From Endurance to Dressage
My endurance horses all did best with mohair girths, a natural fiber, but girth shape wasn't much of a factor. When I transitioned to dressage, Speedy did best with a fleece girth. While Speedy does get sweaty, it has never been so copious as to warrant frequent cleaning. Izzy, on the other hand, sweats like a teenage boy which means his girth needs to be cleaned a lot. Izzy started with a fleece girth, but it was constantly "crunchy," so I bought a synthetic girth that served him well for quite some time.
I liked that Ovation girth, and I still have it, but eventually, it started to wear a bit. About two years ago, I replaced it with the Collegiate Memory Foam girth, which I also like. It works great, and I assume that Izzy finds it comfortable. The one thing that I don't like about it is that when I wash it, it takes some time to dry. In the winter, it can take days to dry which is really impractical. The girth is still in fine shape, but it doesn't smell great because I don't rinse it off very often because it takes too long to dry.
My friend Valerie, who owns the Dressage Pony Store (she makes sure to give every product she sells a thorough trial) uses the Thinline girths on her super sensitive pony as well as on Cinco, her big guy that doesn't care so much. While at STC Dressage a few weeks ago for a lesson - she's in training with Sean Cunningham, I saw her girth, a Thinline. After feeling the material and closely examining its construction, I decided to order one for Izzy. It came a week or so ago.
The Thinline is not contoured like the memory foam girth, but Izzy has never needed that feature. Like all of my girths, it has roller buckles which are a must have. The thing it doesn't have is elastic at both ends, but what it does have seems a bit smarter. Both buckles are part of a variable buckle system, distributing pressure evenly with its unique stabilizing d-ring. This is a pretty smart system. If you pull one side, the other side gets shorter. This eliminates any gapping. I call it "self-correcting."
My favorite feature of this girth is how easy it is to clean. When I pull it off, I swish it in a bucket of water, shake the excess water off, and then hang it up. If I need it right away, I can easily wipe off the beaded water with a towel, but since it's not porous like the memory foam girth, it dries almost immediately. Having had two sets of Thinline reins, I do know that the Thinline material doesn't like chemicals, so I imagine that leaving it gross and sweaty might eventually cause the material to fail. Since I love that it dries immediately, I have no problem giving it a quick rinse each day. I keep a bucket of water just for rinsing my bit after each ride, so adding the girth to that regimen is no extra work.
I've ridden Izzy in the girth more than ten times now, including at the show last week, and he seems perfectly comfortable in it. Even though we're having the 4th hottest summer on record, the Thinline material hasn't irritated his skin or left any rubs. If it works in this heat, it'll be fine in the winter.
The only thing this horse hasn't had new in the past year is a saddle. Don't tell him!
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: