* Prices may differ from that shown
For Christmas last year I decided to treat myself (and my horses) to the Polypads High Viz Exercise Duo. I had seen it come out towards the end of last year and thought it was such as good idea. Because I ride my horses normally first thing in the morning the light isn't particularly great and I am keen to be seen and I am more than happy to cover myself and my horse in high viz items in order to stay safe.
What I liked about the Exercise Duo is that it covers the whole of my horses back so they can keep warm especially on those bitterly cold winter mornings. They can keep warm and comfortable whilst out in freezing temperatures which for me is satisfaction as they are far more pleasant when they are comfortable! Basically the Exercise Duo is a thicker version of a normal exercise sheet. It fits under the saddle and goes along the horse's back to the top of the tail and is wide enough to go down to the top of the horse's back legs (this can vary depending on how big or small the horse is). It is secured when the girth is done up on the saddle. The Exercise Duo features a towelling underside over the quarters (the horse's derrière) which keeps their loins warm. As you can see from the picture it is shaped - it is deeper over the quarters on the horse and narrower where the saddle sits.
Polypads are a company in the UK which supply saddlepads/cloths/numnahs as well as travelling gear for horses and items for us humans! They are incredibly popular and are stocked nationwide.
The Exercise Duo is manufactured with a fluorescent yellow polycotton (which is also waterproof) which conforms to the EN1150: 1999 visibility clothing for non professional use. To add more visibility Polypads have added a reflective silver tape as binding around three sides over the normal bining. This is great as it's slightly reflective and as car lights see it, it shows up incredibly well. The Exercise Duo is also reversible and the underside of it is black so it can be used for general schooling as well which is great as it still manages to keep the horse warm.
Polypads have a substantial thickness which is soft and full of fibre filled moulds which mould to both the horse and the saddle which keeps the Polypad and the saddle in place. This is incredibly comfortable for the horse and back is well protected. The polycotton material which the Exercise Duo is made out of is incredibly durable, it is easy to look after and requires little maintenance to look after it. You simply put it in the washing machine on a cool wash and air dry! The quilted polycotton material encourages air flow along the back.
The fibres in the Exercise Duo are shock absorbing and they create a tough surface bearing area under the saddle which helps to keep an even distribution of saddle and rider weight over the whole of the horse's back which relieves the pressure. An added benefit of the Exercise Duo is that there are no straps or loops (as on other saddlecloths and numnahs) and this way the Exercise Duo is not pulled down onto the back and therefore there are no unwanted pressure points. Also, with having no straps the sizing can be a lot more flexible so you can move the Exercise Duo into the exact position you want. This is also helpful to me as I have more than one horse who are all different in their sizes but this way I can just switch it from one horse to another. Polypads' fibre filling is thicker than any other product available and the choice of two thicknesses ensures excellent, unrestricted back protection for whatever the level of fitness and muscle development.
To fit the Exercise Duo is incredibly easy but it is important that you get it right to ensure your horse's back is well protected. You simply need to put it on the horse's back, put your saddle in the position where it needs to be and pull the Exercise Dup upwards into the gullet (front of the saddle) to create the airlow tunnel along the spine. Ensure the horse's coat is lying flat underneath the saddle area of the Exercise Duo and that it isn't too far forward to restrict shoulder movement and then simply do the girth up ensuring the Exercise Duo is even on both sides.
For me this is probably one of the best items I have bought in a long time for my horses. It is incredibly bright to look at but it really does work as it is incredibly visible and can be seen from a long distance. I bought the large size and it fits my lot really well. Once it is in position and secured by the saddle it doesn't move at all and is secure. Because of the material it is quite thick compared to other exercise sheets I own and it doesn't flap around if it's a windy day again this is unlike other exercise sheets I have as they are quite thin and flap easily but the Exercise Duo remains in place and is almost weighed down by the thickness.
I hate taking my horses out of their warm rugs first thing in the morning especially to ride and the Exercise Duo manages to keep them warm and with the added towelling this keeps their muscles warm as well which is good. Because there is a good amount of airflow my horses very rarely sweat in the Exercise Duo so there temperature is kept balanced and they are not getting uncomfortable which can happen when they sweat and have a saddlecloth rubbing against them.
Because it is used quite often at the moment (will probably be worn less in the summer unless I ride in the afternoon when its dusk) it gets washed quite a lot. I wash it on a cool wash but it can be washed at 40°c. I have found it washes incredibly easily and the fabric still keeps its thickness. I line dry mine but it can be tumble dried on a cool heat but it is important that it is re-shaped when wet/ damp so it doesn't loose its shape.
The Exercise Duo is available in three sizes and in two thicknesses.
Small: 106cm x 122cm
Medium: 118cm x 138cm
Large: 130cm x 148cm
The Exercise Duo is priced from £74.99 to £87.99 (prices from Polypads) depending on what size and what thickness you opt for. The different thicknesses are suitable for those fittening a horse. They don't restrict the back or shoulder muscles so the horse can move and work freely.
For me, this is a great item which is getting used a lot during the week. I like that it has towelling over the horse's quarters as it keeps the muscles warm. It also fits well and for me having horses of all different shapes and sizes it is great just having one item and not a few of the same thing! It washes well and mine looks just as good as new despite being two months old and being heavily used. I also like that the material is waterproof as when you get caught in the odd shower you don't have to worry about your horse getting wet. A great item which keeps you and your horse safe. I would recommend to any horse rider/ owner wanting to stay safe when the day light isn't so light!