The Very Important Pad is a unique pressure-relieving pad for horses. It can be worn over or under a saddlecloth to distribute pressure from your saddle more evenly across the horse’s back. It is made from Akton® Polymer, a renowned viscoelastic polymer which has been rigorously tested worldwide in 40 years of scientific research. It is universally trusted in human clinical and sporting settings for its superior pressure-relieving, impact and sheer force-reducing qualities. The Very Important Pad draws and disperses heat from the horse’s back, regulating temperature. It’s hypoallergenic, easily cleanable and does not support bacterial growth.
The feel of the VIP is very soft and flexible yet the durable honeycomb structure of the Akton gel guarantees huge tensile strength allowing the pad to always maintain it’s shape under extreme and prolonged compression. So, unlike foam and softer gel pads, the VIP can deflect an applied load without bottoming out. Being extremely effective yet thin (8mm), the VIP pad does not compromise saddle fit.
- Superior textured structure gives high tensile strength, the key to maintaining shape under extreme and prolonged compression
- Soft, flexible and seamless with no pressure causing trims
- Moulds to your horses back like a low-profile second skin
- A thin film gullet eliminates pressure on the horse’s spine
- Only 8mm thick so does not alter your saddle fit
- Bobbles increase surface area, alleviating pressure points and evenly distributing weight
- Relieves impact, pressure, sheer forces and friction
- Does not leak, flow, absorb sweat, bottom out or spread under pressure
- Can be worn over or under a saddlecloth, bobble side down.
- Hypoallergenic and easy to clean.
- Available in gold, black and blue.
Quotes and testimonials:
Sam Griffiths, Australian International Event Rider: “With its excellent ‘second skin’ like feel and use of proven materials, the VIP pad has become a super additional piece of kit to use on a wide range of my horses for all the disciplines of three day eventing. I hardly notice when the horse is wearing it. The all important close contact connection I have between my saddle and the horse is not compromised in any way. The VIP is an exciting and innovative product with its success being a reflection of the extensive research and attention to detail that has gone into creating it. “
Roland Tong, Irish International Dressage Rider: ” I ride in beautiful saddles that are fitted correctly. I was impressed that finally there was a saddle pad with research to prove the issues of impact and pressure. I want a saddle pad that will help to protect my horse’s back but does not alter saddle fit. The VIP does this and more”
Click here to watch the video – Q&A about the VIP Saddlepad with Physiotherapist Natalie Baker
Which colour to choose?
Go for gold with our most versatile VIP colour. The gold is slightly translucent and subtly adopts the colour tones of the saddle cloth underneath it. This makes it an excellent choice for brown saddles and either dark or light saddle cloths.
The black VIP is popular for dressage, especially for those with black tack. When used in conjunction with a white saddle cloth, the black pad is a fantastically subtle choice.
The blue VIP is popular in eventing and showjumping. It is striking and fun; guaranteed to showcase your wild side!
Actual colour may vary – Although we have tried our best to make these images true to colour, colour display may vary between devices.
WHY IS THE VIP SO SPECIAL?
Our raw material is incredible! Technically Akton® Polymer (product of Action Products, Inc., USA) is not a gel. It does not leak, flow or bottom out under pressure. It was designed by a surgeon over 40 years ago to prevent and treat pressure sores and ulcers in his patients. Today this raw material is the universal and international gold standard in impact protection.
It is also used by the military, in space ship harnesses, by stunt actors, in American football helmets, in gun recoil pads, in motorcycle seats and many other sporting applications. We searched the world for a raw material that would really help our horses. Only the best would do! This pushes the price up but you can be assured you are using a pad that offers your horse the very best protection.
HOW IS THE VIP DIFFERENT TO OTHER PADS?
Sheepskin is very popular, and after reindeer skin (completely impractical!) was tested a decade or more ago to have the best shock absorbent properties. However, times have moved on. Sheepskin is very bulky and thick and puts the rider a long way off the saddle, which in times of innovative saddle design and a move towards close contact saddles is counter intuitive. It is also tricky to keep clean, everything sticks to sheepskin and if you drop it in the mud its 24hrs before you can get it washed and dry and usable again.
Foam pads have had a lot of investment research wise. The problem with foams, memory foam, closed cell foam is that when you compress it it stays compressed and takes ages to bounce back, and under the weight of a rider it never does. In our mind this diminishes its shock absorbent qualities. Foams can also be bulky. This is great if you have a saddle that doesn’t fit or a horse that is rapidly changing shape because you can fit the saddle a bit big and fill the spaces with the foam pads and shims.
