Unless you are new to the blog you are aware of the craziness that is Stampede and his back issues (and well all the other issues he comes up with too!). Stampede’s diagnosis of kissing spines caused by facet joint arthritis has meant that he is even more sensitive to saddle fit than the average horse, in addition to already being hard to fit in the first place. While the purchase of a CWD saddle custom paneled for his back gave him a sudden and great improvement under saddle last year, we still struggled once he started to build muscle. My Mattes and Ogilvy pads were too thick and tended to block his shoulder and fill up some of the extra space he still needed. On the other hand, I couldn’t ride without a half pad because then my saddle was too close to his wither. The CWD fitter came out in November and advised against adding any more thickness to my panels though, since they were already quite large to accommodate a monster wither. She told me to find something thin enough to not interfere but thick enough to fill the gap. So there I was on a search for another half pad!
So off I went to the local tack shop in search of options and found a pad I had never heard of. This is the picture I actually took on that day so I could go back and do research.
The Invictus Equestrian website has a lot of information about how the pad works and testing that has been done which compares the pad to others on the market. Really interesting reading. I won’t go into it here because The $900 Facebook Pony already has here.
Here are some close up pictures of the half pad.
I bought the version that takes shims just in case I ever need them. You do have to purchase the shims separately for this pad which I find a bit odd although the cost of the shims was quite reasonable. The shims allow airflow just like the half pad does.
The pad is really interesting to squish with your hand and fingers. If you squish with just a finger the pad really compresses but if you put a hand on each side of the pad and push together it has less give.
Now on to my experience in use. First the fit of the pad under my saddle (CWD SE02 17.5″ with C4 flap). I love how the pad supports my panels but then opens up at the shoulder where Stampede can be picky about space. Also there isn’t a ton of extra pad sticking out like some other half pads so it’s a nice clean look that doesn’t take away from my favorite saddle pads (Ogilvy profile pads in large!).
Now on to the real information – how did the pickiest of horses like this pad?
Well when the beast has been in work (so far this year an infected lymph node and an abscess have caused some breaks from action!) we haven’t had an issue with back pain (here’s hoping I’m not jinxing myself saying that!). The pad gives him the clearance he needs for his spine and ginormous wither without getting in the way of his shoulder.
I will say I feel like there really aren’t that many options for a really thin half pad. I only considered a Thinline (the rubbery sheet with no cotton/fleece attached) and the two EquiFit half pads before going with the Invictus.
- Thin – just barely effects saddle fit (let’s be honest all half pads effect how your saddle sits on your horse) and in my case provided just the right amount of lift off the spine. Would probably work with most well fitting or almost fitting saddles since it’s so thin
- Technology behind the pad makes sense and you can feel it when you squeeze the pad
- Easy to clean – literally just wipe it off with a damp rag, but honestly the color hides dirt anyways
- Low profile – The pad fits the shape of the saddle nicely and doesn’t stand out
- Stampede loves it and well he doesn’t like just anything!
- Price – as with most popular half pads they aren’t cheap. Retail is $279. I got mine for 15% off on Small Business Saturday.
- Color – While I like it for every day, I’m not sure exactly how to show with it? Wish I could get it in white…
- A bit annoying to buy shims separately but like I said they were reasonably priced.
So if you are in the market for a really thin half pad without the bulk that half pads such as the Mattes and Ogilvy create I highly recommend checking out the Invictus line of half pads. I also recommend it if you have a horse with back problems. Another horse in my barn who is prone to being cold backed has also had great improvement with this pad.
Glad it has worked out so well for you, I will keep my eyes peeled here to see if i can get my paws on one to see how it compares to the Prolite. I like the sound of the invictus breathability
I have a Prolite review coming at some point so that might help with comparison too. 🙂 The Invictus is impressive!
These are fascinating. Glad you like yours!
They are really different, it was hard to find a way to even share how interesting they are. As long as Stampede likes it and is willing to work I’m a happy person!
Interesting — thanks for the review. When I was on the hunt for a thin half pad, I ended up with just a gel pad from Dover, but it’s not my fave (although, very cheap compared to the Invictus!)
I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw a gel pad! Rode P in one for years when I was younger though. Do you think it helps with the back at all?
This is super random, but I have been thinking about you as I finished up my taxes with my CPA this year. So hopefully you’re not TOO busy and getting to enjoy some time at the barn and riding! As for half pads, I’m a big fan of my Thinline although they also sell the shims separately.
Thanks for thinking of me. I changed jobs in July so now I’m doing corporate taxes and life is so much better! I still have overtime but it’s more spread out and not so much in April since we extend all the returns to September. I wanted to like the thinline but I would have had to do the cotton backed version I think to get the thickness right and was pretty meh about that.
Interesting! I love the sound of this pad, but not the price tag haha
Yeah the price tag is a bit rough (better with the 15% off I got!) but I felt my other option was really just the EquiFit pads (tried thinline and it was a no go) so it was comparable to that.
I’ve been on the fence for awhile at this pad, knowing I need it. Thinline just doesn’t have enough support that I need and Ogilvy is too thick (but its so pretty!)
Yes I had two Ogilvy half pads and wanted to love them but just couldn’t! I’ll survive by using their awesome saddle pads instead!
Just out of curiosity, what’s the price range for the shims. My Mattes is feeling a bit bulky and I just might need a new pad like this.
The shims were around $35 I think, definitely under $40. It’s a great pad if you are in a similar position where you need something but it has to be thin.
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I have a bad back and I am debating between the Invictus and the thin line. Did you find that you “bounced” less? I am a dressage rider, so I do a lot of sitting trot, which aggravates my back.
Hmm. I personally feel like it reduces bounce but I do have a friend who tried it and felt the opposite, so sadly your mileage may vary. Maybe the correct way to describe it is that it changes the bounce – spreads it out. I fell in love with the pad because it made my horse with facet joint arthritis comfortable enough to lift his back and use himself under saddle. The best answer would be to borrow each from a friend to try, but I’m guessing you don’t have that option (let me know if you are in SE MI by chance). I will say thinline I didn’t like because I felt like it killed my feel of the horse, which I guess means it reduced bounce. A friend at the barn used to combine a thinline with a mattes for her back, but she now does the thinner ogilvy half pad instead. You should be able to find the old school thinline pads that aren’t attached to anything fuzzy for cheap used to try, since that style isn’t really in favor currently. Good luck!