On top of that, I would suggest getting a professionals choice vented girth which is vented ultra soft neoprene. I'd second FfionWinnie's suggestion of a Professional's Choice one ... really pleased with mine, good as new after 2 years but most importantly, it does its job well without slipping and without having to be over-tightened.
As a matter of fact, many riders overcompensate for this by actually placing the saddle too far forward on their horse. But too far forward is as bad as too far back, as the saddle will interfere with the horse’s shoulder movement.
Even if initially placed properly, some saddles seem to slide forward or backward on their own. The equivalent of a breastplate for forward slip is a crupper, which is rarely seen except on ponies or mules.
If a horse isn’t going to wear a crupper, then a specialized girth or some sort of no-slip pad will be required to prevent forward slip. Often the forward slip is more insidious than overt, and a good no-slip pad will solve the problem.
If you experience girth soreness, you should always stretch your horse’s shoulders by pulling each upper leg forward. At the same time, you can look to see if the shoulder rotates back too much under the flap, similar to when the horse is moving, and correct the problem before you mount.
In addition, a saddle that continues to slide forward could put the rider ahead of the horse’s center of balance so that he or she topples onto the neck or over the horse’s head if he stops or puts his head down. Anti-Slip Products Cruppers are effective, but they aren’t necessarily the best solution for your horse, and they can cause some restriction of the back if too tight.
This pad does an excellent job of addressing the symptom of forward saddle-slip, and the cushioning effect makes it ideal for horses who are sore from repeatedly having the saddle jammed into them. Note: This pad could change the fit of some saddles by virtue of its thickness.
It’s square, with round holes cut in the middle for ventilation, and thin enough not to change the fit of our saddle. Professional’s Choice Air-Ride Pad ($89.95) has an air-suspension system made up of tiny small air pockets in a multi-cell configuration.
The system is designed to prevent pressure on your horse’s back and to absorb shock. The pad has an antimicrobial material on the underside to discourage the buildup of bacterial bugs.
Much to our surprise, the velvet did a good job holding our saddle in place. However, we would like the seam on this pad changed, as it currently runs under the weight-bearing part of the saddle rather than the middle of the panel.
Both are nice, sturdy pads, great for regular use but did little to solve saddle-slip problems. The buckles are high-quality metal and have rollers on the ends, which are superior for ease in tightening girths.
The girth is designed to allow ample room for the horse’s elbow, so you must select a girth size that allows this area to correspond with the elbow area of the horse or pony for optimal fit and comfort. The waffled Neoprene goes on the horse side of the girth and does a good job preventing saddle slippage initially.
The girth is designed to move with the horse, giving a comfortable gripping action. The Nun Finer Over Girth ($35.95) is made of strong worsted wool from England with German elastic ends.
Bottom Line None of these products will replace proper saddle fit and placement. We realize $195 is quite an outlay, but it’s made of beautiful leather and, with proper care, it should last an extremely long time.
Flexi-Girth is a revolutionary horse girth design, developed to provide maximum saddle stability whilst at the same time allowing the horse unrestricted freedom to breathe and therefore perform to the very best of its ability. Intelligent design allows for full range of shoulder motion under saddle.
Recessed ends move girth away from horse’s elbow for additional comfort. Made from top grain English saddle leather, with soft padded calf skin interior for horse comfort.
Multiple riders at the Rio Olympics, Rolex Kentucky and the Pan Am Games used the Shoulder Relief Girth. It even improves freedom of motion on horses with properly fitting saddles.
When you walk next to your horse you will see his shoulder moving as he reaches his leg forward. His scapula actually rotates backward as the front leg moves forward.
This is because of the point of connection where the soft tissue attaches to the scapula. Due to the natural movement of the horse, he actually needs an additional 1-2 inches of clearance.
And any horse who's ever had to endure chafing, pinching or the painful constriction of a poorly designed or ill-fitting cinch or girth would certainly agree. So to help you zero in on the type of cinch or girth that will best suit your horse, your saddle and your circumstances, we're going to cover some of your options.
Of course, a big part of your choice will rest on personal preference (and your bank account). However, making an informed decision also means knowing a little about design and construction.
For training problems, see the November 2002 issue, because being cinch isn't something that you or the horse should “just live with,” nor is the gradual cinching method always safe. One way to help prevent your horse from having a bad cinching experience is to follow these saddling guidelines.
As soon as you have the saddle in place on your horse's back and have everything smoothed out (hair lying flat, pad pulled up into the gullet), use a steady pull to tighten the cinch or girth enough to ensure that the saddle will stay put if the horse should make a sudden move. Be sure to check the cinch again prior to mounting and tighten it as necessary so that it is snug enough to keep the saddle in place before you put your weight into the stirrup and swing aboard.
While you want the cinch to be secure, you don't want it to restrict the horse's freedom of movement or chest expansion as he breathes. Basically, you need to know how it's rigged so that you can determine what types of cinches or girths can attach to it properly.
Although you'll find dozens of styles of girths and cinches, the shape basically falls into one of three categories. The roper style widens out in the middle (the part that will lie directly underneath the horse).
This design helps spread the pressure of the girth or cinch across a wider area, which gives it more comfort and stability. These girths are designed for comfort and freedom of movement by conforming to horse anatomy, generally curving away from the elbows and widening somewhat across the belly area.
If he's had problems tolerating a particular design in the past, it might be worth investigating an alternative style. Various materials may offer significant benefits (softness, sweat absorption, resistance to slipping, easy maintenance) or possible downsides (lack of durability, a tendency to cause galls, an affinity for brush and burrs, too much give).
With all the choices in size, style, shape and materials, it may seem as if every horse needs a different cinch or girth. But tack shops and catalogs have wide selections, so once you narrow your choices to what will best suit you and your horse, you'll be able to find exactly what you want.