The VIP is designed not to effect the fit of a correctly fitting saddle The most well known market leading gel brand is not ideal either. The thinner versions spread under pressure. If you squeeze the pad between finger and thumb the pads just moves out the way leaving finger and thumb touching. Technically this is described as having a low tensile strength. VIP approached them for testing results and they didn’t have any. The market leader favours sticky pads, read on and see why we don’t like them!|
WHAT SIZE SADDLE WILL IT FIT?
The VIP perfectly fits dressage, jumping, event, side saddle and polo saddles with a multitude of panel shapes and sizes, and seat sizes 17 – 18.5 inch. On any saddle smaller than 17 inches the pad will be large and have a bit of overhang but this won’t affect the way it works. If you are wanting a pad for a western saddle, for vaulting we can get you one of these too, but there will be a delay as these are special order.
WHICH WAY IS UP AND WHERE DO I PUT THE VIP ON MY HORSE?
Use the VIP always bobble side to the horse, so bobble side down against horse’s back/saddle cloth and smooth side against saddle panels. It is totally hypoallergenic and bacteriostatic so you can either use it directly on your horses back or between the saddle cloth and saddle. Horses have preferences so try both ways to find out what is best for your horse.
WILL THE VIP STOP MY SADDLE SLIPPING?
Rider feedback frequently says that The VIP stops their saddle moving, but we don’t make this claim as the pad was not designed for this purpose.
MY SADDLE FITS, MY SADDLER TOLD ME NOT TO USE ANY PADS
At only 8mm thick, The VIP will not alter saddle fit. The age old analogy says if my shoes fit then why would I make them tight by adding a thick pair of socks. What about if you have amazing fitting shoes and you add a very thin insole that makes them oh so comfortable? This is what the VIP does, it adds a superior lay of cushioning that will give you and your horse the extra edge performance wise. In medical settings the pad is used as a skin/fat substitute in radiotherapy to protect the patient’s skin. Akton® Polymer behaves just like fat and skin, so in effect what you are doing is adding a thin layer of fat to your horse’s back to offer better cushioning.
Many of our stockists are saddlers and physios. When we started the business we had thought we would be selling to tack shops and direct to the customer, but we were being repeatedly approached by professionals, and this is how we have grown organically.
We have encountered saddlers who have said they don’t like VIP, many of who haven’t seen it! Saddlers love convention and often new things are met with suspicion, especially when new to the market and which haven’t yet been tested on horses. We also have riders who use the pad against their saddlers wishes because they have seen such a remarkable difference is their horses comfort, way of going and willingness.
The horse doesn’t lie! We have also heard from physios who have been to treat a horse who has been really sore in the past and they have gone back and the horse is massively improved. The riders have then mentioned the VIP and the physios have then approached us to be stockists . This happens a lot!
WHY DOES THE VIP HAVE BOBBLES?
We originally got the idea from bubble wrap but fast realised it enabled us to use the maximum amount of raw material without making The VIP bulky and heavy. The bobbles have a small amount of movement, which allows the muscles and fascia to move under the pad. The flat side goes against your panel for maximum contact.
So effectively the top and bottom move separately. This also helps stabilise the saddle. Many riders have reported this has helped their own backs.
IS THE VIP STICKY, WHY DOESN’T IT HAVE AIR HOLES?
No! We hate sticky pads. They cause so many problems. They cause friction, they stick to the horse and pluck hair when removed. The horse moves in a dynamic way and a saddle needs to move a bit with the horse. The muscles need to ‘roll’ under the panels.
‘Air holes’ fill with hair and sweat also adding to this plucking effect. Also, claims manufacturers make that the air holes allow the horses backs to breath don’t make sense. How can a back breathe when you have a gel, a saddle cloth, a saddle and a rider on top?
HOW DO I STORE THE VIP?
Store the VIP away from direct sunlight and heat sources such as radiators, and preferably flat, folded length-ways in half, or draped over your saddle. Keep away from sharp objects.
HOW DO I CLEAN THE VIP?
Easy, just run it under the tap. As it is not sticky you wont need to do this very often as nothing sticks to it. It is not porous and doesn’t absorb water. Don’t use anything abrasive or any kind of chemical soap on the pad. Just hang it over a smooth railing or saddle rack to dry or wipe the water off with a cloth.
WHY DON’T YOU PUT A FUR TRIM ON THE VIP?
Fur trims may look pretty but serve no function. Furthermore, the panels of a saddle never fully sit within the edges of the trim, the outer edge of the saddle panels usually sit partially on the fur. This causes an unnecessary pressure point.
WILL THE VIP MAKE MY HORSE SWEATY?
The VIP will not make your horse any sweatier under the saddle than he is from the work he is doing. If he is sweaty on his neck, between his back legs, behind his ears, around his girth etc., he will be equally sweaty under his saddle with or without the VIP.
The VIP also draws the heat away from the horses back into the polymer.