Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mattes V. Ogilvy: the Great Euro Cut Pad Showdown

I've been making good life choices lately--I scored a deal on Ogilvy profile pads (my favorite!) but they came in the Eurocut design. That's... fine? I've never had Eurocut pads, but they're designed to flatter smaller, thinner horses with less heft in the waist area (if you know what I mean), and that definitely describes Courage.

But before I'd even been able to try out my new pads properly, I also snagged ANOTHER deal on a Mattes Eurocut dressage pad.

So I went from 0 to 3 Eurocut pads in less than a week and still haven't quite established how I feel about the look. But hey! Let's compare these two manufacturers as long as we have the same pads of the same age.


First off, let's just look at what a Eurocut pad is.

It's pretty simple--the back of the pad sweeps up a little, which creates the illusion of depth on a smaller horse. Plus it looks cool. I think probably the looks cool part. That's definitely why I bought them. Plus sales. Mostly sales.


Here's the part I am the most intrigued by. I swear by my ogilvy pads. I'm unconvinced by their half pads, but their baby pads and profile pads? Damn. Unbeatable. Thin enough to wash well, thick enough to hold their shape, contoured enough to keep pressure off the withers and classy enough to look good. They're basically amazing.

But then I found Mattes.
mattes left, ogilvy right
 This is the Mattes flannel pad side by side with the ogilvy profile pad. They are a similar thickness. The mattes is heavier--it's triple-layered flannel with very tight quilts. Per the salesman I talked to, the idea is that the flannel rubs against itself (like double-layered socks) instead of on the horse and the tighter quilts make for less motion, but also increase the cost of production. Also per salesman, Europeans believe that foam tends to be hotter, so the flannel is supposed to be a more horse-friendly option.

The ogilvy doesn't have "large" quilts, but you can definitely see the quality difference here. The ogilvy is still nice (and really, I should have compared the undersides too), but it's just more economically put together. It is foam-filled, which seems congruous with the memory foam half pad they also sell. The ogilvy is a very nice pad, don't get me wrong. It just doesn't offer quite the same luxury feeling that the mattes does.

This is reflected in the price. While I didn't pay full price for either, the Mattes runs $95 new and is rarely on sale and the Ogilvy is around $58 new and never on sale. Both manufacturers offer full custom options for no extra charge, which is brilliant.

Mattes also offers an option for foam inside the pad--I passed on this. It made the pad thicker than I like and I was told that the foam expands and contracts during the washing process which harms the longevity of the pad by loosening the stitching in the quilt.


Obviously, both pads are Eurocut, but there is variation within that style. I took a couple of shots with them laid side by side.
mattes in front, ogilvy behind
They are both definitely contoured for wither relief which is a big deal to me. I ride thoroughbreds with big withers who are deeply sensitive. Both do the job--I mildly prefer the mattes in a head-to head because the angle at the top is a little more severe and it doesn't slid down at all. The ogilvy is still perfectly serviceable in this area. Also, this is a pretty personal thing--if your horse/saddle are shaped differently than mine, you might have different results.

The cut is different through the pad too. The Mattes is a large and the ogilvy is a regular (I think?). Pad sizing is confusing. Regardless, they both go under my 18" dressage saddle no trouble. You can see they're similar in length across the top.
ogilvy on top, mattes on the bottom
The ogilvy fans out a bit-- if you go back to the top of this review, you'll see that it has a bit more rounded cut in the back. The mattes falls pretty much straight down. The mattes is maybe 1-2" narrower because of that, but then it's maybe an inch or two longer in the drop. These are pretty minor differences. I think they both look fine on my saddle, but if you're fitting a pony-sized critter, inches can matter.


Herein lies the rub. (ahaha! I am HI larious). How do they hold up? There are plenty of people who advocate for things like $50 gloves instead of $10 gloves because they last longer. (I'd be convinced except I lose my $10 gloves well before they wear out so your argument is invalid).
my oldest ogilvy dressage pad
Obviously, the ogilvy is the "budget" option*. It clocks in at $58 US and can be had with free shipping if you try a little. They are also carried in VERY OCCASIONAL stores and while that is brilliant, it is also unexpected. Almost no one just stocks dressage ogilvy pads and those who do are apparently haters of fun colors. Unless you count navy. (Not really).
does navy scream "edgy" to you? no. it does not.

The Mattes comes roaring in at $95+, which makes it a pretty big splurge, even with a kickass sale. Mattes is pretty ubiquitous in the dressage world and somewhat easier to come by, though I will confess as a new DQ and fledging linen collector, I haven't looked for these specific pads in as many places. Maybe all DQs only order custom? Don't know.
does he look "fuller" here?

