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myrna
Jan. 5, 2011, 11:09 PM
Why do we use short girths?I am always second guessing myself.Is my mare happy with her girth?Is it in the way of her elbow? I have a lot of different girths from 26-30". Nothing is quite right and the princess doesn't tolerate less than perfection.(or so i think).I have a logic,a nunn finer ,a Ronja,several wintecs and a few others.Would i be better off with a longer girth that wouldn't be in the way? I just don't know.........

joiedevie99
Jan. 5, 2011, 11:24 PM
IMHO, long girths interfere with your ability to use the full length of your thigh and knee effectively. However, I know a few people who use them and don't seem to agree.

citydog
Jan. 5, 2011, 11:33 PM
I like Jessica Jahiel's take on this (http://www.horse-sense.org/archives/20041219123825.php):


As for the "why" of short girths and long billets for dressage saddles, you should first realize that that this is NOT some sort of correct or proper or international standard. It's a STYLE, that's all - like flash nosebands and crank nosebands and the bit-of-the-month. The idea behind long billets and short girths is that the rider will be more comfortable and achieve closer contact with the horse, because if there is no girth under the saddle flaps, there won't be any "lump" of buckle and strap underneath the rider's leg. In fact, however, if you look closely at thousands or even hundreds of horses, saddles, girths, and riders (and I have), you'll find that this effect is largely mythical. If a properly-sized long girth is used on a dressage saddle with short billets, the girth buckles, the billet, and any "lump" they create will be in the area BEHIND the rider's bent knee! It's possible that the rider's leg could come into contact with the "lump" (a) if the rider's stirrups were adjusted too long and the rider had no bend at the knee, or (b) if the girth were much too long (fastened too high, where it COULD place a lump under the rider's thigh), or much too short (fastened too low, where it COULD place a lump under the rider's calf). If a long girth is the correct length and the rider is sitting correctly, there shouldn't be any "lump" - or any problem.

And now, if you're wondering why I spent so much time discussing this, it's because the HORSE is much more comfortable with a long girth! If your saddle can be used with either a long or a short girth, it's worth the trouble it takes to promote your horse's comfort. The long billets/short girth fashion - or fad - is NOT for the horse's sake, nor, as I've just explained, is it really to the rider's advantage. So if you have universal billets, feel free to use the upper holes with your long girth. If you have a choice (as you generally do when you order a new saddle), you may want to order a saddle with short billets. Don't let anyone tell you that this is somehow "incorrect for dressage", because that simply isn't true. With the exception of a very few specialty saddles that are made ONLY with long billets, good-quality dressage saddles can generally be ordered with either short or long billets - the choice is up to the purchaser.

CobJockey
Jan. 5, 2011, 11:47 PM
And now, if you're wondering why I spent so much time discussing this, it's because the HORSE is much more comfortable with a long girth!

Not to hijack your question, Myrna, but CD your clipping made me wonder why the author feels that long girths are more comfortable for the horse. Do you know? She doesn't offer any evidence that that is the case, only states it. I'm not attacking, just genuinely curious about this debate.

Petstorejunkie
Jan. 6, 2011, 12:13 AM
because I don't want all that schtuff getting in the way of my microscopic aides

doublesstable
Jan. 6, 2011, 12:22 AM
I have a 32" County Logic girth if you want it...... I don't like the short girths much.. and I ride mostly Jumpers so I ride in a long girth and never feel the girth under my leg...... but I did question why a long girth is more comfortable for the horse too?

LarkspurCO
Jan. 6, 2011, 12:24 AM
I find short girths much easier to tighten than long ones, both in and out of the saddle.

myrna
Jan. 6, 2011, 12:27 AM
I am too challenged to tighten a girth when i am on,i have to get off or get someone else to do it.lol..........

doublesstable
Jan. 6, 2011, 12:27 AM
I find short girths much easier to tighten than long ones, both in and out of the saddle.


I would fall on my head if I tried to tighten my short girth from the saddle... how do you do this? :lol:

LarkspurCO
Jan. 6, 2011, 02:24 AM
I would fall on my head if I tried to tighten my short girth from the saddle... how do you do this? :lol:

Seriously? I just lean over and do it.

I do have gorilla arms, so maybe this is the key.

doublesstable
Jan. 6, 2011, 02:29 AM
Seriously? I just lean over and do it.

