Product Review - Total Saddle Fit StretchTec Shoulder Relief Girth
Updated: May 11, 2020
I wanted to do a review on a product that I purchased last year. I am sure by now that, like me, you have read or heard some raving reviews about these newer anatomical girths. But does it really make a difference? Is this product truly a "game-changer"? Below is my experience and review on the Total Saddle Fit StretchTec Shoulder Relief Girth for Dressage.
As an avid Dressage rider and owner of 3 very spoiled horse children, I am always on the lookout for tack that is especially comfortable for my horses. I have ridden and owned numerous saddle brands with various combinations of saddle pads and half pads, all customized for each of my horses, but I had never put much thought or time into researching the best girth.
I suppose I never had any of my horses 'complain' or be super 'girthy', so considering a girth to improve my rides wasn't really on the radar. Then Cole, affectionately nicknamed "King of the Hill" or the "Dancing Marshmallow," came along. It took us a few tries to get his tack just perfect. He always tended to be 'girthy' during tack-up. He has a very lofty trot with significant movement in his shoulders, and his large shoulder blades also seem to cause his saddle to move around just a little more than I would like.
After some trial and error, getting him a custom saddle, and the right pad combination, I started researching girths. I quickly came across the Total Saddle Fit StretchTec Shoulder Relief Girth.
This specific product is the second-generation version of the original Shoulder Relief Girth. The StretchTec Shoulder Relief Girth still provides the same anatomically correct shoulder freedom and elbow comfort for the horse. And, it also features a patented triangular center elastic feature for additional comfort and performance. This elastic feature allows the girth to expand with the horse's chest while they are breathing and working.
With this girth, Cole is much more comfortable while being tacked up. My saddle no longer slips or moves out of place. The sweat pattern under his saddle pad is much more uniform. He now has significantly more freedom of movement in his shoulders. After a few weeks, our chiropractor/bodyworker noticed he was less stiff throughout his shoulders and back. After a month or so, my trainer also noticed his medium and extended gaits improved considerably. This product is made of high-quality leather and still looks new after a year of 5-day-a-week use. I would say the only downside is that the elastic can be a little hard to clean if it gets excessively muddy or sandy. I may consider adding a sheepskin girth cover to aid in cleaning and comfort.
After having such a great response with Cole in this girth, we went ahead and ordered one for Raven, our also hard-to-fit Clydesdale/Friesian cross mare.
Overall, I highly recommend this girth to anyone, but especially for horse owners dealing with hard-to-fit saddle issues. This product 100% lives up to its claims and truly is a game-changer. This product has multiple customization options, including being available in black, brown, leather, neoprene, or wool fleece.
The StretchTec technology is not currently available in a Western Cinch or Hunter/Jumper style girth. However, Total Saddle Fit has multiple Shoulder Relief Girths that are anatomically correct, providing shoulder and elbow clearance for the comfort of your horse for these styles of riding.
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