“And in the disbelief, I can’t face reinventionI haven’t met the new me yet There’ll be happiness after youBut there was happiness because of youBoth of these things can be trueThere is happiness Past the blood and bruisePast the curses and criesBeyond the terror in …
Being a type A dressage rider, I am always in search of any piece of tack that will make my horse more comfortable. If it results in even the tiniest improvement in performance then that is a bonus. With this in mind in 2018 I decided to make the switch to a fleece lined girth. While Nonie loved the first girth we trialled, it developed a hole in the fleece in about 8 months. And so my search resumed for an alternative.
I put the call out for an alternative to my Insta-fam and the lovely Ash from Foxtrot Horsewear suggested the Total Saddle Fit girth. I had heard good things about these girths, and the fact that the girth and fleece liner were totally separate had me sold. If the liner fell apart at least I would still have a leather girth!
About 18months on and Nonie and I could not love our Total Saddle Fit girth more. So heres the full download…
The girth is anatomical in shape with a forward set base. The rationale is that it allows the girth to sit in the horses natural girth groove whilst allowing the billets to sit straight down the horses barrel. The aim of this is to prevent the saddle from being pulled forward onto the shoulders.
Given the shape of the girth I was slightly concerned about how well the sheepskin liner would stay in place. However, due to the design of the liner which velcro’s securely around the middle and both ends of the girth, I’ve never had any issues with the girth moving.
Both the sheepskin liner and girth have worn exceptionally well. After 18 months of use at least 5 times per week the liner is in near perfect condition with no wear or loss of wool that I am able to see. Best of all because the liner does not contain any leather (as many sheepskin products do) you can simply throw it in your washing machine on a delicate cycle with wool-wash. I have noticed that the Velcro that sits at the top of the girth is not as grippy as it originally was. That being said it hasn’t effected the way the liner sits.
The leather girth is in equally good condition, aside from a few scratches thanks to my boots whilst mounting. There are also a few minor wear marks from where the Velcro of the liner sits behind the girth buckles. These are however completely cosmetic.
I opted for a longer girth, so that there is minimal ‘space’ between the bottom of the saddle and the top of the girth. Minimising this gap is meant to aid with stability of the saddle. At a minimum you want the girth to sit higher than the point of the horses elbow. Additionally, Total Saddle fit recommend allowing 4 inches between the bottom of the saddle and the top of the girth. You can read more about the principles of girth fitting here.
The girth lengths are measured buckle-end to buckle-end, so it’s fairly easy to figure out what size you need. On the English style girths, take into consideration that there is approcimately an inch of leather above the buckles.
For me, these products represent great value. When you take into account the durability they are an absolute steal at just under $125 for the girth liner and just under $200 for the leather girth.
The website also has a handy tool which allows you to toggle between USD, AUD, CAD, GBP and EUR so that there are no surprises at the checkout.
The Total Saddle Fit girth tops of its functionality with a professional and polished look. And with options from leather to synthetic and the sheepskin liners, there is a something to suit everyone, whatever your taste.
During the Black Friday sales last year I purchased a white sheepskin liner for competition days and I could not love that crisp white finish more!
There aren’t many retailers for Total Saddle Fit here in Australia, luckily you can purchase directly through the website. Better yet they offer FREE postage internationally!
Total Saddle fit also has a great returns policy that allows you to ride in your new girth for 30days to make sure you are happy with it.
Horse girls – easy to love hard to afford. Thats how the saying goes, however I think my previous boyfriends would beg to differ. Sure we are hard to afford (not that I ever asked anyone to pay my way), but easy to love…? In …
You know that saddle sitting in your barn thats worth thousands of dollars. You are protecting that investment with your tip top leather care routine, right? You wipe it down after each ride. You store it carefully. You soap it up to get rid of …
In early July I talked about some of the changes I would be making over the month as part of the Honest Riders, Riders on a mission sustainability challenge. During the month, I made some changes that were not only easy but have made a difference so I thought I would share more about them here.
I chose to ditch two things – drinks in plastic bottles and fast fashion. During the month of July, I made just one clothing purchase, a long-sleeved show shirt and a casual tee from the stunning equine brand Ronner Design. Ronner design is a small female owned business based in the US. They create unique and eye catching prints, in timeless styles from high quality fabric that last.
