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Types of girths for horses – what are their differences and uses?

Published: 2022-08-31 08:27:49 Categories: Guides Rss feed


Choosing the right type of equipment will ensure comfort for a rider and a horse. It also plays a crucial role in safety. So, every rider should know riding equipment inside out, which will help them choose the correct ones for their horse. Today, we will examine girths – what types of girths are available for horses?

The girth is a strip of material that is attached to the saddle to keep it in place. It’s attached to girth straps – leather straps that a saddle is equipped with. If the saddle has three girth straps, the girth is attached to the first and third straps. The middle strap is left free as a backup. It’s good to know that western saddles are used with an additional girth.

Types of girths and their uses

Choosing the right girth is very important because an ill-fitted tack can cause painful pinches and chaffing on the sensitive horse skin. In consequence, this can lead to health problems, worsening of the horse's well-being and gait stiffness.

Girths can be divided according to their purpose (equestrian disciplines), shape and the material they are made of. Manufacturers offer a wide variety of girths including anatomical girths, girths lined with fur, or gel girths – so every rider can find a perfect match for their horse.


Types of girths – equestrian disciplines

  • Dressage girth – this girth is shorter than others, which allows for lower attachment to the girth straps and as the result – better contact of the rider’s leg with a horse.
  • Jumping and all-purpose girth - the most universal and popular type of girth. It’s ideal for jumping and recreational rides. Advance jumpers use girths with an apron, which prevents abrasions and other mechanical injuries (horses that tightly fold their front legs can injure themselves, especially if they have horseshoe studs).
  • Western girth – its unique feature is only one buckle at each end of the girth (English girths have two buckles on each end).


Types of girths – shape

The most basic girths are straight – however, sometimes horses require a girth that will better fit their body shape. That’s why now there are a few different types of girths that differ in indentations and have a more anatomical structure.

  • Anatomical girth – for horses with proportionate body shape. It has symmetrical indents at the back and front, which allows it to be used in both directions. The indents provide greater distance from the elbows.
  • Asymmetrical girth – ideal for horses with a wide chest and poorly prominent girth groove. The front indent is quite deep, which gives more space for the elbows.
  • Half-moon-shaped girth – popular amongst Arabian horse owners. It’s good for all breeds with a short back, lean front and wide chest that starts right behind the elbows. This specific shape of a girth prevents it from sliding forward.


Types of girths – material

Girths can be made of a wide variety of materials which will differ in characteristics:

  • Leather girths – require regular cleaning, otherwise, the leather will quickly deteriorate and crack. However, properly cared for leather girths are durable, breathable and look nice.
  • Neoprene girths – cheap, durable and easy to clean. However, those girths are very breathable.
  • Cotton girths – minimize the risk of abrasions. However, they’re not very durable, get dirty easily and despite them being quite breathable, bacteria can build up on them.
  • Sheep wool girths – are very comfortable for a horse and fit well to its body. They also perfectly distribute pressure, are extremely breathable and protect a horse from abrasions. However, they are quite expensive and hard to clean.
  • String girths – Back in the day quite popular, but today not so much. They fit the horse’s body quite well and are breathable as well as cheap. However, they’re not very durable and can pinch the horse’s skin.
  • Gel girths – Perfectly fit the horse’s body but are not very breathable.

If you are looking for a saddle or a girth for your horse, check out our offer: Saddles and Girths

Any questions? Don't hesitate to contact us.

Equestrian store: +48 784 039 784


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