I do have gorilla arms, so maybe this is the key.

I think I have too short of arms so maybe you have something there. Or my balance stinks.

dwblover
Jan. 6, 2011, 10:00 AM
Honestly I ride in both a short and long billet dressage saddle and I can't tell the difference. (Neither can my horse!;)). If you want to try a long girth just go for it. Dressage Today had a pic of Ingrid Klimke in a short billet/long girth saddle at an international competition. Also, I believe Catherine Haddad just won Dressage at Devon freestyle with a short billet saddle. They are out there, just not the status quo!

purplnurpl
Jan. 6, 2011, 10:14 AM
why any saddle is made with a long girth I have no idea.

short girth jump saddles are so much better.
They are much easier to girth up too!

dwblover
Jan. 6, 2011, 10:17 AM
It must depend on the make of the saddle and girth. I swear I cannot tell the difference between riding in my Passier short billet/long girth and my friend's Isabell with a short girth. I feel no lumps or bumps at all in the Passier under my thigh, and my horse is uber responsive in both saddles. Maybe I'm just weird, lol.

AlterBy
Jan. 6, 2011, 10:44 AM
If the saddle fit the horse properly and the girth isn't interfering (no rub marks or anything) and the horse seems happy and the rider effective...it really won't matter.

Yes I feel the difference between my short billets jumping saddle and my short billets dressage saddle but my horse feels equally happy!

Valentina_32926
Jan. 6, 2011, 12:01 PM
Long billets use a short girth, short billets use a long grith.

You use what fits the horse and saddle.

bort84
Jan. 6, 2011, 12:20 PM
I think both can be perfectly fine (though I like my short girth).

It is easier for a long girth to be a little too long and get into your thigh/knee area (buckles), but if they are properly adjusted, I don't think there's a lot of difference.

I've heard some say they feel long girths provide more stability, so perhaps that's where the comfort for the horse argument comes from.

doublesstable
Jan. 6, 2011, 01:39 PM
I think both can be perfectly fine (though I like my short girth).

It is easier for a long girth to be a little too long and get into your thigh/knee area (buckles), but if they are properly adjusted, I don't think there's a lot of difference.

I've heard some say they feel long girths provide more stability, so perhaps that's where the comfort for the horse argument comes from.


I have two saddles that use a short girth and my jumping saddle uses a long girth.

The short girth saddles will tend to roll side to side.

The long girth will slip back.

The saddles are custom to the horses so I know saddle fitting is not an issue - and the side to side or slip back is extremely slight - but it's what I notice in the difference of the two sizes of girthts.

buck22
Jan. 6, 2011, 01:42 PM
I've read about long girths being more comfortable for the horse as well, I remembered reading it here, where they've claimed to have done research:
http://www.balanceinternational.com/det_zenith_dressage.html


This saddle has a full tree, wool-flocked panels and dressage (show) stirrup bars. All BALANCE Dressage Saddles come with short girth straps as standard. This is because the research BALANCE has done shows that, on the whole, horses are more comfortable in long girths and short straps. The saddles are not deep seated, in order to make sure that the saddle itself does not position or fix the rider. For the same reason, they have moderate, but adjustable/removable, knee blocks.

but I've also read it several times elsewhere.

I would suspect its a number of factors, the extra stability, having the tension spread over a wider, possibly padded, girth rather than two thin billets, having the buckle area fall in a less sensitive spot, and having the buckles protected further from the horse's side by the sweat flap which is generally much thicker stiffer leather than would be found on the billet guard on a short girth.

I also notice I can ride a roly poly round one with a looser girth on a short billeted saddle, long billeted I have to do it up tighter.

I do think short girths are vastly easier though :lol: easier to care for, store, reasonably fit a wider array of horses, much easier to do up from the ground or the saddle (but my horses are small and don't have terribly deep heartgirths, its no more challenging than reaching down to touch my toes)



eta, and this:http://www.schleese.com/girthsleatherspads

When you girth up on your horse with long billets the girth, when tight, should be within the last two to three holes of the billets. When thermography testing was done on saddle, one of the highest points of heat and friction was found where the billets lie against the edge of the horse. The less distance between the bottom of the flap and the top of the girth, the less irritation that results.

