Every year, horses and riders make the dressage world hold its breath by breaking new records at the world's top equestrian events. These results would not be achievable without high-precision performance, excellent permeability, rideability, and the quality of free, elastic movement.
This quality of movement can only be achieved by horses that are able to pass the energy of active hind legs through a supple but strong back to the rider's hand, freely and without any disturbance. However, dressage horses are often extremely sensitive and even the slightest discomfort may have a negative impact on their performance.
Shock Absorption and Pressure Relief
A well-fitting saddle is undoubtedly a fundamental step in providing the horse with the greatest possible comfort, but it may not always be enough to allow the horse to perform at its full potential. It is also important to provide the horse with effective shock absorption under the saddle, which will eliminate the pressure points and evenly distribute the rider’s weight over the horse’s back, relieving and supporting the muscles. And this is when a good, proven half pad can help!
The innovative Winderen Back Protect Solution half pad was designed with five technologically advanced layers to allow for a significant part of the energy to be dissipated and absorbed during riding, ensuring effective shock absorption and pressure relief. This eliminates pressure points and evenly distributes load, significantly facilitating the relaxation of the horse’s back muscles and supporting their healthy development during daily training. As a result, the horse feels more comfortable under the saddle and gains more freedom of movement, which directly translates into improved roundness, impulsion and quality of gaits.
The effectiveness of Winderen half pads is not only confirmed by veterinary surgeons, physiotherapists and Grand Prix-level riders worldwide, but also by independent laboratory tests, showing that its efficiency in terms of distribution and energy absorption is much greater than that of traditional sheepskin pads or gel pads.
See the laboratory test results in the video below:
Olympic Dressage Rider Dina Ellermann on the Winderen Half Pad
"I am impressed with the super quality of Winderen products! I have been using Winderen half pads since 2017 – the thin version for a custom made saddle, and a regular one when needed. I felt the difference from the first ride. Winderen half pads are made with a focus on technology. It is important to have freedom at the withers. Here the half pad has a stretchy material, leaving the withers free. Impact protection is also very important – the horses are more relaxed, and my back is good. At the moment I have a young horse who is developing muscle, and I started to use the Correction half pad with him. It is perfect for a young horse who is still developing. I can always adjust it when necessary," said Dina Ellermann.
Winderen makes different versions of its half pads to meet the needs of different horses and riders. The basis for the entire line is the Comfort version (1.8 cm thickness), which is ideal for replacing thick gel, sheepskin, or memory foam pads. The Slim version (1.0 cm thickness) is designed to meet the needs of riders with closely fitted saddles. Last but not least is the Correction version, which allows for numerous adjustment options. This version is based on the same shock-absorbing layers and features 6 pockets for felt correction inserts shaped to conform to the horse’s back muscles. Shims with thicknesses of 2, 3 and 4 mm allow the Correction half pad to be individually fitted to the back of each horse, giving a total of 262,144 different combinations for saddle balance adjustment. As a result, the half pad can be dynamically adjusted to even the smallest changes in the muscles occurring in training, so that the saddle always lies in perfect balance, allowing you to use the full range of movement of your horse.
”I am using both the dressage saddle half pad and the correction dressage half pad. The foam composite is really soft, comfy and long-lasting, it doesn't lose its shape even with regular use and it fits a lot of horses even though they have different shapes. What I really appreciate about Winderen is that they offer another kind of half pad, the Correction Dressage half pad. You can adapt it specifically to horses lacking muscle, for example. It allows you to find the perfect balance for the saddle on the horse's back so the horse doesn't feel any pressure and can move with real freedom.” - International Grand Prix dressage rider Bertrand Liegard.
Read more about this innovative half pad and its benefits at the Winderen website.