From Endurance to Dressage
Dressage horses are big. Even compared to Sydney's 16 hand frame, dressage horses are big. Speedy G is not. He's generously sized for an Arabian, but compared to most dressage horses, he's little. I've complained about the absence of Arabian sized tack before, but not today. I finally found a dressage girth that fits my smaller-than-average dressage horse.
Stock photo of each end of the girth.
I bought the Ovation Dri-Lex Dressage Equalizer Girth from Dover Saddlery. Here's the product description: This Ovation™ dressage girth features a synthetic fleece lining enhanced with Dri-Lex technology for even moisture management. Stainless steel roller buckles with elastic at both ends.
I think I may be the only dressage rider who doesn't use a leather girth. It's not that I don't like leather, but Speedy G can be really "girthy." I have found that the thicker and more plush the girth, the less he objects. For my endurance saddle I use a top quality Toklat, fleece girth. For my Wintec Isabell, I bought a 24" SMX Fleece Girth that is is very soft and plush. With my "new" Custom Saddlery Revolution, the billets hang differently which make my 24" girth too long. It's been working, but the girth comes to the bottom edge of my pad. The 24 inch girth works well for Sydney, but I needed something slightly smaller for Speedy G. Not to mention that it's kind of icky putting a wet girth on horse number two.
I have been looking for a 22 inch, or even smaller, fleece girth for quite some time. They're not exactly easy to find. The ones that I have found have been cheapos without good billet keepers. I know because I bought one of those cheapos a year or so ago and was pretty disappointed. So when I saw the Ovation girth, I was skeptical. Really? $39.90 and in a size that will fit my boy? I ordered it and figured I could always ship it back.
I won't need to return it. It fits Speedy G perfectly and he never flinched when I pulled the billets through the roller buckles. There are actually too many keeper straps so I simply tucked my billet ends into the bottom keepers. For showing I'll slide my billets through all three keepers for a neater appearance.
Need an inexpensive, but nicely made dressage girth? This may be it!
1/24/2012 01:29:44 pm
While I won't exactly need to worry about petite horse sizes, another dressage saddle is likely going to be in Jabby's future, so it's good to know there are more affordable girth options out there! I also prefer the fleece girths over the leather ones... Will has super-sensitive skin and even the nice leather girths with elastic on both ends used to give him awful rubs. He has a collection of fleecy girths (um...8?), so I can wash them frequently and still have one or two ready to go at the barn.
1/25/2012 10:44:17 am
Several people have said they use fleece girths instead of leather. I guess I am not the only one. Leather is rarely seen in endurance which has obviously steered my preferences over the years!
1/28/2012 06:14:18 pm
oh i love your girths! i love elastic at both ends, i like wool/fleece, and in BLACK -omy, i need this! of course the white hairs will really show up...hm. still, it just looks so sharp, esp. with dressage tack. i've learned the hard way that wool is the best material for girth and saddle pad - it does not get hot and does not rub. it just takes a lot of washing, ugh.
1/28/2012 11:10:40 pm
Lytha - I used a lot of mohair and fleece for endurance. My saddle pads were either merino sheepskin or lined with wool. I used mohair string girths for many years and then switched to fleece for Speedy G. I agree that those natural fibers are much easier on a horse's skin. No rubbing and they definitely stay cooler. I love the idea of riding in a genuine sheepskin! How nice for the horse!
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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.
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