AzuWish
Jan. 6, 2011, 02:08 PM
*cries*

I just sent my dressage saddle off to the saddler to have long billets installed!!! And this post and some things my instructor said this week have made me feel like I have made a HUGE mistake!

bort84
Jan. 6, 2011, 06:30 PM
*cries*

I just sent my dressage saddle off to the saddler to have long billets installed!!! And this post and some things my instructor said this week have made me feel like I have made a HUGE mistake!

Well depending on where they are put, they can be both long and short - some saddles have holes in both places so you can use either option = ) Maybe you could ask your saddler to see if he can work them to be convertible?

enjoytheride
Jan. 6, 2011, 06:34 PM
I can't find a short girth that doesn't rub against my horse's elbows when she moves. Her girth pocket is right behind her leg and the short girth puts the buckles right there.

AzuWish
Jan. 7, 2011, 11:56 AM
Well depending on where they are put, they can be both long and short - some saddles have holes in both places so you can use either option = ) Maybe you could ask your saddler to see if he can work them to be convertible?

I ended up calling him (panicked) to see if it was too late and what his input was. Here is what he said to me:

• There are pro's and con's to both systems
• Short billets can cause pressure points for the horse, just like long billets can create girth interference. This is why fitting is so important.

He also said that the system he's installing creates equal pressure throughout the saddle from three different points (whether or not it is long or short billeted, some billet systems put pressure on one or two spots on the saddle) and will distribute the weight as needed (sliding D system or something?).

I feel much less panicked. I think I made the right decision, even though I've got to now find a proper girth for it and spend MORE money :lol:

otterhound63
Jan. 9, 2011, 05:03 AM
Our horses pretty well only hunt, apart from a bit of fun stuff through summer, and I way prefer short girths. I'm vertically challenged (yep - short!) and find way less bulk under my leg with a short girth, even when jumping. I have anatomically shaped girths and our horses show no distinct preference either way, except one mare who tends to be quite "girthy" and she is happier in a short girth than a long one. Because the buckles on short girths are quite low on the horses side - much lower than the widest point of the ribcage - they don't seem to create a pressure point on the horse.

Eventer55
Jan. 9, 2011, 12:28 PM
Our horses pretty well only hunt, apart from a bit of fun stuff through summer, and I way prefer short girths. I'm vertically challenged (yep - short!) and find way less bulk under my leg with a short girth, even when jumping. I have anatomically shaped girths and our horses show no distinct preference either way, except one mare who tends to be quite "girthy" and she is happier in a short girth than a long one. Because the buckles on short girths are quite low on the horses side - much lower than the widest point of the ribcage - they don't seem to create a pressure point on the horse.

I just sent my jumping saddle out to have long billets installed. Every saddle I sit in has a small bump under my leg from the buckles. I'll be interested to see the differrence.

sadlmakr
Jan. 9, 2011, 01:20 PM
I am glad to hear the saddler put the "floating D ring on the billets on your saddle. It will go to the right place for the pull of the billets to be balanced.
I had a Dressage saddle come in the shop that had both billets come out right under the rider's leg. The saddle had a tendency to "squirm " all over the horse and creep up the horse's neck. I changed the billets so the front 2 came out at the point of the tree and the rear ones I put on the floating D style. The saddle rode totally different. The lady rides many different horses as she trains horses and riders both.
The point billet keeps the front of the saddle where it belongs. and the rear billet on the D adjusts to where it needs to be for each horse she rides.
Sounds like you have a good saddler.
Rest easy and have faith in him.
I like the long billets as it removes the buckles from under the rider's thigh. If the short girth causes problems try a little longer one or get a fleece girth cover. Many of the Dressage girths are shaped to not make any pressure points. Keep trying until you find what works best for you.
Kind regards,
sadlmakr

EasyStreet
Jan. 9, 2011, 05:17 PM
Very intresting and ironicly I have been riding a 17+ hh Han and my saddle has short(er) billets so that I couldn't get any of my assorted dressage girths to fit this big boy. I wound up putting a regular girth that is a lg pony size on him and he seems so happy and comfortable in that, that I have back burnnered the idea of having longer billet put on my saddle!

Cat Tap
Jan. 9, 2011, 05:33 PM
My horse let me know immediately that he did not like the short girth. He started kicking out when I tried to tighten it. I had the billets cut and exchanged the short girth for a long one. This was with a new Passier fitted for this horse.

No problem when doing up the long girth.