Saving money is hard, especially in the horse world where everything seems to cost so much more. But what if you could get a similar product at half the price?
This is the classic name brand versus store brand battle. The Professional’s Choice VenTECH Girth (~$75) has been on the market for quite some time now and you can find them everywhere from the schooling ring to the “A” circuit. SmartPak released their version, the Air+ Neoprene Girth ($50), slightly more recently. But how does it hold up against the favorite?
Both girths feature non-slip, ventilated neoprene to keep your horse cool and your girth in place, roller buckles for ease of use, a center D-ring for martingale or breastplate attachments, and are easily washed with a rag or in a machine. (Note: I’ve tossed both in the wash with no issues, though Professional’s Choice suggests removing and washing only the neoprene, and SmartPak advises cleaning the girth with a wet towel and soap.)
The biggest difference between the two girths is the appearance. In terms of prettiness and a show-ready look, Professional’s Choice takes the cake for me—the VenTECH girth is one solid color which looks neater from afar as opposed to the SmartPak girth’s combination of brown, black, and tan. The downside in the VenTECH’s appearance is the heavy branding on either side that is visible while riding. While the VenTECH’s logos bother me less than the multi-colored Air+, some prefer the non-walking billboard look.
The feature that the Air+ has on the VenTECH is the contouring. Anatomically shaped girths are becoming more popular as horse-owners become more aware of their horse’s comfort and SmartPak was smart to add that feature.
I originally picked up the SmartPak Air+ Neoprene Girth for everyday use and to reserve my Professional’s Choice VenTECH Girth for shows, and I’m pretty impressed with the “knock-off” version. With slight differences between the two, I’d say the SmartPak Air+ Neoprene Girth is a pretty good less-expensive dupe.