Becs and I started the search for a sheepskin numnah that didn’t cost the earth a few years ago when Zag first arrived with us. We wanted top quality but didn’t want to pay hundreds of pounds for something that, at the end of the day, was going to get covered in mud and sweat!
We tried three mainstream brands that are popular in the UK (and not cheap!) but we were hugely disappointed – the sheepskin layer was too thin, the numnah didn’t wash well even after following the care advice and after a couple of washes it was looking old and bedraggled or we simply felt that our precious lad wasn’t getting enough protection.
Zag looking particularly smart in his half lined Engel numnah with pommel roll.
Becs decided to look further afield and did some research in the U.S to see if there were more options and she found Engel products, which are manufactured and distributed by American company U.S. Sheepskin Inc. When you see these numnahs/saddlecloths in the flesh you will understand our excitement – they are absolutely outstanding, with the manufacturer promising they will continue to improve the quality and design (we don’t see how they can!!).
The benefits of sheepskin are widely known when it comes to protecting your horse; natural wicking properties to absorb sweat quickly (7 times faster than synthetic materials) to make sure your horses are kept cool and protected from rubbing and chaffing and natural sheepskin is also dirt and bacteria resistant. Engel use one inch of the best Merino sheepskin in their numnahs, creating a superb shock absorbing layer for jumping or when you are in the saddle for a long time.
We have now been using Engel for two years and have never had any regrets. The half-lined numnahs we started with are still in tip-top condition despite the traumas of layers of mud and washing that we put them through. They don’t even need washing that often – we purchased one of the sheepskin brushes and find that is good enough to keep them coming up like new for a few uses before we pop them in the machine on a cold wash with some sheepskin detergent.
When Gordon, our wimpy thoroughbred, came along I invested in a fully lined with full roll (just to add to the smartness!) and it has been his best friend through long trail hunting days, also washes just as well as the half lined. In fact, you can’t tell which has had more use as they are all still looking great.
Like most horse owners, we feel very passionately about our horses’ comfort and always want the best for them and we absolutely believe we have found that in Engel.
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