Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Buy The VIP?
You can buy The VIP direct from our website, in the shop, or look for the approved stockists. We accept all major payment methods and PayPal.
Do You Ship Abroad?
Yes we can ship abroad but we will look first and see if there is a stockist in your country.
So far we have stockist in the UK, France and Australia, and we are in talks with the US and we are constantly adding to these countries. The shipping charges for foreign countries will vary and the customer will be billed at cost. Be warned, you may end up paying import tax on your order. The customer is responsible for this tax, usually payable on collection.
HOW MUCH IS POSTAGE?
For the UK postage is a flat £5.50, which is the small parcel first class rate.
CAN I STOCK THE VIP?
We welcome enquiries from potential new stockists. Please look on our website under stockists and click on the application for new stockist form.
IF I AM NOT HAPPY WITH THE VIP CAN I RETURN IT?
We love The VIP and hope you will too. The feedback we have had has been excellent but we acknowledge that not every product is right for every horse and that The VIP is an expensive purchase, so as of 2019 we are offering a 2 week no quibble money back guarantee. If you are unhappy with The VIP outside of this time please do contact us. We are frequently asked if we have any second hand, or ex demo stock available at a cheaper price. We never do but we are happy to put you in contact with any potential buyers so you can sell your pad onto them.
We welcome all feedback good and bad, and would rather work with our customers than find frustrated and disheartening reviews on social media. We can not help if we don’t know there is a problem.
WHAT SIZE SADDLE WILL IT FIT?
The VIP perfectly fits dressage, jumping, event, side saddle and polo saddles with a multitude of panel shapes and sizes, and seat sizes 17 - 18.5 inch. On any saddle smaller than 17 inches the pad will be large and have a bit of overhang but this won’t affect the way it works. If you are wanting a pad for a western saddle, for vaulting we can get you one of these too, but there will be a delay as these are special order.
HOW IS THE VIP DIFFERENT TO OTHER PADS?
Sheepskin is very popular, and after reindeer skin (completely impractical!) was tested a decade or more ago to have the best shock absorbent properties. However, times have moved on. Sheepskin is very bulky and thick and puts the rider a long way off the saddle, which in times of innovative saddle design and a move towards close contact saddles is counter intuitive. It is also tricky to keep clean, everything sticks to sheepskin and if you drop it in the mud its 24hrs before you can get it washed and dry and usable again.
Foam pads have had a lot of investment research wise. The problem with foams, memory foam, closed cell foam is that when you compress it it stays compressed and takes ages to bounce back, and under the weight of a rider it never does. In our mind this diminishes its shock absorbent qualities. Foams can also be bulky. This is great if you have a saddle that doesn’t fit or a horse that is rapidly changing shape because you can fit the saddle a bit big and fill the spaces with the foam pads and shims.
The VIP is designed not to effect the fit of a correctly fitting saddle The most well known market leading gel brand is not ideal either. The thinner versions spread under pressure. If you squeeze the pad between finger and thumb the pads just moves out the way leaving finger and thumb touching. Technically this is described as having a low tensile strength. VIP approached them for testing results and they didn’t have any. The market leader favours sticky pads, read on and see why we don’t like them!
WHY IS THE VIP SO SPECIAL?
Our raw material is incredible! Technically Akton™ (product of Action Inc. USA) is not a gel. It does not leak, flow or bottom out under pressure. It was designed by a surgeon over 40 years ago to prevent and treat pressure sores and ulcers in his patients. Today this raw material is the universal and international gold standard in impact protection.
It is also used by the military, in space ship harnesses, by stunt actors, in American football helmets, in gun recoil pads, in motorcycle seats and many other sporting applications. We searched the world for a raw material that would really help our horses. Only the best would do! This pushes the price up but you can be assured you are using a pad that offers your horse the very best protection
WHICH WAY IS UP AND WHERE DO I PUT THE VIP ON MY HORSE?
Use the VIP always bobble side to the horse, so bobble side down against horse’s back/saddle cloth and smooth side against saddle panels. It is totally hypoallergenic and bacteriostatic so you can either use it directly on your horses back or between the saddle cloth and saddle. Horses have preferences so try both ways to find out what is best for your horse.
WILL THE VIP STOP MY SADDLE SLIPPING?
Rider feedback frequently says that The VIP stops their saddle moving, but we don’t make this claim as the pad was not designed for this purpose.
