My reluctant search for the best equestrian belt had surprising results thanks to C4. #beltboycottover
*Updated August 2019*
I probably wear riding pants at least 200 days out of the year. After all, they’re comfortable, go with everything, and I have two drawers full of different styles and colors to choose from. How often do I wear a belt with my riding tights and jeans? Never. (As in, never ever.) In fact, I couldn’t wear a belt even if I wanted to. I didn’t own any belts. (As in zero, nada, zilch.) That’s how much I HATE belts.
Correction: “Hated,” past tense.
The C4 brand has changed the way I view equestrian and everyday belts, which I never thought would be possible. I can finally express my creativity, boost my riding fashion meter, and NOT feel like I’m wearing a freakin’ noose around my tum-tum.
Basically, C4 is the magical unicorn of the belt world.
Waist Not, Want Not
I’ve been riding horses for 30+ years, and I’ve been nothing if not consistent about my disdain for belts. Growing up, I suffered from chronic stomach aches. Eat the wrong thing? Stomach ache. Nervous about my upcoming lesson? Stomach ache. Think about maybe getting a stomach ache even though I don’t have one right now? Stomach ache.
It sucked and made me very averse to wearing tight stuff around my waist. (Mentally, I still hate restrictive waistbands as an adult because of this experience.)
Most of my childhood and adolescence was spent riding English, which meant I bought breeches a size up and did my best to skip belts all together.
For the few occasions where I *had* to wear a belt at a competition, I did so begrudgingly and immediately ripped it off after my class.
Over the next 30 years, including a decade spent in a professional workplace, I probably owned less than 5 belts. I probably wore each one less than 5 times.
Even as late as last year, I withdrew from a clinic when I learned the dress code required a belt. (Guys, I haaate belts.)
Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me
After moving to Montana and buying my own horse a few years ago, I decided to give belts another chance. Half the time I ride Western, and I participate in quite a few English clinics. Belts were everywhere.
I swallowed my pride and got a nice leather belt to wear with jeans. Mistake.
The buckle was cumbersome and felt like it stabbed me in the stomach when seated. Plus, it never felt like the right size. (#betweenbeltholeproblems)
Next, I tried an elastic belt with a flat plastic clasp, thinking it would work with jeans and riding tights. Mistake.
Even though I followed the manufacturer’s sizing guidelines, the stretchy belt that *should* fit someone my size still felt way too restrictive. I gave it away without ever wearing it out of the house.
Two more belts. Two more fails. Good riddance.
You Can Teach An Old Belt-Hater New Tricks
Little did I know that when I invited equestrian vlogger Shelby Dennis to write an equestrian gift guide for Horse Rookie she would introduce me to a brand capable of restoring my faith in “the B word.”
It’s called C4 Belts, and Shelby had me at “… they’re cut to fit upon arrival, so you don’t need to worry about sizing at all!”
Though admittedly jaded, I clicked over to C4’s website for a peek. The creative side of me was immediately excited by all the designs. From florals to unicorns, paisleys to goats in pajamas, the designs were fun, colorful, and seemingly endless.
As a life-long belt hater, however, I knew better than to prioritize fashion over function. So I dug into the specifics… and was pleasantly surprised. Cut-to-size, dishwasher safe, durable, and a lifetime guarantee? Interest piqued.
If you’ve read my January Horse Expense Report, you know that I gave in and ordered my first two (yes, two) C4 belts.
How to Size and Cut a C4 Belt
Cutting a belt to size sounds like a great idea… until you’re holding the scissors up to your brand-spanking new belt thinking, “Don’t mess this up.”
Here’s the good news: sizing and cutting my C4 belts turned out to be really easy.
Follow these simple steps to size and cut your belt:
1. Put on the breeches, jeans, or other riding pants you wear most often.*
2. Tuck in your shirt to help mimic show and clinic attire. (Plus, you want to show off your belt!)
3. Remove your belt from the packaging and set the buckle aside.
4. Weave the strap though your belt loops and cross-over excess in the middle of your waist.
*Side note for the ladies: If you’re on your period and feeling a bit bloated, wait to size/cut your belt until you’re back to “normal.”
5. Mark where you want to cut the strap with your fingers before carefully removing the strap from your belt loops. (You can also mark with a pen or Sharpie on the back of the strap.)
6. Grab your scissors, and carefully cut in a straight line. (When in doubt, cut LESS and go back later.)
7. Set the excess strap aside, and weave the remainder back through your belt loops. Check the sizing.
8. Still too long? Mark a new spot and cut more strap off the belt.
9. Once you like the size, affix the buckle to the cut end of your belt strap. Pull open the “jaws,” slide the end of your strap underneath the teeth until it hits the plastic stopper, and close the mechanism snugly.
