Tale as old as time… song as old as rhyme… Ogilvy and Ecogold…
You’re either an Ogilvy fan or an Ecogold fan. You can’t like both. You just can’t. In fact, some Ogilvy fans have been overheard telling Ecogold fans “you can’t sit with us” and vice versa (slight exaggeration).
But really, what’s the difference between the two? Is one really better than the other? Why is there such a strong divide?
I was given the opportunity to try both pads out for an extended period of time, and I would like to extend a huge thank you to Patricia DaSilva of Ecogold for sending me a free Jumper Flip Half Pad™, which I adore (the Flip Half Pads are gorgeous – check them out, for real!)
For those of you that haven’t read my Ogilvy reviews, you can find them here and here. I tried the Ogilvy pad first and paid full price for it. I’ve been using it for about a year, but results were obvious within the first couple of months. I used the Jumper Flip Half Pad™ for about two – three months to get a fair assessment of its qualities, effectiveness, and comparison to the Ogilvy. I also reached out to other individuals, including some of my guest writers, that have used both half pads and have formulated their own opinion as to which half pad they prefer.
Note: I am only reviewing the Flip Half Pad. For a review of the Ecogold Hunter Half Pad, please click here. For a short version of the review, it is well worth the money, especially if you need a half pad suitable for the hunter and equitation ring.
First, let’s explore the two half pads.Ogilvy:
- Customizable in a wide variety of colors;
- To change colors, you must change covers;
- Comes in a jumper, dressage, and soon-to-be-released hunter version;
- Inserts are made of Memory Foam;
- Must remove inserts to machine wash;
- Comes in two types: Gummy and regular. The Gummy pad is a thinner version not designed to fix saddle fit;
- Tends to alter saddle fit (if you don’t get the Gummy pad);
- Backed by Lillie Keenan, Reed Kessler, Ashlee Bond Clarke, the Philippearts brothers, and more;
- Retails for $199.00 (without customization) at Ogilvy.com
- Comes in a “flip” model which allows you to choose white or black for one side and another color for the other side; these colors, however, are limited to: Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green, Ruby Red (Orange Is The New Black, anyone?), Silver, Gold, Chocolate, Purple
- Flip feature allows for easy changeability when it comes to colors;
- Available in a dressage and jumper model;
- Has an air vent to keep your horse cool;
- Made of “[t]he highest level of protection for your horse! Offering superior supporting force and durability than conventional foam or memory foam (low resilience), High Resilience Foam reduces pressure at the points of greatest weight and quickly springs back after impact to provide support and protection to your horse’s back.”1
- Machine washable as is. There is no need to remove the inserts;
- Backed by Scott Stewart, McLain Ward, John French, Karen O’Connor, Phillip Dutton, and more;
- Retails for $249.00 at Ecogold.ca
I started using the Ecogold half pad on my horse Luther, and I found it to be very effective and useful. It fit him perfectly, and he was very willing to work under saddle with it. Luther is very high withered, and we also had a lot of trouble keeping weight on as well as building his top line (at the time). I found that the pad created a lot of cushioning and made riding under saddle more comfortable for him. He seemed as willing to work under saddle as he was with the Ogilvy pad. It fit him well. One difference I found between the Ecogold and the Ogilvy is that I didn’t have to wait to sit in the saddle for the half pad to “smoosh” down. The Ogilvy tends to be a bit bulky when it is initially put on, and it doesn’t conform completely to the horse until you sit in the saddle. I did not have that problem with the Ecogold. I also found that the air vent feature worked extreme well. Luther was not as sweaty after working on hot days. It seemed to keep his back cool, especially after a hard ride. I found that Luther also was not as back sore.
I’ve also used the Ecogold half pad on my new horse Monte. He is younger and has more weight on him as well as NO withers. I found that the saddle was less stable with the Ecogold half pad than it was with the Ogilvy half pad; however, this may just be because he does not need a half pad for my saddle. Additionally, during my test rides, I found that once I began riding, the saddle felt more stable with the Ecogold as it seemed to be compressing down into shape on Monte. The Ogilvy definitely compressed better with Monte than the Ecogold, but this just may be a matter of conformation. Overall, I did not see any differences in his willingness to work under saddle. He still stretched out, seemed comfortable, and wanted to work – which I would expect from a younger horse with no back issues.
In terms of cosmetics, I’ve found that the Ecogold pad doesn’t stain as easily as the Ogilvy pad. I have ridden in it for over two months and have not once had to wash it whereas the Ogilvy pad is ready for a wash after a couple rides (Full Disclaimer: I mostly ride in my white Ogilvy pad; I have a Sapphire Blue/White Ecogold Flip pad.)
Guest writer Joscelyn Richards has this to say about the Ecogold vs. Ogilvy debate:
“In my opinion EcoGolds (sic) are better for people who don’t like a lot of padding in between them and their horse,” she said. “Ogilvy pads are super comfortable but sometimes the cushioning can get overwhelming. I would say neither pad is superior to the other because each pad works best with different horses and riders. ”Guest writer Terise Cole found the Ecogold to be “more shock-absorbing and protective on” her “horse’s back.”
