While perusing my Instagram explore page a few weeks ago, I came across a new brand on the equestrian market called Anatomeq. The brand immediately had my attention, and I had to take to my blog to do a review on Anatomeq!
The first product that caught my eye, was Anatomeq’s SolidGrip Jumper Pad. I was seeing some interesting fabric technology, but what really perked my interest to try it for myself, were the key features:
- Perforated vegan suede that provides major grip and air flow
- 3D mesh fabric that wicks away moisture, dissipates pressure points, and delivers superior breathability
- Anatomeq spine channel avoids pressure on the withers and is shaped to contour your horse’s back for a custom fit
- Easy care, quick-drying, wrinkle-resistant, and shrink resistant
- Machine washable
Forrest is an amazing horse who jumps incredibly round and super correctly, often over-jumping anything in front of him by a foot or more. That being said, you can imagine how my saddle and I are hanging on for dear life as we enjoy his fun jump schools. I have a very extensive saddle pad collection, and there are two big issues I face with him and almost all saddle pads (including well-known brands such as Ogilvy, PS of Sweden, Equestrian Stockholm, Roma, LeMieux…):
- Slipping and bunching saddle pads. No one in hunter/jumper land likes how that looks, and I can’t imagine it feels fabulous under the saddle either (although Forrest has never put up a fuss about it, he is always a trooper)!
- Soaking in sweat! I don’t know about your horses, but Forrest sweats A LOT. Being half Clydesdale makes summer difficult, even with being clipped multiple times a year. I’m always looking for sweat control solutions for him, especially this time of year when working in the heat. I have tried so many saddle pads that claim to have the best fabric technology for wicking sweat and keeping your horse cool, but most have flopped. I always keep an open-mind though. So, I had high-hopes with the Anatomeq claims!
I connected with the lovely owner and founder of Anatomeq, Taylor Stafford, and she graciously sent me one of Anatomeq’s SolidGrip Jumper Pads in Electric Navy, along with a pair of Anatomeq’s Soft Support Polos to test out on Forrest.
Taylor also joined me under the TPE Spotlight, where she explains more on the science behind Anatomeq, chats about herself, entrepreneurship, and Anatomeq’s ethical initiatives (click HERE to read it)! I definitely recommend reading up on that if you are like me, and take comfort in knowing where and who exactly your goodies are coming from! It really helps to put a face and motive behind a brand before making a purchase.
My First Impression + Quality Inspection
My first impression when feeling the saddle pad was “Wow – It is so thin! I could fold this up so easily and put in my bag…”. I don’t know about you, but I bring a boat load of stuff to the barn. I’m an over prepared horse mom type of person; i’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it! Anything I can fold or pack easily to lighten the bulky load makes my life 10x better.
I was also impressed with the fabric used for the SoftSupport Polos. I’m 100% a boot type of person. Less fuss, and more protection in my opinion. Plus, I am not keen on fleece polos as they get dirty easily and are difficult to clean. With that being said, I was a little skeptical. But, these polos claim to do some pretty awesome things, such as; cushion and support tendons, prevent heat and moisture retention, moisture-wicking, quick drying, and extremely breathable, dirt resistant, and hair resistant. The 3D spacer fabric technology dissipates pressure points and supports tendons, while the soft fabric is suitable for even the most sensitive legs!
Next, my personal quality inspection. I used to work in fashion design & production, so when I first get something in my hands, I like to personally inspect the product and look at the craftsmanship. If there is a heftier price tag on a product, I really want to make sure I will be getting my money’s worth.
How does one identify high-quality? Look at the details. The intricacy of the stitching, touch & feel the quality of the material, look at the details in the fabric itself from the weaving, threading, type of knit, even the colour… I can look at something and tell just from the Pantone and / or print, whether or not a product is high-quality and finely crafted.
The colour of the Anatomeq pad was a beautiful, rich navy. That alone set the tone for the rest of the product. The suede was incredibly durable, soft, and wrinkle-proof as claimed! I couldn’t believe this was vegan. The stitching and cut was so clean and precise as well. Very high-quality all around!
Oh – did I mention that the saddle pad and polos are MACHINE WASHABLE! Yes, you heard me. Throw it in your washing machine, let it air dry on the porch, and it looks brand new. We’ve all heard that you can’t throw blankets and saddle pads in your home washer machine, because the thickness of horse hair will wear your machine and can risk breaking it completely. So, I have always had to hand wash or power wash my saddle pads… Until now (WOOHOO)!
