|Selecting Dressage Girths|
|Offset/anatomical/'Logic"/Fairfax girths are cut-back and are generally thinner to reduce bulk behind the elbow and prevent rubbing. Horses with particularly forward girth grooves, turned-in elbows or excess skin around the elbow may find these girths allow greater freedom of movement and less friction.|
|Elastic ends allow for chest expansion when galloping or jumping, are easier to do up, and are helpful on sensitive horses on whom the saddle doesn't shift very much, but they can contribute to saddle instability, friction, and over-tightening of the girth.|
|When fitting a dressage girth, the aim is to get the buckles away from the pressure-sensitive area behind the elbows – so fit the longest length possible. As a general rule, when tightened, the girth’s top edge should be as close to the bottom edge of the saddle pad as possible. This depends on the size of the saddle pad and length of the flaps, so an alternative guide is to have just two billet holes remaining on both sides of the saddle. You might need a longer girth for a short-flap dressage or a jumping saddle. The girth should be done up evenly on both sides.|
|Care of Saddle Fittings|
Stirrups can be cleaned by first rinsing off mud or brushing off any dried dirt, using a nailbrush or small vegetable brush to thoroughly clean the rubber or metal treads. On safety stirrups, ensure any hinges or springs are cleaned and periodically given a shot of WD-40 or a few drops of oil, and check any rubber areas for signs of weakness such as dryness or cracking. Stirrups made with metals other than stainless steel will require an occasional polishing with the appropriate metal polish to retain their shine.
Girths and Stirrup Leathers:
Modern leather requires little preparation. It is usually beneficial to condition the leather prior to first use and again after the first week or so with a good cream or ointment-type conditioner to make it less inclined to crack and to retain it's suppleness. Rub the conditioner into all parts of the leather with your fingers, particularly where the leather bends and around the buckles and holes, gently rolling the leather as you go. If the rider prefers a darker colour, the judicious use of a quality oil can speed up that process, but test the oil for the amount of colour change on a small area first, and remember that less is more. Over-oiling causes leather to weaken and stretch and should particularly be avoided on items such as stirrup leathers, saddle billets and nosebands, which are generally under some pressure. You can always reapply more after it is fully absorbed.
Ideally, your leather goods should be wiped off with a damp cloth after every use to remove dust, grease and sweat, paying particular attention to the buckle ends, holes, and where the leather bends back on itself. Once every 2-3 uses, we recommend conditioning with an ointment or cream conditioner to replace any lost oils and to keep the leather supple.
If you are not an 'every ride' maintenance person, you will need to do a more thorough cleaning and conditioning periodically. After undoing all the buckles, clean the leather thoroughly using your preferred saddle soap, rinse the excess off with a barely damp cloth and allow it to dry out of any direct heat source. Once dry, apply conditioner as needed.
|Saddle Fittings' Reviews|
|How do they look?|
|Cindy:"The Tech stirrups are sleek, with rounded edges and have a modern looking design."|
|How do they fit?|
|Cindy:"From top to base, the stirrups are large – larger than my current stirrups – because of this, I rode one hole higher than I usually would."|
|How well did they function?|
|Cindy:"Because they are weighted, they sit and fall well off the stirrup leathers. If you do drop your
stirrups these are very, very easy to quickly pick back up. I liked the tread – your boot really grips the base making them
very comfortable to use. The aluminum surface cleans very well; after 4 or 5 rides, I ran them under warm water for a few minutes and they looked brand new again."|
Victoria:"Best stirrups I ever rode in. Provide a lot of support and knee relief. The wide base takes pressure off your hips and knees. I liked the fact that there's a "L" & "R" symbol on them to know which goes on what side. Avoids confusion."
|What didn't you like?|
|Cindy:"I would have preferred if they were black, this would be a better appearance for dressage
(*Note* this model does come in black). Over all I found the look of them just a bit too big, and I didn't love
the silver with my dressage saddle - black would be the colour to go with."|
Victoria:"They scratched my stirrup leathers because the platform is a little too sharp (the spikes)."
|Would you recommend them?|
|Victoria:"Yes! Recommend it to anybody with knee or back problems."|
|Is the price reasonable?|
|Cindy:"At $ 225.00 I find them pricey. Generally I would look for stirrups with less of a high
price tag, regardless of the design. I would be more inclined to spend more on other pieces of tack or pads."|
Victoria:A little on the pricey side. But I think its worth it."
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