Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review of CSI Saddle Pad

Having worn out a couple Impact Gel saddle pads, I was looking to buy another good saddle pad. I have used about every type of saddle pad,...sheepskin lined, felt, and even neoprene saddle pads, which I used under a blanket and mostly for arena roping. I never liked the neoprene pads and how they build up heat under the saddle no matter how many air holes they had.

I did work with SaddleSkin, in developing a saddle pad from a non-natural material that is the same Cooling and Trauma Attenuation material and design that is used between body armor and the user's clothing, to reduce trauma from bullet impact to body armor being absorbed by the body, as well as to provide a cooling effect to the skin surface. The SaddleSkin worked as advertised, protecting the horse's back and keeping the Horse's back cooler through air channels and holes. I also found that the SaddleSkin also kept the saddle from slipping.   However, I just really like felt pads, so I was looking to get a felt pad replacement.

I have known about CSI Saddle Pads for a couple years now, but the price kind of put me off, so after a couple of months of getting used to the idea of spending that much money, I finally ordered one directly from CSI.

Much like the Impact Gel Saddle Pads, which uses a gel pad in between layers of felt to absorb and reduce trauma to the horse's back, the CSI Saddle pads uses what they call a "flex plate" to dissipate trauma from pressure of the saddle's bars on the horse's back. The flex plate is visible in the photo at left.

The CSI Saddle Pad is actually a two piece pad. The bottom piece is a traditional felt pad, available in 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch thickness and a top piece that is automotive carpet sandwiched around the flex plate. There is a thin line of velcro sewn into the bottom spine of the top pad (flex plate) so that it can mate with the bottom felt pad and not slip. The photo at right shows the two layers and you can see that the bottom felt pad is relieved to reduce bulk for the front cinch.

Both pieces have air holes that line up and are designed to let heat escape the horses back.    The photo at left shows the air holes in the spine of the pad.  The bottom felt pad is reversible as well, extending the using life of this pad.  And as you can see from the two top photos, the CSI pad is formed for the withers.  It fit nicely on the three horses with varying wither heights that I tried it on.  I don't think anyone would be disappointed with a CSI Saddle Pad.

CSI hosts a series of videos    on saddle fit, horse balance, back and health issues. In the video below, Rhonda Martin discusses how saddle fit affects the function of the horse.

1 comment:

  1. The best ever saddle pads include 100% wool against the horse's skin to wick away sweat and prevent hot spots.