Performance Test: Do These Products Meet Their “Claim to Fame”?
Forrest looks incredibly handsome in navy, so the colour was a no-brainer for him! I am happy to report the saddle pad fit his large built body perfectly as well. At first glance, I worried it would look pony-sized on him, but it was perfect! Not much excess fabric, and not too small for the end of my saddle’s flaps either. It was a rounded shape, which was nice to see something other than the basic square pad shape. I will say there are no girth straps though, which made me skeptical of the grip & non-slip claims… But, let’s see!
My first time trying out the saddle pad, I recorded our jumping lesson to see from ground-level how it performed (you can watch the video HERE on Instagram). There was no slipping, no bunching, and no movement at all! Never has been the many times I have used this product, both on the flat and when jumping. I also LOVE how thin this saddle pad is, while still feeling cushy. I can feel Forrest and his movements under me, which I love, while still providing him optimal comfort.
I have had the saddle pad and polos for about 2 weeks to thoroughly test them out. Every day I have used these products, it has been around 35°C / 95°F. That’s a pretty hot day for us Canadians! They are truly being put to the sweat test. I have always been keen to see how much sweat there will be to deal with post-ride. I am always pleasantly surprised to find that Forrest isn’t soaked! Whenever I use this saddle pad, he looks fairly dry and merely feels like he got a light misting. Anything breathable that keeps him cool and dry is gold!
Now the polo wraps were incredibly easy to work with, and finding a good tension when wrapping was effortless. The material is very soft, cushy, comfortable, stretchy, and breathable – no itchy legs for Forrest’s sensitive, freshly clipped legs! Plus, you can cut down the length of wraps to better suit your horse!
These polos also claim to be dirt resistant. So, I tried them one day in our very flooded area. The mud and dust brushed off very easily after our ride, and kept Forrest’s socks crisp & white. Hmmm… What else can they do?
I always cold hose Forrest and his legs. After seeing leg cooling devices floating around my Instagram feed, I wanted to see if these polos could double as “cooling polos”. The fabric used is very unique, and I thought the idea might work well. So, I wrapped him up quickly, wet the polos, and let him graze, while the polos cooled off his legs for me. It was a win-win situation; we are cooling legs, using less water, Forrest gets to graze, and I can do some other chores instead of killing my time standing there with a hose!
The saddle pad itself was damp on the inner layer, but dry on the outer layer. I flip it inside-out and simply hang to dry outside, while Forrest gets a cold hosing and some snacks. It doesn’t take long to dry either, maybe 20-30 minutes!
The saddle pad also had little to no horse hair or dirt on it. I groom Forrest thoroughly before and after each ride for 20-30 minutes, but usually some dirt and hair still manages to cling to my saddle pads. I was glad to see it didn’t collect hair – I can see now how this is machine washable! Little to no hair = machine washer friendly.
All in all, Forrest seemed to really like this saddle pad and polos! They fit him nicely, the colours were lovely, the fabric technology does what it claims, and they both keep him cool, dry, comfortable, and clean. Oh – and looking very handsome! What more could you ask for?
In a one word explanation: ASTOUNDING! These products have a clean design, meet every claim (no slip, incredible sweat control technology, no bunching, soft, deliver optimum comfort to the horse), they are so unproblematic, and low-maintenance.
I have a pretty busy life balancing work, school, and horses; i’m a pro at the boardroom to barn balancing act. The small details such as being packable, machine washable, providing optimum comfort, protection, breathability, and being multi-functional – it’s a product that works FOR me. Simply making my life easier, while putting my conscience at ease knowing my horse’s hygiene and comfort are top priority with little effort on my end.
At the end of the day, this saddle pad has quickly become my go-to this summer. I will 110% be purchasing the white and black versions as my staple basic saddle pads. I will be using these polos a lot for cooling his legs down post-ride too.
I think everyone could use an Anatomeq SolidGrip pad in their collection! Especially riders living in hot climates, and those who ride multiple horses a day. It’s light, packable, fits a variety of horses, provides horses with optimum comfort without bulkiness, hygienic and easy to clean, and doesn’t budge under saddle! It’s totally worth the $169 CAD. This is the type of saddle pad that you buy once, and it’ll last you a lifetime.