“The Ogilvy felt like it filled in where my saddle didn’t fit perfect, but it didn’t add much extra protection,” she said. “I still have and use both half pads, but I find myself reaching for my Ecogold more.”
Mariah M. said that she prefers the Ecogold over the Ogilvy after experiencing both. She originally used an Ogilvy on a Thoroughbred recovering from hock and stifle injuries.
“Since he was still weak and did not have much in the way of a topline, I decided to get him a nice half pad to help. The Ogilvy seemed like a great choice, and I was definitely pleased with it,” she said. “I loved choosing the colors, how much it compressed, and the fact that it made the majority of my back pain disappear. He still had some days where he was lame, but they were not as common as before.”
After Mariah’s Ogilvy half pad was stolen, she spent some time debating whether to get a new one or to try a different brand. She decided to try a half pad from Ecogold.
“…I have to say that I am more pleased with it overall,” she said. “…it seems to not compress as much so saddle fit is slightly changed but not horribly. It doesn’t help my back as much, and it’s a little harder to wash. It does, however, seem to absorb impact better, and this horse has not had a day where he has been lame since I’ve started using it on him.”
Mariah acknowledges that there could be other factors than just the half pad, but the horse she is riding had the whole winter and part of the spring off so he did lose muscle. Despite this, “he has been nicer to ride, more willing, and able to stretch down more since I’ve started using the Ecogold half pad.”
“He definitely seems happier with the Ecogold instead of the Ogilvy,” she said.
Even though Mariah prefers the Ecogold, she does know horses that go the exact same in both pads.
Other riders are more biased.
Liv Godfrey, another guest writer, said that Ogilvy half pads tend to alter the saddle fit whereas Ecogold pads provide more support. She also said that Ecogold pads have much more ventilation and slip protection.
“[I]t [Ogilvy half pads] slips down really bad when you’re jumping like 3’6, even 3′,” Liv said.
Becca Bueno, however, said it hurts to ride without her Ogilvy half pad.
“I was crushed by a horse a year and a half ago, and I have to ride in a brace. It hurts when I ride even with the brace but with the Ogilvy it hurts significantly less,” she said.
She added that Ogilvy half pads are “totally worth the money.”
This Twitter anon had this to say:
@legalEq the first time I rode my 25 year old in it, we had the best hack we’ve had in years. He was clearly very comfortable!
— Bayoncé (@Bay_on_ce) July 30, 2015
And Meredith, another Twitter user, said this of her Ogilvy: “[S]ince using my Ogilvy half pad, my horse has been more accepting in the bridle and rounder in his back. He loves them!”
Gabi Sorrentino said: “My mare has cold back and is very back sore. After riding in Ogilvy once I could tell that she was happier, feeling better, and was already moving better. I also have some minor back issues[,] and it even helped me feel better and healthier!”
Brooke doesn’t own an Ogilvy, but had this to say about one she borrowed: “My mare hates shows. For any odd reason she feels out of place, and having someone on her back makes her anxious, no matter who it is. Her back is tender, and she’s a sensitive horse. One ride in this Ogilvy, she was silent. I’m not kidding you; this Ogilvy literally was a stress reliever for my mare.”
Brooke added that her mare didn’t buck once at the show, never reared or was mean, antsy, or touchy. “She was quiet, and smooth, and obeyed. And I’ve never seen her act like that,” she said. “We have ridden in any other type of half pad.. and never has she ever acted like she did in an Ogilvy.”
Kat said that Ogilvy has proven itself as a truly innovative company, one that has quality products and continues to be world renowned for that quality. Kat also gives Ogilvy credit for staying true to its roots as a small Quebec-based company that remains in Quebec and still has its production and assembly line in Quebec.
Naya Shim, however, swears by her Ecogold half pad.
“…I did try an Ogilvy before getting an Ecogold since I thought it was fair to give both a try. I never tried an Ecogold prior to riding with the Ogilvy, [I had] only seen them at vendors at shows,” Naya said. “So to start, the material of the Ogilvy wasn’t something I was totally for because it just felt so hot. The suede didn’t seem breathable to me and with a horse that sweats a lot in the saddle area, it was already a con for me.”
Overall, there does seem to be a great divide amongst Ogilvy half pad users and Ecogold half pad users with each having strong opinions on why they choose to use the equipment they do.
I tend to subscribe to the view that each half pad works differently with different horses. My Ecogold works beautifully with Luther, but it doesn’t work so well with my little pudgeball Monte. My Ogilvy, however, works wonderfully with both Luther and Monte. Additionally, last year when I was schooling my former barn manager’s child’s pudgy pony, my Ogilvy half pad stabilized my saddle so I didn’t feel like it was going to roll off the side, no matter how secure the girth felt.
So overall, it is up to you and your personal preference when choosing a half pad. Hopefully the variety of opinions I compiled along with my own experiences using both have helped you in making that choice.
Have you tried either or both half pads and have a strong opinion on which one is best? Let us know in the comments below or shoot us a tweet! We would love to hear from you.