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Girth Question

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  • Girth Question

    I feel a bit dumb asking this...but...how tight do most of you make your girth? We are lower level dressage... presently no trainer. I was always taught to make girth as tight as possible, then someone else said not to make it too tight.

    Is it more comfortable for the horse to have a semi tight , tight, or medium just buckled to hold the saddle on ? Do the anatomic shape girths really help? Mine has a slight anatomic curve.

    My saddle is a Schleese and fits him well, so the girth does not have to be super tight to keep it from rocking, however I hate the feel of a shifting saddle. Thanks for any replies!

  • #2
    It needs to be tight enough that if you put all your weight in one stirrup and stomp, it doesn't shift
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


    • #3
      Mine is as tight as it needs to be to keep the saddle still.


      • #4
        Tight enough to keep the saddle from shifting. My mare will capriole if her saddle slips too much (not exaggerating, I swear). For some reason, that REALLY annoys her.

        I do think the anatomic girth helps her, and I really like the type I have, which is the albion humane girth. It's got like a strap system instead of elastic, and it really helps keep everything snug. It's also padded like mad, so I don't feel as bad getting the girth tight.


        • #5
          I definitely agree that you want the girth snug enough to prevent slipping/rubbing.. but no tighter than that. The way my old trainer used to describe it was like a belt... "you want it snug enough to hold up your pants, not so tight that it's cutting you in two!"
          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


          • #6
            I have a fleece girth with elastic both sides. I girth it tight enough I can slip a hand in and stretch the girth just a bit. Any tighter than this (or the time I tried a Wintec girth) pony decides he just can't move properly.

            Off topic, I find it so interesting that dressage horses are so picky! The poster above with the caprioling, my guy, etc. I follow The Pioneer Woman's blog, and marvel over the kind nature of the working horses, as opposed to my pet. And my pet is an Appy mule, fercrissakes, he is not supposed to be a princess! Maybe we listen more? Project more? No idea.


            • Original Poster

              I might try mine a hole looser. The fitter made special billet arrangements so it won't slip so I'll try to trust it a bit looser. Before these billets, the saddle used to shift and rock even with girth tight (round barrel way he is built with a lot of shoulder action seems to invite saddle slippage)

              I have a padded leather moderate shape, elastic at billets, I don't think he hates it but he doesn't love it...have no idea if those belly band types with minimal width behind elbow really help or it's just another gimmick to spend $ on ?

              He is princess and pea type sensitive but aren't they all?


              • #8
                Sometimes the type of girth makes a difference. My horse isn't fond of leather girths and I found that the saddle slipped more when I used them. I switched to various synthetic girths, and then finally tried the Jeffries Symbian, which is thin neoprene with a slight curve and "humane" non-elastic buckle straps. It is very hard to overtighten a girth with no elastic. We have no saddle slipping now.
                You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                • Original Poster

                  The Symbain girth looks interesting and reasonable price!


                  • #10
                    I keep my girth on the loose side. I have a Professionals Choice and it sticks very well. I do my girth up relatively tight to mount on, then loosen it a full hole as soon as my butt is in the saddle. At that point the girth looks as if it's sagging underneath the horse but after a minute or two it readjusts and is fine. If the girth is too tight my horse gets very crabby which is totally understandable. In my opinion the majority of horse people I encounter WAY over-tighten their girths and aren't even aware of it.


                    • #11
                      My horse is very round and the leather girth slipped, so neoprene worked better. I just got a VenTECH which is a lot cooler. I could wish they had an anatomical shape though.


                      • Original Poster

                        I am in FL so need cool, will look into the different options!


                        • #13
                          I have always been as loose as I can get away with - which isn't something to brag about as I have been caught by helpful barn mates with daylight peeking through down there at the end of a long sweaty ride... not safe.

                          My morgan, who has a back injury and is no longer ridden, used to demand his girth be tight enough to not allow the saddle to budge a nanometer. Practically had to cut him in two. Even now as a driving horse he prefers a girth tighter than is really called for.

                          The most breathable girth I've ever used, and love, is pure mohair. Very stabilizing too because of the fibers, and allowed me to get away with some very loose girths (not that I'm proud of that! ).

                          Basically I think it comes down to your horse's preference and what is safe and what your tack allows you to get away with. Experiment and see what kind of feedback you get.
                          Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                          • #14
                            it needs to be tight enough to keep the saddle in place and be safe - you do NOT want to end up with a saddle sliding under the belly after a bad spook for example.

                            That said, you do not want it too tight - that is a good way to create galls, or leave your horse sore. Mine lets me know immediately if the girth is too tight - she will act strided and unhappy.

                            I tighten mine so that I can easily fit a hand under near where the stirrup hangs. Each horse is shaped differently though.
                            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman