The VIP was developed by Tamara Hudleston and Amanda Renouard, who felt there was a gap in the market for a product that would shield impact from the horse’s back whilst maintaining the feel of the close contact saddle. The pad is 6mm thick and will not affect the fitting of a correctly measured saddle. Many saddle pads are bulking and restrictive and create issues with saddle fitting.
The VIP is made from a raw material, called Akton®, a Visco Elastic Polymer gel. Akton’s shock absorbing attributes lends itself to diverse and limitless sporting applications. They were very excited to discover this raw material and to launch the VIP to an equestrian market. Today’s consumers really value products with a scientific basis, that work, and on this front the VIP really delivers.
The Pad is only 6mm thick so very low profile and discreet under the saddle and which does not alter the fit. Although currently fashionable they deliberately have not added sheepskin trim. They wanted seamless edges to prevent pressure points and have achieved this with a thin bonded film at edge, and only a film gullet joining the two form fitting panels, which eliminates pressure on the spine. This design also means the pad can be used under or on top of the saddlecloth.
The Pad is not sticky or stretchy and always retains its shape. Research has shown that Akton polymer reduces sheer forces and friction. It also has a very high tensile strength so will not bottom out or spread under pressure. This means it retains its exceptional pressure and impact-relieving qualities regardless of any duress the pad is placed under. This is ideal for reducing the pressure under saddle tree points.
The “Bobble” design means more raw materials can be used while keeping the weight of the pad down. When placed on the horse’s back, pads with holes fill with sweat and hair causing friction. Conversely “The VIP’s” soft but pliable structure guarantees an even distribution of weight. The material also redistributes heat.
Another advantage of the thin film coating is that the pad is very easy to clean and maintain. It can just be wiped down with a mild soap and water. It is hypoallergenic, and does not attract bacteria.
This is believed to be the only clearly researched and effective saddle pad on the market.