Are Rope Girths Good

Carole Stephens
• Tuesday, 17 November, 2020
• 7 min read

The name ‘girth’ is actually derived from the Proto-Germanic source “Get” which also makes up the basis of words like “Girdle” and “Gird”. Western riders use the term ‘Cinch’ which also describes the action of tightening the apparatus around the horse’s stomach.

wintec western saddle wide saddles tack
(Source: thetrainersloft.com)


Everything from a basic rope or mohair construction to the latest lightweight water resistant materials. In the same way that Horse Boots started to be mass-produced in the 1960s and 1970s, so girths also followed the same pattern.

This was a material that held up well, was cheap and readily available and used by most of the Asian factories churning out girths by the thousands. But, just as neoprene is no longer the ideal material to wrap around your horse’s legs.

These girths are made to be used with an Purpose or Jumping Saddle and usually come in lengths between 42-54 inches. AP girths can be made in lots of different outer materials with fixed or roller buckles.

With an English girth, the important thing is to have something lightweight and breathable, with roller buckles so that you can adjust from your saddle if you need to. The more modern girths have an ergonomic shape to clear the horse’s shoulder when jumping.

Heat under the girth is a real issue so look for a non neoprene liner with breathable construction. We have even coined the term ‘girth’ for horses that may back up, kick or show even more extreme reactions to being birthed.

endurance simco saddle
(Source: thetrainersloft.com)

Sometimes this reaction is from a memory of harsh handling in the past, but sometimes it may be your horse’s way of telling you that its uncomfortable. For everyday schooling and jumping you need a lightweight girth that will not interfere with your horse’s movement.

Many events favor our monoflap girths for their extremely lightweight construction. These girths have an extra large stud guard ‘belly’ plate to protect the horse as it tucks over a jump.

Neoprene Free (especially important if you have a sensitive horse) Lightweight and Breathable (to avoid heat build up and heaviness) Ergonomic Fit (For a comfortable ride) Strong and flexible closures Medical Grade Elastic (Cheaper elastics may overstretch and cause the girth to get looser over time) As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Resort Enterprises Ltd., the developers of bulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the Forums.

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boot soaking 1039 davis
(Source: thetrainersloft.com)

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choice pad ultra cowboy 1331 cowboys
(Source: thetrainersloft.com)

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With the help of adjustable leather or nylon straps, or Latinos, your cinch holds the saddle in place and withstands the repeated force behind a horse’s movements. Its safety factor is critical, because a broken or poorly fitted front cinch can easily spell a wreck.

cinch roper mohair classic alpaca equine
(Source: www.tackroominc.com)

The three most common materials for cinches are fleece, mohair, and neoprene, all of which have pros, cons, and appropriate uses. There’s more slip to this material than others, which means you must tighten it more against your horse’s girth area to hold your saddle in place.

Mohair breathes and dries better than fleece, which makes it easier to maintain because it doesn’t retain moisture. It dries quickly so can be sprayed directly with anti-fungal solution and disinfectant, making it easiest to maintain.

In these cases, look for a neoprene cinch that has built-in, breathable holes that allow heat to dissipate. Err on the smaller size, so you can make adjustments before you mount up and don’t run out of holes in your Latinos.

Built-up sweat, hair, mud, and moisture will damage equipment over time and predispose your horse to skin conditions, such as girth itch. Allow your cinch to dry completely after a sweaty session, or spray down before you store it.

Cinch style depends on your riding purpose, your personal preference, and the best fit for your horse. This style widens through the middle of the cinch (see “Mohair” photo on page 38), providing more surface area for the saddle to secure.

toscana cavalleria polo woman
(Source: www.tiendahipicatuxelife.com)

It also provides security for horses with low withers to keep your saddle from rolling. This style tapers, or cuts back, near the horse’s armpits, which helps prevent chaffing.

Contoured cinches are especially helpful in events that require a broad range of motion, such as Western dressage or trail challenges. The additional layer adds extra support to material and is typically made in a tapered, roper style.

Visible fraying, matting, or cracking (such as with neoprene), or if hardware is damaged, means it’s time to replace it. Damage occurs from poor maintenance over time or from spurs or snags on the trail, so is mostly preventable.

If the front cinch breaks during a ride, and you injure yourself or your horse, you’ll wish you’d replaced it sooner. Every front cinch has two smaller Dee rings on each side of the center of the girth.

A hobble keeps the back cinch (if you have one) in place, so it doesn’t slip to sensitive areas, such as the flank. Al Dunning, Scottsdale, Arizona, has produced world champion horses and riders in multiple disciplines.

dressage girth equine cinch track horse standard
(Source: equestrianco.com)

He’s been a professional trainer for more than 40 years, and his expertise has led him to produce books, DVDs, and his own online mentoring program, Team AD International (teamadinternational.com). The natural choice for finer-quality and greater attention to detail then, is to support the independent makers who are going to great lengths to ensure the fiber content and care in craftsmanship is in keeping with the best consumer protection practices.

His calm and compassionate way of explaining the considerations helps us all gain greater appreciation for what the horse and mule are experiencing with cinches, and how intentionally we can contribute to improvements “For the Equine’s Sake.” Many of these ‘local’ cinch makers are investing heavily in education and materials which are not yet found in commercial hobby and craft supply stores.

A precious few makers are even stepping back in the process to twist their own cordage and detailing yarns to gain increased confidence and consistency of fiber content and handling/end-use performance. To those who are most familiar with fibers and how they perform, mohair is the most obvious cinch material being abused and devalued by the counterfeiting that results from false labeling.

Other materials are also being promoted in unfortunate manners which further confuse consumers and often resulting in pressuring accurately labeled articles off the market. In many cases, especially with cinches, individuals dedicated to correct promotion and labeling are discouraged from publishing sustainable selling prices because of the consumer pressures which result from misconceptions of value.

Rather than questioning and degrading the premium values determined by confident, independent makers, it may be more beneficial to scrutinize the unreasonably low pricing which often does not compute when recognizing the skill, time, and materials required even for the simplest synthetic cinches. While some commercial business owners have found it less stressful to pursue other, more profitable avenues of work than bend to the market pressures which seem to applaud and reward the “sounds good labeling even when it is misleading, others choose to maintain a living at a good paying ‘career’ or ‘comfortable’ retirement check and use cinch making as a hobby with little or no calculation of value on their time.

The word wool generally can apply to any fleece bearing animal and therefore according to the US Federal Trade Commission, a “woolen” blanket, when This collection process along with direct scientific research on the most popular materials and styles compared to traditional designs and natural fibers will go along way toward identifying common threads and reasons for change if determined necessary.

The more of us who chip in to learn about how the cinch really works, the sooner and more consistently will our horses and mules breath easier with increased comfort and enjoyment.

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1 www.aqha.com - https://www.aqha.com/history-of-the-quarter-horse
2 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Quarter_Horse