From Endurance to Dressage
Some things are fun to buy. They give you a lot of satisfaction. They look great. They add to "the look." Girths are not one of those things. At least not in my book. Girths are like underwear; you have to have them, but they're pretty utilitarian and for the most part, go unseen.
Unlike say, a new pair of boots. I have a pair of river boots that I LOVE, but I am hankering for a new pair. Something like this pair of Dublin's in a size 7.5 would do nicely, thanks. These are definitely not like underwear. You know what else is not anything like underwear? The Haas Diva with Lambswool. I drool over this brush every time I am on Riding Warehouse's site. It will be mine before next season's summer shows start. Speedy really needs this.
But alas, we do need underwear and girths. Both of my boys' girths have seen better days. They're looking a little rough around the edges and the keepers on Speedy's girth are falling apart.
I've tried Speedy in a few different girths, and he has made it quite clear that he prefers fleece. Fortunately, he's not too much of a diva so synthetic fleece works just as well as real wool. His current girth is actually holding up quite well. It's just the keepers that are giving out.
When I started looking for a replacement, nothing jumped out at me as a must have, especially when I looked at price. Speedy's must haves are pretty basic. He needs a 20" length in fleece. We both like elastic at both ends, and roller buckles are a must. He doesn't care about ergonomics; his saddle sits just fine with a squishy fleece girth. I sort of liked the LeMieux, but it doesn't come in a 20", and it was a bit pricey.
Then I saw the Ovation Coolmax Shaped Dressage Equalizer Girth, the updated version of what I already have. It's slightly contoured and has roller buckles. I've always liked the elastic from buckle to buckle because it allows the girth to expand and move as Speedy works. It's fleece, it comes in the smaller 20" size, and it's under 50 bucks. Basically, it's perfect.
The Ovation arrived and was exactly what I was expecting. I haven't used it yet, but I may do a follow up review if anything in particular stands out.
As I looked at girths for Izzy, I found the exact girth that I am currently using, also an Ovation. At $37.95, the Ovation Airform is a bit of a steal, but I've always wondered if it feels a bit like wearing a narrow belt. Izzy has never protested the girth, and he's not at all girthy, but I've wondered if something wider might be more comfortable. Something like the Collegiate Shaped Memory Foam Dressage Girth.
This girth checks off all the boxes that I need in a girth for Izzy: roller buckles, elastic at both ends, and it's made from a material that I can hose off each day. It was slightly more expensive than the Ovation, but I am hoping the width will prove to be more comfortable. In person, it looks great, and the memory foam feels super comfortable, but since I am not the one wearing it, who knows?
When I ride this afternoon, weather permitting - in case you haven't heard, California is having some issues with wind and power, I'll try it out on him to see what he thinks.
I hate it when I buy new underwear and don't like the fit because you can't exactly return it. Girths are the same way. You never know if one is going to really work until you ride in it, and if your horse says it's not comfortable, you're left shoving it in a drawer as you find a better fit.
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2022 Pending …
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 SCEC (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read