I recently did a poll on instagram, and overwhelming you guys wanted the low down on Draper Therapies and their products. I am happy to deliver the goods, so here you go:
Company: Draper Therapies
Claim to Fame: Celliant, an FDA determined medical device, a proprietary blend of minerals which have been extruded into a polyester fiber.
Products: Similar to other therapeutic brands, Draper Therapies offers equine, canine, and human products. The equine offerings include everything from sheets, to polos, to bonnets. Click here to see their full list of products.
I specifically have Draper Therapies polos and a saddle pad, so that is what I’ll focus on for this review. I had been wanting another ‘therapeutic pad’ for awhile, and decided to branch out from BoT. Rio has a roach back so I always worry about tightness in his back. Therefore, any product that claims to help with stiffness is worth a try in my book. My barn pretty commonly uses polos, so I also wanted to see how those compare to BoT polos. Apples to apples, the price of the polos is very comparable ($50 vs $43 for BoT). The pad is a bit pricier ($155 vs $69 for BoT). So what did I think of the products?
First off, I was immediately impressed with the quality of the products when they arrived. I also appreciate that they are made in USA. The saddle pad (I got the all-purpose pad in white) appears very well made and just oozes quality. The white fabric on top is almost a suede finish (not quite suede, but very soft). My immediate concern was that it would stain easily and not stay pretty and white. I am happy to report that I have washed it twice now and it comes out sparkly white and looking like new each time (washing is super easy, according to the instructions you can use the washer and dryer, and even bleach if necessary without harming the product or interfering with it’s therapeutic properties.)
The underside of the pad is this fuzzy gray wool material that feels nice and cushy. I worried it would get weird after washing and drying, but no, it seems completely unaffected. I also worried it would get SOAKED with sweat, but also no. It doesn’t appear to soak-up water like you might expect. Not to say it’s not breathable, it just didn’t absorb sweat and become a sloppy mess like I initially thought it might based on first impression of the material.
Rio definitely seems to like the pad. I was flatting last night while my trainer was giving a private lesson. Afterwards, we were chatting and she mentioned how loose he had looked during my ride. Can I guarantee a saddle pad made the difference? No. But could it have helped? For sure! I kind of feel like with all the alternative therapies for horses on the market these days, it can hard to prove the efficacy of their claims. I need a saddle pad regardless though, so I might as well use a high quality one that could be offering additional benefits.
Speaking of efficacy, the fabric technology that Draper uses (Celliant) is FDA determined as a medical device. They have 4 published clinical studies currently with a 5th in the works. I don’t pretended to know the ins and outs of all the research, but I do have a bio degree that I hope gave me at least a little bit of foundation when it comes to some of this science stuff. I read over the studies and they really do look pretty convincing. Three of those studies focused on measuring the increase in trans-cutaneous oxygen levels, which has been shown to increase performance and improve muscle recovery. All three studies confirmed a measurable increase in oxygen levels.
A fourth study showed a statistically significant reduction in pain in patients suffering from conditions such as diabetic neuropathy, arthritis and other conditions caused by poor blood circulation. I work first hand with patients that experience leg pain due to poor circulation. If something as simple as a socks made with Celliant can truly help increase circulation and thus decrease their pain then that is huge. I wish I could hand them out to my patients! Below is the FDA info about Celliant:
The FDA has determined that Celliant products are medical devices as defined in section 201(h) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and are general wellness products. As such, the FDA has found that products containing Celliant:
- Increase Energy – This energy penetrates the muscle and tissue to promote a temporary increase in local blood flow
- Better Endurance
- Faster/Quicker Recovery
- Enhanced/Increased Performance
- Increase/Enhance Speed
- Improve/Increase Strength
- Increase Stamina
- Helps increase comfort and promotes restful sleep
After reading up about the studies that have been done on Celliant I got curious about other equestrian brands that claim therapeutic properties. We all know about Back on Track and their ‘Welltex’ fabric. I went back and visited their clinical studies page and definitely felt like I was left wanting. Celliant is the ONLY FDA determined fiber that is currently being used in the horse market. BoT, Rambo Ionic, Weatherbeeta, Professional’s Choice- none of those brands that are selling therapeutic products are using fibers that have the approval of the FDA, or the depth of clinical studies that Draper Therapies has. Now, I am not saying those products don’t provide some benefits- maybe they do. I use tons of BoT products on the off chance that they are helping my horse. Maybe those companies didn’t want to invest the money in the research required to seek FDA determination, I really don’t know. I am just saying that if you want to spend the money on therapeutic products and you want it to be backed by some pretty eye-opening research done in humans, then I would suggest looking into Draper Therapies and the clinical studies that are readily available to the public on their website.
Ok, I’m going to step off that soap box now and get back to talking about the actual products. I also have a pair of Draper Therapies “perfect polos”. They are really nice quality combi-wrap type polos, a mix of the soft fleece-like Celliant fabric and stretchy fabric. The normal polo fabric goes along the horse’s leg and then you wrap over it with the slightly stretchier fabric that is also lined with a silicone grip type material. The combination makes for a very secure feeling wrap!
Due to the 2 part fabric of the polos it took me a sec to figure out how to wrap them properly, but once I figured it out it was easy to repeat the process. I like that the outer fabric is a little bit elasticized, but be sure not to pull them tight. The polos looked really sharp and arena sand didn’t get inside them like sometimes happens with regular polos. They are definitely comparable to other high-end brand combi-wraps, most notably Saratoga bandages, which retail for $70. With Draper’s perfect polos you get the combined benefit of the Celliant technology with a high-quality outer bandage for added support and security for a very reasonable $50. I feel that these polos are a much nicer then BoT ones for only a few dollars more. I have only had them for about a month, but so far they seem much more durable as well.
My overall impression about Draper Therapies products is overwhelmingly positive. My only tiny complaint is that I wish the saddle pad was a smidge bigger. That being said I have a 4AA flap on my saddle, meaning it is EXTRA long and EXTRA forward, because I am a behemoth at 6 ft tall. I held the pad up to my BoT one and they are almost identical in size, but I would take an extra inch in each direction for a PERFECT fit. I realize that most of you probably aren’t riding in giant saddles like me though. I don’t use the girth straps on the Drapper pad since my saddle flaps are so long. Thankfully, the pad doesn’t slide, so the fact that is a hair undersized for my saddle really isn’t an issue. I could flatten it down on Rio’s back and make the girth straps work, but I prefer a lot of wither clearance.
I also realize that the initial price of $150 may feel pricey for a saddle pad, but I do think the quality and technology behind it make this pad a good value. The polos are just phenomenal all around and are a steal IMO at $50. I recently ordered a replacement BoT mesh sheet for Rio but after learning more about Draper Therapies I am strongly considering returning it for a Draper stable sheet instead. Again, I’m a a bit of a skeptic when it comes to therapeutic fabrics, but Draper sure seems to have some strong science backing up their claims. At a similar price point to BoT, it seems worth a try. I am really not convinced BOT sheets do anything, yet I still spend the money in the hope that they do. Seems like I should put my money where the science is!