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Please help me find a girth for my delicate flower...

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  • Please help me find a girth for my delicate flower...

    I am actively searching for a dressage saddle to fit my delicate thin-skinned TB (previously a hunter). I have always had him in a simple synthetic fleece girth to go with my jump saddle (like so:, and never had any issues. I currently have a dressage saddle on trial and now have to find a short girth to match. I picked up a Professional’s Choice Ventech ( just because it looked familiar (it’s a popular girth in hunter world) but my horse is NOT a fan – he’s developed swelling under the girth area and is clearly irritated by it. Not sure if it’s the neoprene or the distribution of pressure that disagreed with him.

    Any suggestions for what to try next?! I can’t spend an arm and a leg, especially not on an item I can’t return after trying it out. Does anyone ride in the dressage version of my beloved cheapo fake fleece girth? Is leather preferable? Thanks for any thoughts!

  • #2
    I am still thinking about getting a mohair string dressage girth.


    • #3
      Lettia coolmax! I have a delicate grey horse, and now an uber delicate ottb - it's never rubbed either, isn't pricey and I think is going on year 6, still looking new while holding up to 5 rides/week and washing, erm, occasionally. I would highly recommend staying away from those total fit anatomical girths. Sizing is wonky and caused rubs on both; plus their customer service is terrible.


      • #4
        This is quite similar to your long girth:

        Lettia coolmax is nice too :

        Personally I love the Ovation Gel BodyForm. It doesn't have fleece, but has worked on a variety of sensitive flowers:

        Lots of riders use fleece. Use what works for your horse.
        "So relax! Let's have some fun out here! This game's fun, OK? Fun goddamnit." Crash Davis; Bull Durham


        • #5
          You could try a sheepskin girth or even just a sheepskin girth cover.


          • #6
            I have what is essentially a short girth version of that Dover fleece girth-- it somehow ended up in my possession. I think it's a Toklat? I used it for quite awhile with no complaints. Unfortunately, my horse outgrew it.

            Last year I had a surprisingly hard time replacing it. There are several fleece short girths on the market, including Toklat, but the current trend is to make them WIDE. That might be fine for most horses, but for my Princess & the Pea, she was having a conniption about how the fleece hit her elbow. Anatomical styles seemed like the answer, yet she hated those even more.

            However, if you don't think your horse will mind the wideness, Dover has several styles of fleece short girths.

            The Ovation Airform ended up being the answer for my horse, which is synthetic and apparently has dimensions to her liking.
            Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


            • #7
              The traditional Trevira string girth is the gentlest girth out there. It works is a lot of situations, including a horse who already has a girth gall and whom you'd like to keep riding.
              The armchair saddler
              Politically Pro-Cat


              • #8
                While not cheap the stubben equisoft girth is what I use on all and for a sensitive horse it would be my first choice.

                VTO Saddlery does offer trials of the girth last I checked. So at least you could try it and return as it is not cheap.

                One word of caution, these Girths always appear loose and many want to tighten them a lot. You check the tightness of these girths by checking under the sternum not along the side. If over tightened you will create sores.


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks so much, all! I'm in Canada so selection is smaller (hard to order from Dover or SmartPak, for instance) - I've ordered the Lettia CoolMax to try as I found it at a tack shop close by - if no luck, I have lots of great suggestions here!


                  • #10
                    I just bought the "Total Fit Stretch Tech girth" it came with a velcro leather liner and I also ordered the detachable fleece liner. The elastic under the belly made a difference I could feel immediately, my horses walk was freer the minute we started. Its expensive but after a couple weeks, for my horse, it really is better. Plus I can see the difference in shoulder relief , I can slide my fingers under the saddle at the should.
                    I sound like a commercial, lol, but for me it works so I have to recommend it. I have a 17 hand Clyde/Hackney cross, but the person who recommended this to me uses it on her 15.1 hand welsh cross, so in this case "size" doesn't matter. :-)
                    Hope this helps.

                    Happily retired but used to be:


                    • #11
                      Ovation Europa is a fleece-lined fabric shaped girth, and fairly inexpensive. I ordered one from StateLine Tack and in the meantime got to handle one at the mobile tack trailer at a show last weekend. It’s not as nice as the LeMieux sheepskin covers I have for my Fairfax girth, but I like that the whole thing can be washed. For a sensitive-skinned horse, keeping the girth nice and clean is important as well. If I end up like in, I’ll order a couple more so I can wash them along with my saddle pads every few uses, since they aren’t much more expensive than a LM girth cover alone.


                      • #12
                        Mohair string girth. They are hands down the best for thin skinned horses.
                        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                        • #13
                          For a horse with sensitive skin I ended up using Wintec Super Soft. The girth glides over the skin (can be combined with vaseline to increase the effect) and has soft edges. Easy to clean.


                          • #14
                            Total Saddle Fit. Sheepskin cover.

                            So greatful to get to ride!


                            • #15
                              Total Saddle fit.

                              So greatful to get to ride!


                              • #16
                                Total saddle fit

                                So greatful to get to ride!


                                • #17
                                  Oh, since you're in Canada I can definitely recommend the Tapestry Comfort girth!!!
                                  Padded at the middle, elastic both sides. My girth-sour mare doesn't mind being tacked up at all with it, and goes softer under saddle too. Now, they're not cheap girths, but they ARE quality and don't cause any pinching or rubbing, and so easy to clean.
                                  Can't learn anything with a closed mind! with thanks to mug


                                  • #18
                                    FWIW, I used to use the total saddle fit girth with their sheepskin cover with my dressage saddle and it gave my horse terrible girth sores with and without the fleece cover. I reverted back to the smartpak brand cheap faux fleece girths and I throw them in the wash once a week in a rotation of about 3 girths. (3 SP girths are cheaper than one TSF girth!)


                                    • #19
                                      This is, why I use a totally smooth girth - horse could not stand sheepskin, fleece, or neoprene. Unfortunately a game of trial and error.


                                      • #20
                                        I use this one on my sensitive boy and no issues since last October. I simply wash it when it needs it with Melp and it comes out beautifully.