MY SADDLE FITS, MY SADDLER TOLD ME NOT TO USE ANY PADS
At only 8mm thick, The VIP will not alter saddle fit. The age old analogy says if my shoes fit then why would I make them tight by adding a thick pair of socks. What about if you have amazing fitting shoes and you add a very thin insole that makes them oh so comfortable? This is what the VIP does, it adds a superior lay of cushioning that will give you and your horse the extra edge performance wise. In medical settings the pad is used as a skin/fat substitute in radiotherapy to protect the patient’s skin. Akton behaves just like fat and skin, so in effect what you are doing is adding a thin layer of fat to your horse’s back to offer better cushioning.
Many of our stockists are saddlers and physios. When we started the business we had thought we would be selling to tack shops and direct to the customer, but we were being repeatedly approached by professionals, and this is how we have grown organically.
We have encountered saddlers who have said they don’t like VIP, many of who haven’t seen it! Saddlers love convention and often new things are met with suspicion, especially when new to the market and which haven’t yet been tested on horses. We also have riders who use the pad against their saddlers wishes because they have seen such a remarkable difference is their horses comfort, way of going and willingness.
The horse doesn’t lie! We have also heard from physios who have been to treat a horse who has been really sore in the past and they have gone back and the horse is massively improved. The riders have then mentioned the VIP and the physios have then approached us to be stockists . This happens a lot!
WHY DOES THE VIP HAVE BOBBLES?
We originally got the idea from bubble wrap but fast realised it enabled us to use the maximum amount of raw material without making The VIP bulky and heavy. The bobbles have a small amount of movement, which allows the muscles and fascia to move under the pad. The flat side goes against your panel for maximum contact.
So effectively the top and bottom move separately. This also helps stabilise the saddle. Many riders have reported this has helped their own backs.
IS THE VIP STICKY, WHY DOESN’T IT HAVE AIR HOLES?
No! We hate sticky pads. They cause so many problems. They cause friction, they stick to the horse and pluck hair when removed. The horse moves in a dynamic way and a saddle needs to move a bit with the horse. The muscles need to ‘roll’ under the panels.
‘Air holes’ fill with hair and sweat also adding to this plucking effect. Also, claims manufacturers make that the air holes allow the horses backs to breath don’t make sense. How can a back breathe when you have a gel, a saddle cloth, a saddle and a rider on top?
CAN I ORDER ANOTHER COLOUR?
We can get VIPs made in any colour you want but only with quite a substantial minimum order so this would only be viable for a large yard, a large polo team or similar. This would also be a special order and have a lead time of about 12 weeks.
HOW DO I STORE THE VIP?
Store the VIP away from direct sunlight and heat sources such as radiators, and preferably flat, folded length-ways in half, or draped over your saddle. Keep away from sharp objects.
HOW DO I CLEAN THE VIP?
Easy, just run it under the tap. As it is not sticky you wont need to do this very often as nothing sticks to it. It is not porous and doesn’t absorb water. Don’t use anything abrasive or any kind of chemical soap on the pad. Just hang it over a smooth railing or saddle rack to dry or wipe the water off with a cloth.
WHY DON’T YOU PUT A FUR TRIM ON THE VIP?
Fur trims may look pretty but serve no function. Furthermore, the panels of a saddle never fully sit within the edges of the trim, the outer edge of the saddle panels usually sit partially on the fur. This causes an unnecessary pressure point.
WILL THE VIP MAKE MY HORSE SWEATY?
The VIP will not make your horse any sweatier under the saddle than he is from the work he is doing. If he is sweaty on his neck, between his back legs, behind his ears, around his girth etc., he will be equally sweaty under his saddle with or without the VIP.
The VIP also draws the heat away from the horses back into the polymer.
DO YOU OFFER TRIAL PADS?
We have a limited number of trial pads. Ordinarily, we take a deposit, refundable when the pad is returned in the condition it was sent. We also charge a small amount to cover post and packaging and the admin involved.
CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT PERCENTAGE THE VIP REDUCES IMPACT BY?
Currently we can’t quantify this for you. We have only been trading since the beginning of April 2018 and decent research is very very expensive. As soon as we have the funds, independent testing is right at the top of our priority list. We have had amazing feedback, and combined with the 40 years of published human research and the numerous studies that have been done in multiple other sporting applications, we are very confident (and excited!) to get these results.
WILL YOU SPONSOR ME?
We don’t offer any financial sponsorship, just brand ambassadorships supplying product and kit. We already work with a number of riders, but welcome new proposals. To be considered you must demonstrate how you can help our brand . Proposals must also demonstrate a wide reaching audience across multiple platforms . Screenshots showing post engagement from the analytics sections of your pages are also good.
We are particularly interested in hearing from disciplines we are under represented in, Show jumpers, side saddle riders, showing competitors, racing, and polo people.