First things first, May and I had our best ride in a LONG TIME last night. I am not quite sure why. I am not even sure if she was that good. But it was the first time in a long time that I felt really secure and comfortable in the saddle and May felt super relaxed and like energy was just flowing forward without tension. Hard to explain, and possibly all in my head. But I’ll take it!

On top the topic of this post – 5 items that I bought that, looking back on it, I probably should’ve passed on. If some of these are your favorite items, let me know! The tricky part of finding riding gear is how much of it is about the preferences of you and your horse.

1. Ogilvy Half Pad

Yes – I have one of these. You can see it picking out in the picture below. (gosh my eq here…)


Anyway, this pad makes the following claims on its website:

The MemoryFoam acts as a buffer that fills any voids between the saddle and the horse, stabilizes the saddle, and provides shock-absorption for the backs of both horse and rider. This half pad will have your saddle fitting perfectly on every horse, even with custom made saddles….

A SECRET NO LONGER: as good for the riderโ€™s back as for the horseโ€™s back!


  • Anti-slip
  • V-Shape: special protection for the withers and the back.
  • Maximum breathability, moisture wicking
  • Superior Shock absorption
  • No rubbing, no friction
  • Distributes pressure
  • Anti-microbial and anti-fungal
  • Stain resistant
  • Improved saddle fit
  • Quick dry.

– See more at:



That’s… a lot. BUT I originally bought this pad for my old horse because he was just a lot more sensitive. He also made my back hurt like no other horse I have ever ridden. Now that I am a bit more educated, I really think his conformation didn’t work for my conformation and that it had nothing to do with saddles and half pads (I owned a devoucoux monoflap with him with short, forward flaps. Dream saddle for me. Would never work for May.)


Final thoughts, no, this pad will not made any saddle magically fit your horse. What a terrible claim to make. It worked great for my sensitive fellow, but just makes my saddle less stable on May’s back. (please do not smooth out what little withers she had, I need those). I should probably sell it, but it has some sentimental value. As a result, it sits at home, in a climate controlled room. Just in case I end up with another sensitive horse with withers.

2. Tailored Sportsman Icefill Shirt

This was not a cheap sunshirt. It retails for $65, and I think it was the first ice fill shirt I ever bought. It is also, by far, the warmest one. Seriously, I wear this as a layer over my underarmour in the winter because it helps wick moisture away to avoid the chills. The material also clings in a weird way. (that’s probably why I really only have pics of me wearing vests over this shirt. Warm and not super flattering).

The thing is though? Other people LOVE these shirts. 97% of Smartpak reviewers recommend this product. (Granted 100% would recommend the Kastel shirt, but that only has 5 reviews). Maybe try it… but you’re better off with the Kastel one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

3. Majyk Equipe XC Boots

This is probably the most controversial thing I have ever said on my blog hahaha. These just didn’t work for May. They spin, they gather dirt, mud, etc, and I really just prefer my Prof Choice ones.ย  Maybe it’s just the conformation of her legs, short and wide with big “joints”. I have no idea, but I was never able to get them to work. (Below you can see how the front right one spun)

Now, I just use them for Dressage schools and conditioning rides. Looking back at photos, these actually never even made it to a XC school. Go figure.

4. “Premium” Helmets

I have two premium helmets that I retired before they technically needed to be replaced. First, the Samshield.

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โค๏ธ #may #palomino #draftcross #ponylove

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This was not a bad helmet, and I really loved it when I first got it. It breathed a lot better than my old GPA, and it fit my head better. However, after the below fall, I don’t think I hit my head. I went helmet shopping anyway, and realized that the OneK fit me MUCH better and felt more solid on my head.

Did I hit my head? No idea. My brain has blocked this memory.

Before the Samshield though, was the worst helmet purchase I ever made.

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Winston <3 #nofilter #justlove

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The GPA Speedair helmet. Everyone remember this helmet flying off the heads of Eq riders in the early 2010s? I do. And it would’ve come flying off my head too if I ever fell in it. I still love the look of it (sorry, not sorry), but there is no way I would event in it.

5. Herm Sprenger Spring Stirrups

See them in that above picture? I don’t know what I was thinking. I had ridden in them before buying them and HATED them. My friend swore by them and told me I just needed to get used to them. SO I bought a pair. I never liked them, and apparently, neither did my eq. It looks like I only used them for a few months before getting rid of them again. And that is why I buy things used!

