Horse Tack Review

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Collegiate Adjustable Girth

Horse Tack Review Staff

This is a 3-piece contoured adjustable leather girth made by Collegiate. While many websites describe this girth as fitting 44” – 56”, the girth our tester received is actually able to fit from 42” – 56”. Adjustment holes are spaced every inch so that if you need an in-between size, the girth could accommodate. It also has one elastic end and stainless steel roller buckles on both sides. It is made of quality english leather with a softly padded centre piece. The girth manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) is $129.95 US, but we found it for $91 and change (shipping not included) on sale.

Review based on 1 month of testing: I was really excited to review this girth. Having ridden everything from medium ponies to large horses, my adjustable Wintec saddle was the perfect choice to accommodate everyone’s different size. Carrying a bunch of different girths around to fit said horses and ponies was another story. Having both an adjustable saddle AND an adjustable girth would be perfect, I thought – allowing me to adapt my tack to whatever horse or pony I was riding with a few quick modifications.

My initial thought, before I even used the girth, was how nice it looked. While the Collegiate girth will match any other Collegiate tack, it didn’t look out of place with my havana coloured Wintec saddle or fittings. Fresh out of the package and before being oiled, the girth had a rich reddish brown colour. After being oiled and used, it turned slightly darker and the reddish tones became more subtle.

The girth was fairly easy to adjust with only one plain buckle to make the change. The holes are numbered every 2” and are very easy to read. One thing I missed though was not having a training D ring to attach a martingale or breastplate to.

I first tried the girth on an average sized Arab / Quarter Horse cross who normally takes a 44” girth. The soft padding on the centre piece (the part that comes into contact with the horses belly) easily molded to her contours, not looking bulky or obvious. The roller buckles and elastic end made tightening a snap. After a brief lunging session, I double checked the girth before mounting and then set off on a two hour ride. We did several extended sessions of trotting, cantering and galloping as well as schooling circles and other patterns. The girth had slipped back a hair, but not enough for me to be concerned about.

Over the course of the one month trail period, I also used the girth on a Morgan / Thoroughbred cross, a Belgian / Quarter Horse cross and a large Haflinger gelding who is very round throughout the appropriately named barrel! On a horse as wide and round as him, I’d prefer the extra stick a neoprene girth affords – I didn’t find much security with the Collegiate girth, even though it was able to adjust wide enough to comfortably fit him.

I let my coach borrow the girth for several lessons with other students. She tried it on a large Arabian pony and two horses – one being a heavy set draught cross. While the girth fit both horses properly, she didn’t like how it fit the large pony. When adjusted to one of the smaller settings, the main adjustment buckle sat right behind one of the ponies elbows. My coach worried that if left on long enough, the girth might start creating a rub mark on her sensitive skinned pony. She removed the Collegiate girth and replaced it with her regular one.

While impressed with the range of adjustment this girth allows, she offered one suggestion. Instead of trying to cover such a large array of sizes, Collegiate should make two adjustable girths: one in a smaller size to fit ponies or small horses, and one in a bigger size to fit average to large horses. This would eliminate any problems encountered when trying to properly fit the girth to a smaller horse.

All in all though I like this girth, continue to use it and would recommend it to someone that needs a variety of girth sizes – especially for the convenience factor. For someone on a budget, where buying multiple girths isn’t an option, this is also a great alternative. I mainly used this girth for schooling but in my opinion, it looks nice enough to fit into a show ring as well.

The padding is still soft despite being sweated and rained on, the leather still looks great (though there are already a few slight blemishes from use) and I look forward to many, many more rides with it.

Collegiate had a good idea with this product, and with a bit more fine tuning, it would be excellent.