The Invictus Saddle Pad is the only pad featuring the market-leading, patented D3O® Smart Material Technology. This provides optimal protection for the horse's back in a thin pad that interferes neither with the fit of the saddle, nor the communication between horse and rider.
The reactive molecules, which pull together and disengage depending on pressure, are the reason that this material outperforms any conventional pad material of comparable thickness, and achieves the same or higher protection values than materials that are significantly bulkier (see table below).
D3O® is the leading technology in all markets where thin, flexible and efficient protection is important (eg protective clothing for biking, skiing / snowboarding and motorcycling).
Our tests were carried out in the D3O® laboratory in Croyden, UK according to EN1621 test standards.
We used machines to measure the effects of pressure energies from 5 to 40 joules. The machines were applied in such a way that the pressure to which the horse's back is subjected during walk, trot, canter and the landing phase after a jump could be measured under consistent conditions. It was determined how much peak transmitting force the respective materials let through.
Pads that bottomed out were excluded from further testing because they could no longer offer protection.
PFT: Peak Transmitted Force = The measured pressure in kN (kiloNewton) that can be felt by through a material.
Protection Value = Impact Energy divided by PTF
We tested the actual materials that provide protection. In most cases, the pads have only a very thin cover around the material. The Invictus Pad consists of two layers: the 6mm thick D3O® material (according to the table) and a 9mm thick spacer fabric, which supports the fit of the pad and the breathability. Therefore, the Invictus Pad is listed with 1,5cm in the product description, but with 6mm in the table.
In addition to the protection values shown in the table, following are the measured PTF values (i.e. the pressure that can be felt through the material).
5 J = Walk
10 J = Rising trot
20 J = Gallop
30 J = Jumping
40 J = Impact on landing after jump
(These are averages)
Under pressure from 5J to 25J, the materials of the leading functional pads showed from 123% to 329% more PTF.
Under pressure from 25J to 40J, up to 123% more PTF was measured compared to the Invictus Pad.
Our tests showed that high quality memory foam pads can provide good protection. However, they are considerably thicker, and that brings problems such as excessive movement and potential change in the optimal saddle position, as well as a less ideal heat and moisture management. In addition to better pressure dispersion, the Invictus pad also provides optimal support for the saddle position. It convinces on all points, from performance to ergonomically correct design.
Normal gel could only be tested to 20J. With greater pressure it bottomed out. The oil-based gel performed better, but had to be pulled from testing at 30J as it bottomed out as well. With gel pads, one must also keep in mind that this material is extremely unstable on the horse's back, because it moves not only horizontally but also laterally. The horse uses the back muscles to balance itself. It already compensates for movements of rider and saddle. Therefore, an interface between saddle and horseback should be as stable as possible.
The Thinline® Pad could be tested up to a pressure of 40J; however, the protection provided by this material does not match the performance standards of the Invictus D3O® XT material.
The following results are based on the experience from a wide range of riders who worked with horse osteopaths, equine body workers, saddlers and saddle fitters as part of our tests.
In horses with a well muscled back without problems, we saw in our tests an improvement in gaits, rideability and general demeanor. In horses with tensions in the back, the riders felt that the horses were learning to work without discomfort and willing to use or develop the back muscles. (Of course, tensions need to be resolved by Equine Bodyworkers and / or Osteopaths before relearning can begin.)
As soon as the horse's back works correctly and the horse can move in a balanced manner, it will also be much easier for the rider to keep a calm seat. Riders with back problems have reported that riding with the Invictus Pad is much more comfortable.