I replaced them in October of 2014 with the MDC stirrups (couldn’t find them used), and I recommend these to everyone I meet. They are stable, comfortable, and don’t bother my bum ankle.

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Oh hey beautiful

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I know I talk a lot about the things I ADORE, but I hadn’t really done reviews on these other items. How about you? What products did you drop $$ on that ended up not working for you?

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  1. martidoll123

    I don’t have a half pad for the same reasons you (wide load horses) say (I do have a fleecy one I used before i got my saddle but it was not stable). I love my magyk boots but i am sure each horse is different. I find all the sunshirts no matter the brand to be hotter than I think they would be (and less flattering for a woman of, ahem..curves HA) and I love my OneK too (I had shitty helmets bfore i bought the Onek, like 30-40 dollar helmets HA). OH and MDC stirrups. LOVE. I have a pair and (actually had two but sold the second pair with my dressage saddle) can’t imagine riding in anything else. Umm Amanda is the cause of me having at least two of those items. ๐Ÿ™‚ But yeah that halfpad sure does promise a lot. I know people who love them but pretty sure it doesn’t do all that ๐Ÿ˜‰ HA HA HA

    Glad you had a good ride on May!!

    1. Emily

      Yup. A wool flocked saddle that fits properly seems to be enough for May. I think I have a thinline pad somewhere too? But that was a super cheap find 2nd hand. It was never long enough to fit my saddle properly.

  2. the_everything_pony

    Amber liked the Ogilvy better than the Thinline I’d had for her, but she was sensitive backed I think just from being really used to western saddles. There was so little “space” between me and her in an English saddle that I think she was just overly sensitive. Interestingly enough tho, when I’d stick the half pad on her after her surgery, she’d grind her teeth and pin her ears. No such behavior with the dressage saddle and no Ogilvy. Hmm lol. I do want to try those turned MDC stirrups. I think they’d help my ankles and knees since I already have issues with those I just haven’t been able to fork over the money yet lol. I’m partial to kerrits and kastel sunshirts as well lol.

    1. Emily

      Interesting about the half pads! Like I said, sometimes it really comes down to personal preferences. Even when the “person” in personal is your horse!

  3. emma

    agreed completely on the ogilvy memory foam pad and the magyk equipe boots. the foam pad was…. basically ridiculous on my arab mare, i was miles away from her back and it completely destabilized my saddle. i used it once then sold it immediately haha.

    the MEs i think work if they fit your horse 100% perfectly…. but every horse i’ve used them on they’ve spun and rubbed, and i eventually sold them. some friends have had similar experiences too, even with the more common TB legs. i’ve been told the spinning is user error by “putting the boots on incorrectly” but…. yea, i don’t think so if it’s only this one particular brand that’s spinning.

    1. Emily

      Oh I am glad I am not the only one! I am not sure how else to put them on… I’m not really comfortable making them super tight because then there seems to be compression on the tendon, which I can’t imagine is good.

      The memory foam is definitely a product for a certain “type” of horse and saddle combo.

  4. uncanny580

    I also did not like the Ogilvy half pad – but swear by their saddle pads. I hated the feeling of being SO FAR AWAY from my horse. It killed my back and doesn’t actually make your saddle fit better.

    1. Emily

      I think its interesting that it bothered your back more! I wonder if that was part of my problem with my old horse. Maybe because it might create some instability?

      1. uncanny580

        For me, I think it was because it had the feeling of double bouncing me in the trot work. But any instability I think would kill a person’s back.
        I am a diehard thinline user, and if I ever need to add a half pad again that will be the first one I will go for.

  5. Centered in the Saddle

    I completely agree about the TS ice fill shirts. It’s definitely my warmest one and I wear it as a layering piece instead of a sun shirt. Kastel all the way!! I do need an Ogilvy for Duke; he had kissing spine surgery a couple of years ago and so we (his owner and me and anyone else who rides him) are pretty obsessive about protecting his back in any way possible. I tend to think a well-fitted saddle is better than a half pad in general, but in his case, I use the Ogilvy. For helmets, I love my Ovation Schoolers for daily rides and lessons! For cross country I did get a skull cap, and a friend gave me a nearly-new Charles Owen that didn’t quite fit her right, which I wear for dressage and show jumping at horse trials.

    1. Emily

      Glad to hear the Ogilvy pads help Duke! I think it is definitely one of those products that makes a huge difference for some… and is just a bit of an annoyance for others.

