Its just a girth? Right? Not with the Scharf Freedom Girth.
At 18.2 I have a monster sized horse but he is one of the most sensitive souls on the planet. He never much liked his girth and I spent a small fortune on one that has been tested for the GB team. I have ridden in it for about 5 years, one for dressage and one for jumping. I thought I had the best girth that was available on the planet.
It wasn’t something that I gave too much thought to, if I am honest. I never really stopped to think about it. A girth secures the saddle to my horse, so I can climb onboard – yes?
Then I met the Scharf Freedom Girth. Even then as we were starting to work with them for their hats to match our Lotus Romeo jackets, I just thought I would get one because I could. I have to admit to being a bit intrigued about the weird appearance. It arrived and sat in my office for a couple of weeks, looking quite strange.
Having a dressage lesson one Friday, late as always to tack-up, I grabbed it thinking today was freedom girth inauguration day. I changed girths and set-off for the arena, I didn’t say anything to Giles as I started to warm-up.
My horse doesn’t like schooling too much, so I thought, he is always stuffy and I have to work hard to get him to do what I want him to do.
Despite the thrashing rain, I seemed to have a new horse underneath me! Responsive to my aids, quick off the leg, must be my imagination or suddenly I have become Charlotte over night and I know that hasn’t happened.
Giles was shouting, “What the heck have you done? This is not like Stretch. I have never seen him so free flowing, his stride length has increased and so responsive without you having to work extremely hard”
I let on about the new scharf girth. But surely a girth can’t make this huge difference? Something to ponder.
Giles spent the rest of the lesson with his jaw on the ground for the most part. When we were finished, he then started gabbling about “I wouldn’t have believed it, if I hadn’t seen it”.
I had a rather wide grin on my face.
Next day, I went hacking with my Freedom Girth on. Same thing, responsive horse. Striding out in the walk, whichever he never does without huge persuasion except when he is on the water treadmill, of course!!
So, then I went and did my research. Granted it is not the right way around but I was completely taken aback.
When you think about the anatomy of a horse, the whole thing makes a huge amount of sense.
If I had something strapped to my back, cinched on my front not allowing me much movement I think I would feel the same way. Why do we never think in terms of ourselves? The freedom girth is just completely logical now I sit and think about it but it never entered my head – more fool me.
I thought that I always listened to my horse, I know his gait, I know if there is a slightest change in his movement, I know when he is up beat and when he isn’t, I know when he is going to throw a strop when I asking him to do things he doesn’t like so why, oh, why, didn’t I think about this?
The technical bit. The Scharf Freedom girth is designed to work with the various muscle groups, providing independent support for each area. Importantly allowing freedom for the ribcage to move, to expand and contract as the horse breathes. It doesn’t put pressure on.
The girth buckles are designed to work with the saddle position rather than against it. They are soft and padded again, all designed for comfort.
The Freedom Girth is also pretty clever in its design allowing for air to circulate, couple that with the indestructible fibres used in the manufacture along with premium quality leather, you have a pretty amazing product.
Yes, it’s not cheap but then whatever is that actually works? My horse is loving it, my schooling is no longer a bind for him or for me, maybe I will be getting those elusive decent dressage scores after all. Now I am far happier to practise and so is he.
At the end of the day, Mr Stretch is King. He is the apple of my eye and I will do anything and everything to make sure I do right by him.
If he could speak I know he would be saying “You did good this time, Mum, I can breathe, I’m comfortable”.
Now I’m off to trial the jumping version of the freedom girth and see if I can clear 1m 60!!
Check out the Scharf girths here!