To The Articles
riding pad provides unexpected benefits
device allows disabled riders to feel the horse's motion
Jan. 30, 2000
Patrick Liquori designed the "El Companero" bareback riding pad
about four years ago, he thought he was doing only himself a favor.
it turns out, his versatile design has had widespread appeal, particularly
with organizations geared toward disabled riders.
me, it was a selfish thing at first; it was for my purpose," said
Mr. Liquori, a Washington Township resident and hairstylist who
operates the Centreville Salon at 25 Church St. in Windsor.
turns out to be extremely beneficial to many people," he said. "Even
for able-bodied riders. They say they've never experienced such
contact and communication between their horse and themselves. We're
just really excited about the people we can reach.
you can help someone so much in a physical sense, which reflects
on their whole sense of self and making them feel they can do things
they could never do before, it's really rewarding."
pad is a thin piece of suede leather that is draped over the horse's
back. The piece extends down both sides of the horse, reaching the
area of the rider's calves. On the underside of the piece is a pocket
in which various sizes of foam, from one to three inches, can be
Klein, a resident of Millstone Township, has partnered with Mr.
Liquori in producing and marketing El Companero. Earlier this month,
Mr. Liquori received a patent for his design.
Liquori got the idea for the pad from American Indians who would
drape a thin piece of leather over their horses in order to achieve
a better union with their charges.
experience of being one in spirit with your horse out in the woods
is in a sense losing yourself; becoming one with the woods and with
your horse," Mr. Liquori said. "The pad was something created to
aid me in obtaining that oneness."
Liquori said it was Ms. Klein, who after trying the El Companero
herself, suggested marketing the product.
both agreed it was a gift to me that helped my life in many ways
and my connection with my horse; to lose myself in order to find
myself," Mr. Liquori said. "In losing yourself to all of it, you
become one with it and then ultimately find the greater you."
element of serendipity or perhaps more accurately spiritual
guidance has followed Mr. Liquori during the process of bringing
his pad to the public. While at a tack sale at Showplace Farms in
Millstone, Barbara Isaac of the Handicapped High Riders in Upper
Freehold set up a table next to Mr. Liquori and Ms. Klein.
being as intuitive as she is, after a few minutes of sitting there
and looking at this strange, new product, came over," Mr. Liquori
said. "She picked up every possible benefit the pad has to offer.
It's been a relationship with Barbara ever since.
tends to be our mentor. She has a need for something, I fill the
need and then she refines it and helps us to perfect it. People
want to see us be successful. We've gotten a lot of help."
Isaac said the El Companero is beneficial for disabled riders because
"the most important thing is feeling the horse's motion."
horse's movement duplicates the "normal" movements made by an able-bodied
person when walking. For people in wheelchairs, for example, there
is no way for their bodies to experience this motion. Hippotherapy,
a direct medical treatment with a horse and a trained physical therapist
who is a certified riding instructor, can help.
Isaac, who had her instructors test the pad before purchasing several
for the Handicapped High Riders program, said El Companero permitted
riders to "get as close to the warmth of the horse and the horse's
movement as they can be in a safe way."
benefit is the versatility, she said. The foam can be replaced when
it breaks down, and can be adjusted to the special needs of its
such a wonderful piece of adaptive equipment for what we do," Ms.
Isaac said. "It fits the mold of what we do. I'll help them in any
way I can, they're so good to work with. This is an experiment in
perfection, making this the best it can be."
at a national convention for disabled riders, Mr. Liquori and Ms.
Klein discovered additional applications for the pad. Because of
the security offered by the suede, riders can do what is called
vaulting riding while facing backward, sitting sideways,
lying down, rotating their arms and standing.
of us had ever heard of the term," Mr. Liquori said. "But, ironically,
in our riding, in the freedom and oneness we experience with this
pad, we have been inspired to do things that are an expression of
freedom and oneness."
Ms. Klein, "We called it 'stupid circus tricks.' Nobody could see
us, so we would do these things just for a game. Then we found out
there was a name for it. It's exercise. We didn't know."
Mr. Liquori, "Not only has this gift been given to us, but the uses
have been shown to us, the benefits, without us even knowing. Not
only was our choice with the handicapped directed, but the way it
was going to be used."
Liquori has sold the pad to handicapped riding groups around the
state and across the country. He also has received inquires from
Israel and Holland. So far, he and Ms. Klein have produced approximately
two dozen of the pads. It takes the duo five to six hours to complete
don't want to lose the personal touch," Mr. Liquori added. "We don't
want to lose the ability to put ourselves into it. We're ready to
be with it wherever it goes. As it grows, we're ready to grow with
it. It's too personal to us.
would like to eventually have our own factory where we could oversee
everyone. We'll be part of still making them. It's not for the sake
of business that we want to go ahead with this. It's for what we
can give of ourselves. I don't ever want to ever be separated from
P.O. Box 357
25 Church St.
Windsor NJ, 08561
may call us at 609-240-6728
Contact Us for more information.
Web Design & Web Hosting