I had every intention of telling you about my Ariat Challenge Contour field boots this week but they're at the cobbler in a bit of a strange twist of events. I'll share that story when I get them back and put a few more rides on them. If you were planning on purchasing a pair for yourself feel free to email me, suitableturnout (at) gmail (dot) com or catch me on twitter @suitableturnout and I'll answer your questions. With that said we're going to jump ahead to what I had planned for next week and talk about a great piece of schooling tack.
I routinely listen to a podcast about horses that does news, interviews, and giveaways called Horses In The Morning that often partners up with Equestrian Collections. Long story short I submitted a silly craigslist ad for their Friday "Really Bad Ads" segment and then next thing I know I've got a sweet gift certificate to spend on horsey stuff. (Thanks HITM crew and Debbie at EC!). I also just bought a new saddle but since I'm still horseless I wanted a girth that was pretty universal, easy to care for, and it had to be cheap.
The Ovation Airform Chafeless Girth does a great job of delivering on those prerequisites. This synthetic girth is very soft to the touch with a nonslip, hypoallergenic cushion that doesn't pinch or rub. The texture on the underside has almost a basket weave pattern to it and each little dot has a nice pillow quality.
The strong nylon like webbing on the outside of the girth criss crosses right behind the elbow for a nice contoured shape and the elastic on one side provides flexibility. This girth also features roller buckles and can even be purchased with Click-It spring loaded buckles to make adjusting even easier. Ovation offers a few different girth styles of this Airform material in back or brown for dressage, mono flap, and ap / jump saddles.
What I love most about this girth is how easy it is to clean. You can hose it off, wipe it down with a wet paper towel or sponge and it dries very fast. The ease of cleanup makes this girth a great option for trail riding, cross country schooling, or any conditions where you're kicking up mud and muck. There's no oiling or polishing needed to keep this piece of tack going strong. That was always my peeve about the fleece lined girths. They looked fluffy and soft but hay, burrs, and mud could really do a number on their appearance and hold irritants too close to your horse's skin. Plus they didn't look so great after going through the washing machine a few times. Those are all problems you're just not going to have with the Ovation Airform Girth.
I wouldn't consider this girth suitable for the hunter or equitation show rings but I would take lessons, trail ride, go to a horse trial, ride a dressage test, or do a jumper class in it. The one add on I wish this girth had was a center D ring to attach a clip on breastplate or martingale but that's just being picky. This girth is available from pretty much every online distributor for around $30.00 or splurge on the Click-It buckles for $40.00.
Next week I'll have part one of a two part series on Higher Standards saddle soap and leather balm with lots of before and after photos. Until then, happy riding!