

Specific modelling of the stresses experienced under the saddle would be amazing. I don't think there is a good comprehensive study done so far that would be good enough for manufacturers to design off (though I might be wrong).

Now you're at the cans of worms - non-newtonian fluids are strange and mysterious beasts and vary considerably from one to another. The type that will be used for this gain their 'hardness' in response to an applied force because the particles in the fluid are driven closer together at a faster rate than the fluid in between can get out of the way. So the higher the impact force, the more 'viscous' they become and the more momentary strength they gain. Which is possibly why they would work very well in a saddle pad - at low forces (eg normal riding weight aids), they transmit the force fairly accurately through to the horse, because their structure doesn't change a great deal, whereas it will change and resist high sudden impact forces (which we don't want going through to the horse's back). And because it actually transmits a lot of the low level riding forces (which will be a good percentage), heat energy is not generally being created, so no issue. And because of the semi liquid nature of the material, it is also really good at spreading forces out through the whole body of the pad, thus avoiding pressure points.

If used well this has the potential to be a seriously clever use of materials and piece of design. But not many of the advantages given by this design can be captured by a bowling ball drop test. And I'm just wary of corner cutting competitors who will cotton on that this is the only test that consumers look at, and therefore they just have to make something that does really well in that test (without any of the other big benefits).

Hope that's not too rambley and makes enough sense :cool:
 

Goldenstar

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Sheepskin does not suit some horses I own one who lies down if you try to mount him when he’s got one on ,we call it the dead sheep effect.
Some horses also scald when they get hot in sheepskin you this a lot in hunters whose numahs get very hot and wet on a long day .
Horses vary enormously and it’s important you listern to the horse as some will react violently to pads they don’t like .
Of the shock absorbing type materials prolite came out as the best when some pressure testing was done .
Personally I don’t get on well with prolite pads I find unmalleable to work on with and I wish the thickness of the standard padding in the pad before you add the shims was thinner .Having said all that Mr I hate dead sheep wears one.
The best result I ever experianced from chafing a pad was from a memory foam pad that you will find on the Paul Fielder web site .
We put the pad between the saddle cloth and the saddle and the horse raised his back and trotted away transformed that horse taught me a lot .
All the sticky type pads need treating with care as many horse don’t like them and they can cause fascia damage if you put them directly on the horse .

For OP I would recommend the nu med Griffin numah with memory foam . They are thin don’t interfere with the saddle fit you can get them with sheepskin if you want to and you can add shims if you ever need them .
 

milliepops

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Really interesting discussion. I can't imagine we'll get to a position where all the various products are independently tested in a variety of ways though, it sounds like the cost would be sky high and when all is said and done, consumers will still probably pick based on the best marketing or best price, or something.

GS's post is a good one, horses pick unexpected things sometimes! I am pleased with my YHL splurge so far, 2 rides on 2 horses at opposite ends of the training spectrum, both feel softer in their backs. One previously wore either a prolite type or acavallo depending on the numnah thickness, the other wore nothing before... I would love to see the science but for now I will have to settle for my own anecdotes!
 

AlexHyde

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I agree a very interesting discussion!

I'm a little confused as to the rider safety aspect, as rotational falls were mentioned, if your horse is going to fall then surely 1. the pad you use is really of a very small consequence to what is about to happen and 2. you actually want to be pinged out and away from the saddle (being squished under the horse is ill advised). Sorry talking as someone who was very lucky to walk away from one.

Which materials used for pads are the non-newtonian fluids ones? It's a really interesting thought, as I use the acavallo gel pads currently as deadsheep was too thick under my saddle, but maybe I should be looking to have them fitted with deadsheep?

MP the VIP sounds intriguing, how thick is it? I will admit I'd dismissed it to the 'new fad' category but maybe I've been hasty as I've not seen one in the flesh yet.
 
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