I will say that I've put hard workouts on both pads and they have done the job. They stay put without the use of extraneous straps. (I will will run my billets through a loop. I cut wither straps off. That is all.) I haven't had any rubbing or issues.
seriously i have so many new pads right now that i don't have riding pics in all of them

The mattes presumably costs more because it will last longer. To that I say, we will see. I've had my oldest ogilvy pad about two years at this point and it's going strong. I use it constantly and wash it regularly (SOMEONE can't function with a dirty pad). I will say if you want a more luxurious feel straight out of the package, the Mattes definitely is a bit more high-end feeling, but until it's survived two years+ of daily abuse, I'm not sure what to expect.

I still don't really know what I think of the whole Euro-cut thing. It doesn't offend me, but is it the latest greats thing for C? We will see. I'm actually less interested in the shape and more interested in putting lots of use on all the pads to see what stands up. At last! A luxury argument I can get behind.

*I know, I know. So much money for linen!


  1. I did not know Ogilvy made a Eurocut. Now I want one!

  2. This is funny, because I've been thinking about a new XC pad and yesterday was playing with the Mattes configurator. I've had one of their square pads before eons ago, and while I really liked it, I'm not sure if I liked it as much (long term) as the Ogilvy. At least not enough pay almost twice as much. I'm kinda meh on it though, not a strong feeling one way or the other...

    1. Yeah I think the whole "twice as much $$" thing is really going to deter me from creating a Mattes collection at this juncture. The pad is LOVELY don't get me wrong and it washed great and I love handling it, but the ogilvy does the job too. So.

  3. I simply cannot make myself spend this kind of money on something that my horse sweats on. Nope.

    1. Haha yeah I respect that. I think I've tried on Roeckl gloves at every tack store I've ever been to, but I just. can't.

    2. Once you ride in them you'll be hooked. Such a nice feel! I guess I make the sacrifice and buy the $10 baby pads and get nice gloves instead lol!

  4. Both SO expensive... wow... Definitely couldn't bring myself to spend that much on a square pad! But I have to say I like the shape of the Mattes a LOT better... the Ogilvy just looks weirdly wavy/lumpy?

    1. But it's not a "square" pad! It's a EURO pad. ;-) I get your point though. It's a lot for linen. The problem is that basically all a dq can collect is linen. Super boring.

      I didn't realize how different the shapes were until I started comparing them for this review. Head to head, I do think I prefer the Mattes on Courage--it's very sharp looking. I really need a friend who doesn't have a skinny OTTB to try the ogilvy on and see if the shape of the horse alters my opinion of the cut of the pad.

    2. Yeah, I agree. The Ogilvy almost looks a little sloppy looking.

  5. In my limited experience, the Mattes pads are very sturdy and wear well. Having said that, I have pads that are 10+ years old that I got for $30 that wear well... so at least for home use, I'll stick with the cheap option!

    1. It's hard to really "test" things as a one-horse ammy. Even cheap shit lasts decades because we simply aren't capable of putting a high level of wear on it. It was definitely eye opening for me to work in a couple fancy barns and see how fast you go through certain things. I mean, I've had one set of polos for like... 15 years? It's fine. Whatever. That doesn't happen if you're wrapping 10 horses a day though.

  6. I've been curious about getting some Ogilvy baby pads- good to know they hold up well!

    1. They are basically the holy grail. I loathe spending money on linen, but I cleared out all my old cheap pads and upgraded (slowly) to ogilvy. To me, the biggest selling point (aside from staying put on the horse) is how simple they are to wash. I HATE big, stiff pads.

  7. Omg you are starting a linen collection, what is the world coming to?

  8. i'm very into a more cut-away shape pad so this style appeals to me. not sure i'd ever spend that kind of money on a saddle pad tho haha

  9. I really like the looks of the mattes pad! I'm always looking for super contoured pads because a certain little stinker has the Mount Everest of withers. I'm not sure I can bring myself to pay that much.

  10. I've never even heard of the Eurocut pad before.. I'm so behind the trends, haha.

  11. The dressage barn I used to groom at used mattes exclusively. Washed at least once per week. Never saw one fall apart and they were several years old when i got there.

  12. I have a Mattes Eurocut pad that I LOVE. Katai is definitely small and anything I can do to reduce the size of her dressage pad is good. I've had mine for at least 2 years and it still looks like brand new :)

  13. Love this! I love my Mattes half pad, but love the Ogilvy baby pad. I love saddle pads.. One of these might be in my future...


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