Welcome to EN’s Product Review series! Who doesn’t love shopping, especially when the object of your search is new gear for yourself or your horse? As an enthusiast of all products equine, I LOVE trying out new gear. Please join me as I narrate my personal journey of trying out all of the products featured. While I will make no recommendations, I hope you have fun reading about my many adventures of trying new products, and that hearing about my personal experiences helps you on your own quest for new gear. Go Shopping.
Going back to revisit my personal mission statement here, I’m going to say that my number one goal for every ride I take is that the outing is both FUN and SAFE. Obviously fun is something that is all in the eye of the beholder – and riding is a part of my life that is an escape from the stress of everyday life.
I really enjoy every hour minute second spent in the saddle. Even on those days when I think someone must have shown up and swapped out one of my horses for a he-devil. Everyone has their good and bad days, and my horses are no exception. But even when I’m having a crappy schooling session, at the end of the day, I still treasure that cool down hack.
My definition of a safe ride encompasses a lot (and I mean a LOT) of different factors. Something that I like to be mindful of is my tack. I like to make sure that all of the tack I’m using on a given day is 1) in good condition, and 2) properly fits the horse that I am using it for.
Cleaning tack may not be the most fun ever, but it is a job that is necessary—especially when maintaining leather tack. I remember the days when I faithfully would clean my sweaty girth, slobbery bit and grimy boots after every single ride. While I may not be quite as ‘on it’ as I used to be in that aspect, since I now juggle many things in my busy schedule, I still make sure to keep my tack in good working order.
It is a little bit of a challenge to find pieces of tack that work for multiple horses that have completely different body types. Not to mention that my horses range anywhere from just shy of 16hh to a towering 17.3hh. But I do my best to use articles of tack across multiple horses when the fit is appropriate.
A girth that I’ve had the chance to try out recently is the SMx VenTECH Combo English Girth from Professional’s Choice. For the most part, I’ve spent most of my riding life as a ‘leather loyalist’ – and in terms of a girth, that has always meant having a regular commitment to keeping the leather clean and conditioned to prevent cracking or dryness.
It was only last year that I had my first experience using a synthetic girth – and I turned out to be an instant fangirl of how easy to clean they are. So I was certainly excited to give the SMx VenTECH Combo Girth a try.
Upon pulling the SMx girth out of it’s packaging, I liked how sturdy the webbing material felt – yet, I also noticed that it seemed very flexible at the same time (as I feel like a girth should be!). It also appeared that the girth would be comfortable for one of my horses to wear, as I noticed the soft fleece lining that extends past the webbing material.
When I flipped the girth over though, I found that the underside actually has a liner. The liner of the SMx girth is actually made of a neoprene non-slip material. It is also a ventilated material, which allows both heat and moisture to be able to escape—so your horse’s girth line can hopefully BREATHE.
I also personally felt like the neoprene lining of the girth actually offers a cushiony feeling when I picked it up and examined it. The liner itself is also removable, so that you can pull it off of the webbing part of the girth and hand wash it when it needs a good cleaning.
When I first tacked up when using the SMx VenTECH girth, I noticed that both ends with the buckles actually have elastic – which is nice, as it gives a little extra give when I’m tightening the girth. Once tightened, I also observed that the girth looked like it contoured nicely to wrap around Ripley’s “girth line”.
I found that there is also a small d-ring like attachment in the center of the girth, which looks like it could be useful for attaching a breastplate. When I do use my breastplate in combination with the SMx VenTECH girth, I actually just use the loop on the end of my breastplate and allow the girth to pass through it.
During my rides, I felt like the SMx VenTECH girth did a good job at holding the saddle in place. And after I would finish riding and would untack, I took a look at the area that the girth sat – even on warm days when Ripley had some sweat on areas such as his shoulders and under the saddle, I noticed that the area under the girth was drier than other areas.
And what is just one more thing that I personally love to see? The small tag on the SMx VenTECH Combo English Girth that has a picture of a flag and says MADE IN USA!
Go BREATHABLE and Easy-to-Clean Girths. Go Professional’s Choice. Go Eventing.