Tried & Tested: Equilibrium Massage Pad vs Sportz-Vibe ZX Rug

I have long been keen on investing in a massage pad or rug of some sort – something to help warm up the muscles prior to riding or competing, or aiding recovery after strenuous exercise. For me good management of the muscles in my horse’s body is critical to preventing injury or strain.

There are obviously a large number of home massage products on the market for equines, but my budget (and that of many of my fellow amateur friends I am sure) limited my shortlist to the Equilibrium Massage Pad or the Sportz-Vibe rug. My budget won’t stretch much further than either of these, and I wanted a product that I could pop on and leave, while doing other jobs, as I’m so strapped for time (so the Massage Mitt wasn’t suitable). I was extremely lucky to be loaned both of these products to try before I made my decision – the Equilibrium Pad from a friend, and the Sportz-Vibe from Horseworldeu. I used both for just under a week each – here are the pros and cons of each.

Equilibrium Massage Pad

The Equilibrium massage pad offers coverage from withers to quarters, and comes with its own carry bag for easy of transport and storage.

Equilibrium Massage Pad

Paddy trying out the Equilibrium Massage Pad. The ears stayed floppy the whole time!

Pros

  • The company have run studies to prove the efficacy of the pad
  • Contoured to fit the shape of the horse’s back
  • Fits a wide range of horses and ponies – adjustable straps
  • Easy to use, with pre-set programs that run for a set period of time
  • The PVC-type material allows for easy cleaning and warms the back
  • The horse was visibly relaxed and had a warmer back following treatment
  • The price is the lower of the two products at £295/€350 (RRP)

Cons

  • Limited treatment areas – only the back can be done
  • The intensity levels of of the massage are quite low, even at the highest setting
  • The horse cannot be travelled with the pad on
  • The PVC-type material can cause the back to heat up too much and leave sweat patches

Horseware Sportz-Vibe ZX Rug

Following the success of Sportz-Vibe, Sportz-Vibe ZX was created to meet market demand for a completely wirelessly controlled massage rug. The Sportz-Vibe ZX rug is a breathable mesh rug with a detachable hood, and has adjustable elasticated surcingles and chest straps. It has 15 pockets and comes with four massage panels that can be moved between the pockets. It also comes in its own backpack for easy transport and storage.

Horseware Sportz Vibe Rug

Pros

  • Option to treat multiple areas, from neck, shoulder, back, sides, sacraolaic to hindquarters.
  • Can buy additional massage panels to treat up to six locations at once
  • Horse can travel in the rug and does not sweat in it
  • Rug is easy to setup and use, with wireless remote, moveable panels, and three pre-set programs
  • Massage intensity levels vary from a gentle massage to a stronger massage that would be good for post-strenuous exercise
  • Elasticated surcingles allow for adjustment so the rug sits flush with the horse’s body

Horseware Sportz Vibe

Cons

  • The rug only comes in three sizes – it can be a challenge to know which is the right size to get, especially for the “in-between” sizes
  • The rugs are not sold separately – it would be great to be able to replace just the rug if the horse damaged or tore it
  • The neck would benefit from having an option to be tightened further as I found it hung a bit too big on Paddy
  • The price, while in my opinion is a fair price for what you get, is still significantly higher than the Equilbrium Pad at £500/€639 (RRP)

Weighing all of this up, I chose the Sportz-Vibe ZX Rug. I want to be able to treat different areas as and when I need to, and have my horse warmed up when we reach a showgrounds (so be able to travel him in it). The mesh rug will be invaluable for the warmer summer months.

I would recommend the Equilibrium Pad for anyone who just wants to treat the back area, and/or is looking for the cheaper option of the two.

I ordered the Large for Paddy, who is a ‘big’ 6’6″ in rugs, and was just squeezing into the medium when I tried it. I would rather tighten the surcingles to ensure the panels lays flush with his body.

I can’t wait to get my new rug and will share more updates as I start using it!

Natalie xo

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