In the Saddle with Elaine Lockhead Castelao: All About the ThinLine Brand

thinlineFrom saddle pads to horse boots and more, ThinLine is an easy brand to love. We sat down with Elaine Lockhead Castalao, founder of ThinLine, to hear more about how she developed the brand, what products she loves and what we can expect to see from ThinLine in the near future.

We would love to hear the story of how you developed the ThinLine brand. Tell us what inspired you and how you got started.
The ThinLine story is the American Dream story. I found myself a single mother without a job in 2004.  After a few months with no luck, I recall sitting at an intersection, watching a plumber, an electrician, etc drive by and said to myself: What is wrong with me, I live in America, anything is possible.  Soon I met another rider who had a piece of foam that was being developed for a shoe insole company for athletes.  I saw it and I realized I could live my passion; protecting and caring for horses, creating a product line and generating jobs for others.

ThinLine sells a wide range of products; what type of item did you begin with? How did that lead to the others?
I started with just a basic saddle pad made entirely of the foam.  Little by little I began searching the industry for other top quality manufactures who would be interested in joining materials to create a better product. The Contender Pad by Back on Track is an excellent example. Back on Track fabric plus ThinLine foam equals the perfect saddle pad.

I also saw where the benefits of this foam could help in so many other areas: reins for riders with arthritic hands and girths for horses who had sensitive skin or just needed a soft, supple, no-slip product to keep them from being “cold backed”. And of course, the breathable impact material just made perfect sense in a horse boot.

What is the technology behind ThinLine that makes your pads and equipment so effective?
ThinLine performs differently from anything else on the market.  Instead of compressing, it moves shock, weight and heat laterally along the product. Since it is very thin it has no sheer, meaning, for instance in a saddle pad, there is no movement transfer from the pad, so the rider stays very quiet.  It absorbs impact but improves the feel between the rider and the horse. Riders sit quieter, horses lift their backs, it is a two way street of comfort and communication.

elaine lockhead castelaoYour horses must be quite comfortable with all their ThinLine gear!  We’d love to hear about your equine companions and what sort of riding you do with them.
I wish I had more time. I am lucky enough to have one horse, a Lusitano I call Uri.  We do not compete. We just enjoy each other. I am a dressage rider at heart and I have competed to FEI in the past. Now you can just find us at home happily playing with pirouettes or just plain playing.

We know it will be hard to choose, but what would you say is your favorite ThinLine product?
Because I have had the extraordinary privilege of riding in ThinLine for years, I would have to say my favorite product today is the seat saver.  It is invisible by feel but it does so much for your riding.  I ride with it all the time, but when I take it off I can feel how much more I move in the saddle. It gives me a greater perspective about what the horse must need to filter through to figure out what I am actually saying with my seat. It is a life changing product.  I ride for a few days, take it off etc.  My seat continues to improve every time I do it. Simply amazing. And my horse is so grateful I can now be so still. It has improved our connection, our bond.

Are there any new product innovations or product lines coming up that we can look forward to seeing?
We have a radical new product scheduled to launch September 2016.  Have you always been frustrated with bell boots? Tired of hook and loop fasteners or pull-ons?  We have invested four years in the new product and we think we have solved one of the great frustrations for all horse owners. Cannot say more now, stay tuned to this blog to be the first to hear.

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