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Because I ride in a dressage saddle it means that I have to buy dressage saddlecloths as they are longer to accommodate the longer saddle flap which the dressage saddle has. It also means that I have to pay that little bit extra for the extra material manufacturers use. When you have three horses this can be a little expensive especially as I ride most days and the saddle cloths getting sweaty and dirty so I tend to have quite a large collection. I have found over the years the cheaper saddlecloths don't stand up to the test of time and crumble within a few months but if you spend a little more on something better quality they last for quite sometime.
I have been buying Polypads products for as long as I can remember. My aunt and cousin both use them on their horses and I have just followed suit. Polypads have been manufacturing items for horses and for people for years and they are one of the best known brands. The company offers a wide range of products which can even be tailored to one's specific needs.
One item I have owned for years is the Polypads Classic Long. I've got a few of these in my large collection as I really believe they are great. The Classic Long is basically just a longer version of the regular Classic version. The only difference is that the Classic Long is longer (approximately 13cm longer) to accommodate longer saddle flaps which is suitable for dressage saddles. It is rectangular in shape and its approximate dimensions are length 66cm (across the spine) and 107cm side to side.
The Classic Long has a wonderful fibre filling which is thicker than any available on the market. You can have the Classic Long in three different thicknesses which ensure unrestricted back movement whatever the level of fitness. The soft fibre filling moulds to both the horse and to the saddle which allows the Polypad to 'bed' into the saddle keeping it firmly in place on the horse's back. The fibre used is incredibly shock absorbing which helps create a surface bearing area under the saddle assisting in an even distribution of both rider and saddle weight over the whole of the horse's back.
The outer shell of the Classic Long is made from a quilted polycotton which because of its design encourages airflow along the back of the horse. Something different to most saddlecloths is that there are no loops or straps on the outside of the Classic Long. Polypads reckon that by not having these that there are no unwanted pressure points caused by extra stitching and fabric. A benefit of not having these loops or straps is that they are more flexible to fit to any horse and reduces the time aspect as when you have girth straps it is time consuming removing the saddle cloth as it can be a bit fiddly.
To fit the Classic Long on the horse you just simply need to place it on the back of the horse in a suitable position and then place your saddle on top. You then need to pull the Classic Long up into the front of your saddle (the gullet) which helps form a tunnel to allow air flow across the back. The pad should be about 10-12cm in front of the saddle. Just make sure when the saddle is on the horse that the horse's coat is lying flat under the pad and saddle.
As I said above I have been using the Classic Long for years as it has always been reliable. They are incredibly durable but remain soft which is a good combination especially when worn on the back of a horse and used a lot. All of mine really have stood the test of time. They do of course become a bit scruffy after a lot of wear and use but it takes them a long time to get to that point. The Classic Long washes well and just needs to go in the washing machine on a cool wash. They should not be tumble dried and left to air dry after straightening out and re-shaped. They do take a while to dry but within a few hours they are dry and soft again.
For me and my horses I like that they offer great support for the back which is what is needed for every horse. The air flow ensures the horse is comfortable without overheating. It is simple to fit to ensure there are no pressure points and that the saddle is sitting in the right position. The pad doesn't cover the shoulder so it doesn't restrict movement through the shoulder and the muscles which is great for schooling a horse as they can move freely.
The Polypads' Classic Long is available at most Polypads retailers both online and in store. It is available in three thicknesses (single - 920gm, plus one 1010gm and doubler 1150gm - the gm is the weight of the fibre). It is priced from £32.75 to £39.75 depending on which thickness you want. The Classic Long is available in a variety of colours and trims which can all be found on the Polypads website where you can also order the Classic Long of your choice (www.polypads.co.uk)