10. Put on your new belt, snap a pic, and tag @c4belts on Instagram!
10 Reasons I Don’t Hate This Belt
I’m as shocked as you are that I actually like a belt. Actually, I more than like it… I can’t wait to get more!
Here are a few reasons why:
- Cut to Size: This is the #1 reason I chose C4 belts. I plan to buy several more and size them a little differently so I always have a belt that feels good on any particular day.
- Lifetime Guarantee: C4 Belts are under $40, so they don’t break the bank. (Note: Unless you buy ALL of them.) That said, it’s great to know your investment is protected if anything happens to your product in the future.
- Mix and Match: I love being able to choose my buckle color when I order a belt and being able to buy extra buckles to swap out anytime.
- Gives Back: You can choose a charitable cause during checkout, and C4 will donate on your behalf!
- Cruelty Free: Heck yes. I wish every single product had this stamp of approval.
- Care Free: Throw your belt in the dishwasher (really) or hand wash with light soap. They’re 100% waterproof.
- Travel Ready: Zip through airport security with this hypoallergenic, metal-free belt.
- Gender Neutral: These belts are perfect for gals AND guys.
- Earth Friendly: You can actually recycle both the strap and buckle if you’re every done with your belt. (Note: You won’t be.)
- More Than Belts: C4 makes more than belts, including dog collars, riding shirts, saddle pads, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are they really one size fits all?
I suppose there are exceptions to every rule, but C4 Belts will comfortably fit up to a 42” waist. (They’re designed to be cut down to fit any waist smaller than that!) Their Classic Belts are 1.25” wide and start 49.25” long, and their Skinny Belts are .75” wide and start 48” long.
Can I mix and match straps and buckles?
Heck yeah. One of the coolest things about C4 Belts is that you can buy any strap with or without a buckle and/or purchase one-off buckles to mix and match with any belt. (Just make sure you match Classic and Skinny size belts and buckles appropriately.)
What happens if my belt or buckle breaks?
Fear not because C4 has a lifetime guarantee on all belts and buckles.
If you have an issue, email them with a pictures of your broken item, your shipping address, and the color/style of the item. Voila… replaced.
Can I create a custom C4 Belt?
YES. Check it out the details on their custom belts page or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
And, yes, of course I’m going to design one for Horse Rookie. Stay tuned!
Will I get hit with crazy shipping charges?
No way. In fact, orders over $50 ship FREE within the U.S. from the C4 website. (International shipping is also available.)
If you buy your C4 Belt on Amazon, you’ll almost always score free shipping on single belts!
Talk to me about metal. What’s in these belts?
All Classic and Skinny C4 Belts are 100% metal free — zero nickel, or any other metals for that matter. And you know what that means? You can wear them through airport security without setting off alarms.
They look like plastic… are they?
Sort of, but not the kind of plastic you’re envisioning. C4 Belts are made of a material called TPE, or Thermoplastic Elastomer (i.e. thermoplastic). It’s thick, durable, color-fast, and flexible. In fact, it’s the same stuff used on snowmobile treads! If it can hold up to those conditions, these belts can definitely make it through your next 4-Star Event (or local schooling show).
Can I use my belt as a neck strap?
Yes, and I’m super excited about that. As an adult learning to jump (on a horse who’s also learning), I love having a neck strap at-hand over bigger and/or spookier fences. Grabbing a neck strap keeps me from getting “left behind” over the jumps and helps me feel more secure.
Using a plain old stirrup leather as a neck strap isn’t very fun, and it’s not always comfy for my horse either. I’m definitely going to try using a C4 belt as my neck strap.
Belt Boycott Over
They say good things are worth the wait, and I guess belts were one of those things for me. Though it took decades to find ones I actually liked, rest assured that my C4 collection is only beginning.
In fact, I talked Big Sky Yoga Retreats into ordering a custom set of Yeehaw & Namaste C4 belts to offer at their yoga and horseback riding retreats in Montana.
I LOVE how they turned out, and C4 even donated a belt to each woman at the Cowgirls vs. Cancer scholarship retreat. #businesswithheart
Check out the full C4 collection here!Shop C4 Belts on Amazon
P.S. If you liked this article, trot on over to:
- Italian Delights: For Horses Shirt & Breeches Review
- Shelby Dennis & Milo’s Equestrian Gift Guide
- Herm Sprenger Turnado Bit Review: I’ve Never Ridden Better
- 10 Best Stirrups for Jumping Clear (and Staying Safe)
- My Monthly Horse Expense Reports
- Chill Out: Roeckl Winter Glove Review
- Horse Rookie Equestrian Gift Ideas