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.
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.
Short girth for use with dressage saddles on horses with a narrower rib cage. Short girth with ring and buckle for training aid or martingale.
Short girth with ring and buckle for training aid or martingale. Long length with ring and buckle for martingale or breastplate. Use with GP or jump saddles with standard flap construction.
Usually the saddle’s instability lets it shift around and over a few minutes finds its way into a horse’s range of shoulder motion. This is because the saddle initially girths up with billets angling forward, and over a few minutes of riding the natural nature of the saddle is to creep forward to line up with the girth.
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.
So this means that even if a saddle is clearing the shoulders in the cross ties, it actually needs an additional 1-2 inches of clearance to account for the movement. This will keep the buckles above the elbow, allow for greater pressure distribution, and prevent the edge of the girth from resting on the horse’s pectoral muscles.
No, some horses are lucky enough to have the conformation perfectly shaped for saddle fit. And as horses are more frequently bred to be big movers, the need for shoulder freedom becomes more and more of a real issue.
Second, if your horse exhibits any of the above conformation characteristics then you (and he) could benefit from the Shoulder Relief Girth in a big way. No matter how well a saddle fits, if it is being pulled into the shoulders by “external forces” then it could cause an issue that would benefit from the proper girth.
I like the mono flap styled saddles, offers a little closer contact. To be honest though, depending on how different shaped the horses you are competing, 1 saddle probably won't do the job for you.
Can't wait till my filly's done growing, so I can settle on a saddle! I absolutely love monoflap saddles for both jumping and dressage.
I competed for quite a while in an older model Antares monoflap, and it was wonderful. I don't know the exact model as the saddle is about 12-15 years old, but it held up beautifully and was so incredibly comfortable.
I've also ridden a bit in the Button Wiser monoflap and really liked it a lot as well. While I have never had personal experience riding in a monoflap, I have always wondered about billet repairs on them.
Wouldn't the monoflap also make it more difficult to see if your billets have any damage to them under the flap area? I'd be worried if I couldn't visually assess the whole billet area every time I rode.
I have an HDR dressage monoflap, and regarding ducks question, I think it is noticeably closer feeling. Mine has pretty big knee rolls, and I feel like my leg is much tighter and slimmer to the horse than in my standard two flap dressage saddles.
So you can visually inspect them, but I use a slightly thicker pad to make sure they don't pull against my horse's back weird, he seems content and doesn't work differently (well, he works better because I ride better! Horses become much more sensitive to subtle leg cues after some time in a monoflap.
I also find that wrapping my legs around the horse is much easier and more natural. I used to own a Black Country Vinci GP which was amazingly comfortable and well-made but I struggled a bit with the placement of the stirrup bars. The Forestier really does facilitate the best riding position of any saddle I've ridden in.
It is a medium wide tree, and I'm able to use a dimmable thin line pad to fit the saddle to most horses. I have ridden in a friends Stubbed once, my first time in a monoflap, and it was interesting haha.
Courgette visions are also really beautiful jumping/ cross-country saddles, don't know if it's in your price range or not. I have ridden in quite a couple of monoflaps and personally felt that none gave me a more “close contact” feel.
Some have particularly thick flaps to protect the horse and rider that make them feel even bulkier than a normal saddle. I do not like the rigid billet arrangements on some of the models that can compromise the stability of the saddle on wider barreled horses.
The billets pull the girth too far forward and have irritated my horse's elbows. The thing is that most monoflaps are geared towards BC which is great for when you need to ride in a defensive position or the 2% of the time you are going down a ditch.
However, like most, I spend less than 1% of my hours in the saddle on the BC course and 99% of my time flatting or jumping which I don't feel they are all that great for. I really didn't like the Jeffrey's flyover, Barney Bros, or Southern Stars.
They are expensive ($4000) but they offer financing with a good interest rate. I am still breaking my saddle in, but it is so comfortable and my horse moves so much more fluidly.
I am trialing a monoflap SJ saddle at the moment and have borrowed a really nice anatomical leather girth. My mare is girth and sensitive at the best of times.
She normally canters fine on the straight, but ran in trot a bit with the monoflap and short girth. The saddle may be putting you in a different position, even a tiny change can feel very different for the horse, if she usually struggles on a circle I would not blame the saddle or girth as such for her being a bit worse, continue to try it and see if she improves, it is a tricky one as she may need physio, and you may benefit from a lesson so the eyes on the ground can see if anything else is going on. My instinct would be if she is no better or worse the next ride or two send the saddle back and wait until you are better set up to try another one, in my experience if the saddle fits well and the rider is comfortable in it the horse usually goes better, sometimes very obviously, but there are always exceptions.
Ideally the buckles should be close to the bottom of the saddle flap giving plenty of clearance around the elbows. Ideally the buckles should be close to the bottom of the saddle flap giving plenty of clearance around the elbows.
There's silly rules floating about like deducting 20" off your long girth etc but that all depends on the length of the saddle flaps and the shape of the horse I would say many people you see out and about could do with a longer short girth. There's silly rules floating about like deducting 20" off your long girth etc but that all depends on the length of the saddle flaps and the shape of the horse I would say many people you see out and about could do with a longer short girth.
There's silly rules floating about like deducting 20" off your long girth etc but that all depends on the length of the saddle flaps and the shape of the horse I would say many people you see out and about could do with a longer short girth.