      The TS Shirt… great layer under a vest when its slightly chilly out hahaha

      I’ve never had a schooling helmet and a show helmet. Would love a skull cap one day though!

      1. Centered in the Saddle

        This is the first time I’ve had so many helmets lol. The Ovation ones are so inexpensive and comfortable, which makes them great for day-to-day.

        1. Emily

          If it were up to me, I would have a different helmet for each day of the week hahaha. Just so many options out there now!

  6. Amanda C

    You have some of my favorite things but also some of my least favorite things on this list lol.

    1. Emily

      ๐Ÿ˜‰ I bet I could tell you which ones are which hahahaha.

  7. roamingridersite

    Interesting list with a lot of popular products. I’ve never used a half pad but in general I dislike memory foam so the Ogilvy isn’t on my list of products to try. The ME boots are though…I wonder if they would spin on Sir Doofus who is a bit of a tank.

    1. Emily

      I think they have a fairly friendly return policy, and you would know pretty quickly if they don’t work. (I bought mine through riding warehouse, an really should’ve just returned them)

  8. Sarah

    Totally agree about the Ogilvy halfpad and TS sun shirts! I ended up selling my halfpad after it started to collect dust – I felt it created too much bulk and made it harder to do up the girth on my hippo horse. Plus when I bight my new saddle the rep recommended no half pad since the fit was good without.
    The sun shirts I soooo wanted to love, but the fit just doesnโ€™t work for me unfortunately (or fortunately for my wallet).

    1. Emily

      Yeah. I am already using a girth extender at this point. The girl cant take anymore bulk! hahaha

  9. hellomylivia

    Really interesting list! I’m currently using a sheepskin halfpad (Francis changed shape AFTER I had the saddle fitted to him, go figure) on the recommendation of our saddle fitter. I’ve never tried the memory foam, because we get pretty customized with the shims. And I actually love the TS sunshirts! I have a couple different kinds, but they’re my go-to. I absolutely adored the One-K I tried on and was on the fence about getting it, but my weirdly-shaped-child-sized head really only worked with the CO. But I totally get why people love them so much!

    1. Emily

      I love the look of the TS sunshirts, but man, they suffer in the KY heat/humidity. I definitely still find opportunities to wear it though!

      I have never found a CO to fit me, but I do like the look/customization options.

  10. Jannae Cox

    I agree to an extent on the Ogilvy. It never worked for Charmer, but currently for Banner, it has actually helped fill in the extra room in our saddle. My goal is still to get him a better fitting saddle to eliminate the Ogilvy half pad because I’m not sure how much I like it. However, I *adore* their baby pads! And the Majyk boots are interesting! You are definitely not the first person I’ve heard say those things about their boots, but I’ve never had so much as a minor rub from them even on my sensitive thoroughbreds. ALSO BURN THOSE HS STIRRUPS. I despise those things haha. I think these kind of posts are interesting about things that didn’t work! Sometimes you learn just as much from these posts as you do from things that did work posts!

    1. Emily

      The Ogilvy baby pads are beautiful. I am (not so) secretly coveting the Eventing Profile pad. So classy and so pretty.

      Should’ve burned the HS stirrups. I think I was able to sell them for what I paid for them, so someone likes them!

  11. nadsnovik

    I think some things are “pretty” or “trendy” and clearly state they can change your world, so we try them, and think we’re supposed to like them. So, good on you for saying otherwise ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t have any of the things you mentioned except perhaps the stirrups. Which I don’t care too much about, but I will say Alison Springer reamed me for using them, so I guess she’s not a fan either, lol.

    1. Emily

      This is so true. Everyone loves X, so if I don’t love X, it must just mean I am not “used to” it yet. Or I haven’t seen the “Full benefits” yet. Nope. It’s probably just that I don’t actually like X.

  12. My husband has an Ogilvy and it works really well for Eugene. I’d like one myself, but I like sheepskin for reducing friction. I had Herm Springer Bow Balance stirrups and really didn’t like them. My husband uses them now and he likes them, so I think it’s all personal. I have a Lund bridle that I really just don’t like. Everyone else in the horsey blogosphere apparently loves them, but I didn’t.

    1. Emily

      Yeah. I definitely think a lot of stuff comes down to personal preference. It just can be so disappointing when $$$ products just don’t work for you.

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