There are many different types of girth, and often if you are faced with the task of shopping for one, it can be a little overwhelming unless you already have a bit of knowledge.
It is important to have a well-fitting girth, and the girth is designed to move with the horse’s body to evenly distribute pressure, and should not pinch or rub the hairs the wrong way, causing sores.
Different saddles have different billet lengths, you may need a separate girth for each saddle, and a dressage saddle will likely have longer billet straps and so need a shorter girth.
Also different horses will tolerate different girths better, and you may need to experiment to see which he finds the most comfortable.
Let’s take a look at some of the different types of girth available, and what you need to know before you go shopping.
Synthetic girths tend to be cheaper than leather girths, and they may not last quite as long as their leather counterparts. They are however a good option should you require several different girths for different horses or saddles, and they can be found with various synthetic linings.
Leather girths are more durable and long lasting. This type of girth may either be made entirely from leather, or have an insert inside the girth made of elastic or webbing. The cut edge of the leather is folded onto the outside of the girth so that it does not sit against the horse’s skin.
On some girths, the buckles connect to a short piece of elastic. This could be on both or just one end. This makes fastening the girth easier, and accommodates your horse’s rib cage expanding and contracting. Some girths are also designed with elastic panels in the girth itself.
String girths are made from lengths of strings, usually either mohair, wool, cotton or nylon. They do not slip as easily, wash and dry quickly, as well as allowing good air flow. However, make sure that if you choose a string girth that it does not chafe or pinch your horse, causing girth galls.
Split end girths
Split end girths split at the end, so each buckle is separate. These make tightening easier, with equal girth pressure.
Belly guard girths
Belly guard girths are often used when a horse is jumping, to prevent him hitting himself in the stomach with his hooves when he tucks his hooves to his belly. They resemble a breastplate, and are made of hard materials such as leather.
Girth sleeves are useful for preventing rubbing, and are padded sleeves which slip over the girth before you put it on to prevent rubbing. Great for sensitive horses, or those who are freshly clipped.
To figure out what size of girth you need, you can simply measure from the middle hole of the billet on one side of the saddle, to the middle hole on the other side, while your horse is wearing the saddle. Then simply take the measurement in inches, and you have your girth size.
We hope this has given you some insight into the different types of girths available, and which may be most appropriate for your needs. Be sure to check out our range of girths and girth sleeves here at Ride-away, which you can find here.