Schooling Girths

Discussion in 'Tack & Equipment' started by Equestrian24, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Equestrian24

    Equestrian24 Full Member

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    I've decided to save my nice leather girths for show and get a couple of schooling girths. I'd like something that's easy to care for and keep clean, comfortable for the horse, durable, and good quality with good hardware on it (no chrome plated hardware or anything that rusts, corrodes, or breaks easily).

    I've looked at fleece girths, an older used gel girth (the only one of its kind I've found), neoprene girths, and older used leather girths. I do have some older used leather girths already that I like, but I would really like roller buckles to save my billets from extra wear and tear. I've liked neoprene as well, but I'm not sure if fleece would be more comfortable and breathable. The neoprene girths I currently have are Classic Equine Soft Touch which I like, but aren't the right size since they were from past horses. I've never owned a fleece girth, so I'm not sure what the maintenance is like. I've read some reviews for a few fleece girths, and they're pretty mixed, with some complaints about crummy hardware, which I can't stand. I've noticed that the gel girths don't seem to be made anymore, which concerns me that it might not be a good choice.

    What kind do you prefer, and are there any specific brands you would recommend? I have really had my eye on the Lettia CoolMax fleece girth, because it seems to be quality made and pretty popular. I know the Kincades are popular, but I'm afraid the quality might be lacking and it might have crummy hardware at that price. I don't want to beat up the shared washing machine in my house or disturb everyone else with the noise, so is there a way these could be washed by hand? How do you maintain the fleece? Also, most importantly, what is the most comfortable for the horse? Thank you!

    EDIT: I just looked up gel girths out of curiosity and I guess there are a few others out there, but they don't seem very popular. Any experiences with these?
     
  2. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    I know many people around here school in fleece girths, and you're right, some brands are better than others. I'd look for something with stainless steel hardware. They are easy to throw in the wash, but could probably just be brushed off and hand washed. The other ones I've used are the Professional Choice smx neoprene ones. They do trap more heat, but are super easy to just hose off. I have had several over the years and they hold up well. They're a little pricey for what they are, but you can also find them used pretty easily. I believe they have roller buckles and are stainless hardeware.
     
  3. tlwidener

    tlwidener Senior Member

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    I like the ProChoice neoprene. Super easy to wash off.

    For daily rides they work well. We have the English and Western ones.
     
  4. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    I use leather all the time. I really don’t like the other materials nearly as well. They aren’t as soft or padded as the leather ones I have.

    What you also want to consider is how they are made. The fleece ones tend to have. Piece of nylon running through them and then fleece wrapped around that. The really cheaply made ones use a very thin piece of nylon in the middle. The thinnest I saw was regular 1” wide nylon. So when it was tightened all that pressure was concentrated along a 1” section! So you’ll want to kind of feel around & see what you can feel before you buy. The other think that drives me nuts is the that they cheap out on the elastic using 2 ply instead of 3. Might not seem like much, but I’m sure we’ve all that one girth where you have to put it on the bottom holes and to get the thing to reach but then it tightens to like the top hole on both sides - yeah that’s the cheap elastic!

    As far as fabric - if you’re buying used make sure you run your hands on it checking for clumps & lumps in the fuzzy ones; and rough edges/spots on neoprene style ones. You dont event wants some horses skin pinched by a rough edge of the girth.

    Outside of that, it’s owner and horse preference. Some horses are much happier in double elastic. Some the saddle needs single side. Some saddles horse combos need anatomical shape, some are ok with just some curve or elbow cut outs. Some need super crazy soft and equalizing pressure - and well some just don’t care what you put them in.

    If it were me, providing my show girth was truly a really nice soft, plush, clean girth. I’d use It!. Wipe it down after each ride & call it done. Most people spend a good amount on their show grith - yet use it next to no amount of the time. I’m of the opinion that one doesn’t need a show girth & typically people want a schooling girth to save costs - which always leads to buying a lesser quality girth then their nice one. I’d rather see the horse go in the most comfortable, higher quality one most often :)
     
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  5. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    ^^So true! Despite my earlier response, I agree fully that even if you want a girth just for schooling, it still needs to be a good match for your setup and horse's preferences. I usually prefer leather as well, and just went through a bit of a unicorn search after Miss Mare decided she did not like the anatomical girth we'd been using (I don't blame her, she was getting sore pecs from it), then she liked a very plain straight leather one but it wasn't the best for her saddle and her shape, and we compromised with a very padded leather girth with no elastic (a first for me but I am starting to love it) a very contoured shape and humane/equalizing ends :rolleyes: I get wanting something easy to clean between schooling rides, but R&B brought up a good point that you don't want to compromise on fit and acceptance from the pones!
     
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