Update Spring 2018: Other than some some minor shedding, this baby still looks as good as new after using it nearly every day for a year and a half years. Call me impressed…
Spice is an older Thoroughbred…and that means he doesn’t have the fattest back ever. While the Custom Saddlery saddle I bought for Champ fits Spice quite well, he needs a little bit of extra cushion to protect his “not so young” back. His owner has been using sheepskin pads on him for years, and was kind enough to offer me hers to use, but they weren’t always available as others in the barn used them too. I knew I needed to buy one for him and that he deserved the very best to keep him happy and healthy for as long as possible. After a fretful few weeks of searching for a sheepskin pad, I turned to THE sheepskin pad company (aka Mattes) to meet my needs. Here is my review of the Mattes Halfpad with Lambskin.
Buying the lower quality pads from Mattes didn’t seem like the best plan, as I knew they wouldn’t have quite as much loft…and they likely wouldn’t have the staying power either. Buying a white one seemed dumb as well…and black is just not that attractive against a black saddle. I had to turn to custom to create a pad that would hold up to daily schooling (not white) and that I could use to show in (not some crazy color).
I did pick the quilt in a little bit of a crazy color (because how could I go boring if I was doing custom?), but it doesn’t really show much at all under the saddle (just a peak at the front). So far it hasn’t been an issue and I’ve shown at a couple of 3* shows with no comments. The grey sheepskin I felt was my best option to not show dirt, but still be “conservative.” Does it really get any more conservative and dull than grey? Does it really get any more exciting and fresh than grey? Hrrrm…
Colors aside, I was thrilled with the quality of this pad when I got it and I have had absolutely no issues with it now in my solid month or so of riding in it. Spicy loves it. The ladies at the barn love it. I love it.
I have now washed it twice in a top load washing machine on delicate (no dryer!) with Melp and it looks just as nice and fluffy as it did right out of the box. It shed a tiny bit around the edges, but it was only a couple of tiny tufts. It seems to be a sturdy fabric backing with solid stitching and the sheepskin is top notch. Usually my pads show wear after one wash…this one hasn’t. Impressed.
I would be amiss to not talk about the biggest issue of all for me…price. I’m pretty thrifty. I only spend a lot of money if it’s something REALLY high quality, and even then I want to get it as cheap as possible. That meant buying it from Europe. Was that a bit scary…yeah. Was I afraid I might not get exactly what I thought I was getting? Yup. Did it turn out absolutely perfect? Yes! I purchased the pad from French company Mon Cheval. They have an awesome easy-to-use customizer that shows you exactly what you’re ordering as you change around your options. I saved almost $100 on this ordering from Mon Cheval when you take shipping and tax into account. Steal! Almost as cheap as ordering one of the lower quality “Gold” line pads off the shelf. If I need to order a custom Mattes pad again (or any other custom they offer), I wouldn’t hesitate to order from this company.