I have always used traditional leather girths but and looking for something new. What I am most concerned with in a girth is comfort (even distribution of pressure, no chaffing or pinching and heat). This girth will be used on almost a daily basis.
So far I am looking at the Professionals Choice VentTech and Lettia Coolmax. Has anyone tried both of these? How does the Lettia do as far as cleaning is concerned? Whatever I get the price needs to be <$150
I am also looking for a half pad for shock absorption and added comfort for the horse. So far I like the Mattes All Purpose Half Pad, EcoGold half pad and ThinLine. I have never used EcoGold or ThinLine pads but hear great things about both. With the ThinLine I just can't get over how thin it is, I can't comprehend how it could actually do much for the horse but people seem to like them. Has anyone on here been able to compare one vs the other?
I bought an Engel half-pad new off ebay last year. Price was around $89, including shipping, if I remember correctly. I always wanted a Mattes but couldn't justify the price and someone on COTH recommended the Engels so I took a chance.
It's not about the color of the ribbon but the quality of the ride. Having said that, I'd like the blue one please!
As for half pads I'm in love with Ogilvys. I've tried booth girths, disliked the Lettia because my boots rubbed off on it once and Bam it was ruined. I have lots of pro choice girths for schooling and have always liked all of them.
The Lettia girth is OK, not great. It's really bulky and mine never got really clean, even with lots of OxyClean and color safe bleach. The Pro Choice is very nice, although mine had some minor stitching issues--however, I know lots of people that use them and have never had an issue. If you're a fan of that style, this Dover one is pretty good. My regular girth is this Smartpak one, and I've been very happy with it.
My back kind of misses riding with the ThinLine I used to use--it really does offer great shock absorption for the rider, at least. It doesn't alter the fit of the saddle if that's a concern for you.
I have used all the half pads you mentioned. I find Mattes great for adding bulk to a saddle that's a little too wide, great moisture wicking properties when used sans saddle pad, and good for assisting with minor saddle fit issues if you get the correction pad. My horse reacted favorably when I used one, but I needed a different shimming setup.
Personally, for shock absorbtion, I think the Ecogold wins. I had heard such good things about it so I tried it just a couple weeks ago after using the Thinline for months. Thing is, it's thick and non-shimmable, and I need shims. At least the triple thick memory foam one is non-shimmable. And while I found it more comfortable and better for shock absorption, I also found it slightly muffled my seat and my horse's back more than the Thinline.
Now I'm back to the Thinline, and our communication is better again, even if our sitting trot isn't. I do prefer the Thinline that is attached to the quilting at least though to help keep it up off the spine. They say it doesn't matter, but I just can't do the plain pads. I have the Ultra Thinline with sheepskin for my current horse and the regular (thicker, better shock absorption) Thinline without sheepskin for my older horse that's out on lease with a kid. The sheepskin on the Mattes is nicer than the Thinline though.
After my pad juggling over the past year, I'm actually going to sell the Ecogold I just got as well as my Thinline because I just had the saddle fitter out and the Prolite triple pocket pad worked much better for our saddle fit issues. It also felt great as far as shock absorption, so that's another, cheaper, option.
As far as girths, I just made the opposite switch, going from super easy care synthetic to nice leather. For years I used Wintec elastic girths. Absolutely love them. Hose them off. Never had any issues with chafing or rubbing. They took years of abuse and are cheap.
This is my every day girth, too, and I really like it. My show girth is SmartPak's Wellfleet Hunter Girth (http://www.smartpakequine.com/wellfl...x?cm_vc=Search), which I love as well. It's a really nice leather girth with fancy stitching at either end. My horse can be a little skin-sensitive, but I haven't had any trouble with either of these girths.
I have been using the smartpak breathable girths on many horses (dressage and jumping) for years, and LOVE them because they are soft but clean up really easily and don't rub or lose pliability even in cold weather. I also like the mattes pad for the TB types but the thinline works well for the drafty/chuncky types.
I LOVE Thinline pads. I just have the original ones not attached to anything. I have a black one that I use for day to day and a white one for hunting or other formal stuff. I put them over my normal saddle pads (I just have a bunch of basic pads). I don't feel like it muffles communication much, if at all. I use them under my dressage and jumping saddles.
I have been using this girth with great results. My sensitive TB really likes it too. It's not super breathable but it is very comfy. They have them on eBay regularly for $40-$50 and you can usually get the leather (Bates) version for around $80-$100.
Thinlines are awesome! I went from HUGE skeptic to OBSESSED fan. You don't feel a whole lot of difference until you stop using it.
"Be the change you want to see in the world."