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We Are Flying Solo

September 8, 2011

This Is How We Roll: Girths

Everyone needs a little something to hold the saddle on. But with 1,001 choices out there, how to decide which will suit your needs best?

My priorities: AFFORDABLE -- I don't need a dang $300 strap that no one can see that will just get covered in hair, sweat, and mud. Comfortable for the horse -- no chafing, slipping, etc. Easy to care for -- I have enough stuff to clean and keep track of, please make my life easier.  Must have roller buckles -- I think this is standard on all but the cheapest girths now, but billet protection is necessary!

Over the past few years, I have discovered the magic of the synthetic girth -- breathable and after your ride, give it a quick hose and it's dry in 15 minutes. LOVE!

My favourite: SmartPak Breathable Hunter/Jumper Girth. At $40, it won't break your bank. It does not tell you the colour in the product description (I took my chances when I ordered) but it's a nice havana brown and the waffle material feels good. The elastic on mine is actually all brown, so it looks quite nice and so far, after over a year of hard work, it still looks new.  When I pulled it out of the box, I really was surprised at the heft and quality feel and look of it, leather snobs need not feel cheated.

I have a similar one for my dressage saddle. I believe it's the Ovation girth, similar waffle weave fabric to the SmartPak one. It's not quite as nice as SmartPak's, but it's certainly not bad and is still durable and comfortable for Solo. Another great bargain at $31.  The stiching pulled out on the middle of the billet loops at the top, but they are not really essential, so I don't worry about it.  The rest of the girth is completely intact, I've had it for probably three years and it has climbed mountains, bogged down in mud, and sweated with the best of us.

I do generally use a leather one for stadium jumping, just because it's pretty (hey, we're all shallow on occasion). I save it for shows mostly as I try to minimize leather cleaning and I got it on a crazy clearance sale and want it to last a long time! It's Dover's overlay girth (no way did I pay even close to $100 for it though!). I think my elastic is green (why are elastic colours so subject to change?).  In all honesty though, I think my synthetic one is lighter and more comfortable for Solo and use it for all jump schooling and XC.


  1. Ooh, a timely post. I'm sort of on a girth hunt--as in, I promised myself I would not buy anything horsey for a while, but we do need a new girth to replace the yuck-o cheapie fleece one that I have and am daily terrified will rub the sensitive mare.

    I have synthetic for dressage, but am kind of wanting leather for the jump saddle, I guess because it shows more with the short billets.

  2. The Dover one is definitely a very nice girth, VERY nice. I just wouldn't buy it at that price because I am poor. But it's lovely and so far (maybe 2-3 years) have had no issues with stitching or elastic.

  3. I love the Soft Touch girth, easy to take care of, looks ok and elastic at both ends. Nina has made her preference clear for cheap synthetic fleece. *sigh* I use one whenever I can, but they are much higher maintenance and ALWAYS dirty.

  4. AHAHHAA, can't argue with a mare, Barb!

  5. Professionals Choice girths, don't count them out!

  6. I actually got away from leather girths because the dye would always rub off on my white horse. There's nothing quite like having "extra" black spots where they don't belong! Instead, I have a couple of the synthetic waffle material girths, and I'm pretty happy with them. They last forever, look nice, and cleaning them is a breeze.

  7. I have the Soft Touch girth (well...three ST girths, actually -- a 48" for Certs plus a 52" and 54" for Salem The Elephant) that I got from VTO. They're $20 because they're the old, non-contoured style, but that's fine with me because they are AWESOME. Soft, squishy, easy to clean, attractive, and elastic on both ends. Can't beat that with a stick!

  8. I got the Wellfleet one from SmartPak. Leather, but seems to have squishy synthetic lining. I have a black jumping saddle with short billets, so get to use the same girth for everything. I also like the Lettia Coolmax and got a lot of good feedback on the ovation

  9. Veronica, my BO loves the PC girths, she has racks of them!

    Frizz, I have heard a lot about the ST girths, people seem to really like them.