At the end of last year I examined my beloved haf pad (and I say “loved” because I haven’t used another pad at an endurance ride since getting it!) and found that the little magical sympanova bumps on the underside of the saddle area were flat!
Not good news!
How good the sympanova work it’s magic, cooling the horse’s back if the little bumps are flat????
The answer is, it can’t of course.
To confirm this bit of miserable news I called Action Rider Tack, and they confirmed that I needed a new one for anything longer than a training ride.
I moaned and whined.
Surprisingly, it didn’t change the fact my pad was worn out.
I decided in the spirit of a new, financially prudent Melinda, (vet school is close enough now it’s REAL and I need to start squirreling the money away if I have a HOPE of keeping Farley while I’m in school) that I would save up for the pad – put away a certain amount of $$ each month that was designated for tack, and at the end of ~6 months I could buy the pad.
Here’s the problem:
Fact #1: The tack budget is just the right size to accommodate those pesky little items as they come up – a new sized girth for a new sized Farley, for instance. It is NOT a generously sized budget that will allow me to have a haf pad in a reasonable amount of time.
Fact #2: I have a 100 coming up in exactly 25 days. With the haf pad out of commission that leaves me with a older woolback and a skito pad. I was ADAMENT that I was going to make it work. But here’s the issues:
Woolback: I’ve never used the woolback for longer than an LD. It’s bulky. It’s HUGE, and there’s always a lot of sweat underneath (not a huge deal for a ride in February but still…). It’s not new and fluffy – it’s old and compacted.
Skito: New…..but I never felt like it gave much protection. It compresses too much. I’ve used it for a multiday (2 days, 50 miles each) and a 65 miler. It was using this pad that I first noticed the heat bumps and I’ve never had them as bad as when I used the skito. Do I trust it for a 100? I’m not sure.
Here’s the bottom line: I know the haf pad works over a long distance (did Tevis training AND 68 miles of Tevis in it, with no problems once I sewed the trim. Then did 2 50’s at the end of the season). I know the that heat bumps are minimized/non-existent when using this pad. I trust this pad. I’m invested in this 100 mile ride – besides the entry fee, this is the longest drive I will do for a ride all year (5-6 hours of driving). A lot of time and energy.
When I look at it objectively, the haf pad is less than my 100 mile entry fee. And it could make the difference in my horse’s comfort and probability of finishing.
I decided it was worth it to “splurge” for the pad and ordered one from “Healthy of the Horse” this afternoon.
I’m contesting it’s not a splurge – it’s the cost of riding a 100 miler.
I like wool on a saddle pad, and I know I could probably get a longer life out of a similarly priced woolback, however, I strongly feel that using the sympanova keeps her back cooler, which I’m willing to pay for, including buying pads more often – especially now that I know that keeping her back as cool as possible AND slowing cooling back is key to keeping the heat bumps to a minimum.
Here’s my question: Make me feel better! Please describe something that most might consider a splurge, that you contest is a necessary part of your riding!
Here’s the list of items that I’m not willing to cut corners on, that I feel or integrel to my partnership with my horse – even with my vet school $$ saving lifestyle:
- Saddle pad
- Bit (she must be happy in it – no tossing head. Must also have brakes throughout entire ride – which is why I have 3 or 4 bits that I like to transition throughout the ride)
- Girth (must be a natural fiber – wool – cord girth). Farley galls easily.