What You Need To Know
Although most girths might look the same, there are a few distinct types which will suit certain horses or styles of riding more than others and so you’ll want to factor that into your choice.
These styles are:
These are straight in shape and appear very much like a simple belt. They are the most common style of girth.
Anatomical contours are designed to fit the shape of your horse and relieve some of the pressure that standard girths can cause. They provide much more space around the elbows and are often seen as one of the most comfortable options for your mare!
These feature a large belly plate or guard and are often used for disciplines like showjumping and racing, to protect a horse’s stomach when going over fences.
These girths are designed to be slightly shorter than the standard so that riders do not feel the bulk of a girth between their legs.
Types Of Girth Material
You’ll notice when browsing girths that many of them are made from a diverse range of materials, all of which provide different benefits for both horse and rider.
If you want your steed to look traditional and classy, leather is always the way to go. They’re usually easy to care for and the material becomes softer after conditioning and cleaning.
Durable and easily cleaned, synthetic materials are often priced the most reasonably.
An affordable alternative, neoprene is often popular with riders who find that the saddle is slipping with other types of girth. They offer a lot of comfort for your pony and are durable thanks to their rubbery composition. Beware though that some horses can be allergic to this material.
A great option for ending slippage issues and chaffing problems, soft string options are made from wool, cotton, mohair and nylon string, which provides a cooler feeling and good movement for alleviating pressure points.
Things To Consider
Type of Saddle
As the girth is securing the saddle to your horse, they need to be a suitable match and so you need to consider your saddle before buying a girth. Monoflap saddles often feature long girth straps and so to get a secure fit, you’ll need a shorter length girth. Opposingly, if your saddle offers two flaps short straps, you’ll need a nice long one!
The most important thing, of course, is to ensure a girth fits your horse and can provide sufficient tension to hold a saddle in place without feeling tight, constrictive and uncomfy!
Most horses of a certain height will need similar-sized girths and this general size chart should give you a basic idea of the roundabout size you need.
Though of course, we heartily recommend doing an exact measurement on them to ensure they get the perfect fit.
|Horse Height (hands) ||Long/Standard Girth (inches) ||Short Girth (inches) |
|13 – 14 H ||38 – 40 ||18 – 20 |
|14 – 15 H ||42 – 44 ||22 – 24 |
|15 – 16 H ||46 – 48 ||26 |
|16 – 17 H ||50 – 52 ||28 |
|17 H + ||54 – 56 ||30 – 32 |
| ||*General Riding & Jumping ||*Dressage |
Easy To Clean
Horse’s working hard with a saddle on their back is always going to invite a lot of sweat and dirt and so girth’s do unfortunately need to be cleaned semi-regularly. Not doing so can lead to sores as the build-up of dirt rubs and irritates the skin, so it’s best to get one you’ll know how to care for.
Leather, for example, needs cleaning and conditioning to keep it in good nick, which is a lot more time consuming than the quick wipe or soap and water wash of other materials.
When browsing girths, you will often see some very confusing options concerning elastics.
Classic girths do not contain any elastic, but these days most models feature elastic at either one end or both ends… but which choice is better?
The point of elasticated ends is to offer some give for your horse when they breathe, the elastic affording room for the expanding ribcage.
Two is always the best bet, as elastics at just one end provide uneven tension and can cause slippages, the very reason you’re using a girth in the first place!
However, some riders often find they can accidentally over tighten girths which offer elastic at both ends and so now girths with centrally located elastic are becoming more popular.
Others refuse to use elasticated options at all, as it is slightly less stable than a static option.