On the plastic drink bottle front, I can confirm that I purchased a plastic bottle just once over the course of the challenge. This was down to poor planning whilst travelling on my part. In the almost month since completing the challenge I haven’t brought any either! This has helped me to cut down on my soft drink consumption as well.
I also invested in a metal straw to keep at work. It might sound silly but I actually love drinking from a straw but haven’t used one in years after seeing video’s a turtles with straws stuck in their nostrils.
I committed to at least two meat free days per week. This was made seriously easy by temporarily moving in with my brother and his girlfriend who are largely vegetarian. I learnt a heap about cooking vego meals and also how to make use of every little bit of the vegetable.
My other action for commit, online shopping for my big fortnightly shop, didn’t go quite so well. This was due to the fact that I was living with my brother and not doing much shopping at all. However, moving forward I am still planning to do this.
For the switch component of the challenge I had planned to switch to a bamboo tooth brushes and to bar shampoo and conditioners. However, the switch from a regular electric toothbrush to a bamboo version apparently is not quite so straight forward. And thanks to my crappy teeth I can’t go without an electric toothbrush, meaning that I need to do a little more research in this area.
On the hair front, I opted to try the Bar None bar shampoo and conditioner (in an aluminium bottle) and am now fully obsessed! In addition to being certified cruelty free, and having minimal waste my hair feels so much better!
Instead of switching tooth brushes I decided to try a menstrual cup. Something I previously wasn’t sure if I felt great about. Can I just say it is an absolute game changer. Aside from the fact that a tampon takes over 500 years to breakdown, they aren’t cheap, and frankly they are a bit annoying (although better than the giant pad alternative).
With the average woman spending between $100-150 per year on sanitary products, the savings you get with a menstrual cup (which come in at $20-40 and can last for up to 10 years) are huge! And we all know that just means more money for riding lessons, saddle pads, bandages…
What had me absolutely sold on the menstrual cup was just how easy it is to use. It can stay in place for up to 8-12 hours (ie upon waking up and sometime in the evening), removing the need to carry around spare tampons or pads for frequent changes during the day. There are also no annoying tampon strings to think about. Plus I have found the menstrual cup to be far more comfortable than tampons and leak proof for riding, running and day to day life.
I also have a safety razor on order. This type of razor has much less waste given that you only change the blade, rather than the whole cartridge. The handle component of the razor is meant to last a lifetime too.
For me the personal care items have been the simplest changes. I think because I use them so regularly it is easy to see the impact that they can have. Moving forward I am keen to continue making changes so that I can have as little impact on the environment as possible.
When you are an equestrian (or even just a regular busy person), its easy for sustainability to fall down to the bottom of a very long list of priorities. BUT we should care about it for a whole bunch of different reasons.
I grew up with a mum who refused to buy those cute little individual packs of yoghurt because there was way too much plastic, so I like to think that the environment has always been at the front of my mind. But the reality is that I have not been anywhere near as contentious as I should have been. My desire for convenience overshadowing what I knew was a more environmentally sound decision on several occasions.
The riders on a mission sustainability challenge is in its second year and is the brain child of Zoe Kiff whose business Honest Riders is founded on her passion for sustainable equestrian fashion. Her goal was to inspire riders to make simple changes in their everyday life for 30days, which they would then hopefully continue on with.
Louise (@induehorse) sat down with Zoe for The Equestrian Pulse podcast to find out more about the riders on a mission challenge. You can listen to the episode on your favourite podcast platform or via the website.
I completed the challenge last year and managed to implement most of the changes that I had said I would, but I only managed to keep a few of them going forward. This year I was keen to get on board again, however I knew that whatever changes I made, I wanted to be able to stick with in the long term.
I am going to replace my bottled shampoo and conditioner for a bar version. I am also going to switch my regular electric toothbrush head to an alternative that is recyclable.
While I never buy water bottles, I do buy diet soft drink in plastic bottles on a semi regular basis. But no more! Did you know that just 3% of that plastic bottle that you threw in the recycling bin will actually be reused vs around 68% from a can!
The other thing I will be ditching for the riders on a mission challenge is… Fast fashion. I’ve never been the biggest buyer of clothes but I have bought a few pieces for work. I have enough clothing and I would much prefer to purchase clothes second hand from my favourite label that will also for years to come!
Moving forward I am going to be doing my main shopping online and eating vegetarian meals only for at least two days a week!