Buyers' guide to girths

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The type of girth and how it fits is often overlooked, but to ensure your horse is happy and comfortable you need to take a bit of time picking the best girth for him. If you’re confused by the vast array available we’re here to help you make the right choice

The design of girths has been quite a hot topic for a number of years now. More and more manufacturers are looking at the way horses move and designing girths that work with your horse rather than creating a device to simply secure the saddle in place. There’s also a variety of materials to choose from. Leather is still a firm favourite, but synthetic materials have a lot to offer too, including being easy to care for.

In this buyer’s guide, we’ll give you all the tips and advice you need to buy the right girth, but before you go on to find your perfect match, take a moment to answer
a few questions. Armed with your answers you’ll be ready to spend, spend, spend
– and to choose the right option for you and your horse.

What type of saddle do you have?

What saddle you use will also influence the type of girth you need. If you have a monoflap saddle it will have long girth straps, so you’ll need a short girth. If your saddle has two flaps with short girth straps, you’ll need a long one.

With or without elastic?

To ensure equal tension across your girth as you fasten it, pick one with no elastic, or with elastic in the middle or elastic at both ends. You’ll get more stability without elastic but some horses prefer the bit of give that comes from using it.

Shaped or straight?

In recent years, shaped girths have become the norm. These have been designed to be more comfortable for your horse and are shaped around his elbow so he can move more freely. Some have a wider panel that sits on your horse’s breastbone to spread the pressure more evenly for increased comfort.

Clean, or quick wash and go?

Whether your girth is leather
or synthetic, it’s important to keep
it clean. Using a dirty girth can result in sores as a build-up of dirt will rub against your horse’s skin. If your girth is leather, you’ll need to apply a conditioner after cleaning to keep it supple. A synthetic girth can look just as smart as leather and will only need a quick wipe over with warm water.

What size do I need?

To measure your horse for a girth, take your saddlecloth and anything else you normally use and place them under your saddle. Using a piece of string or soft tape, measure from the middle hole on one of the girth straps and then pass the string under your horse, one hand’s width away from his elbow, to the corresponding girth hole on the other side of the saddle. Measure the length of the string and this is the size girth you will need.

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