How To Choose The Best Girth For Horses?

Good tack, as I’m sure you know, is essential for good riding. The saddle and bridle are the most essential (unless you’re into bareback riding or stunts, obviously!) but what about the best girth for horses? The girth is what holds the English saddle in place, so it is also pretty important. The best girth for horses should be strong, well made, and comfortable for your horse.

This last bit cannot be stressed enough – if your horse is uncomfortable then chances are he will let you know about it very quickly by misbehaving, and it could be very dangerous for both you and him.

Top Rated Girth For Horses Reviews

There are a lot of different girths out there, so let’s cut to the chase and have a look at three of the best:

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Girths for English Saddles

Price

Ovation OVSELLERIE Airform Chafeless Girth, Size: 48 (402013BRN-48) TOP PICK: Ovation Chafeless Girth

A great girth, perfect for those horses with skin issues.

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Intrepid International Fleece English Girth with Double Elastic, 48 Intrepid International Fleece English Girth

A girth for those “princess and the pea” types.

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Professionals Choice Equine Smx English Girth (Size 54-Inch, Brown) Professionals Choice Equine Smx Girth

A high quality girth that will do a great job.

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1. Ovation OVSELLERIE Airform Chafeless Girth Review

Ovation OVSELLERIE Airform Chafeless Girth, Size: 48 (402013BRN-48)
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This innovative girth is designed to keep your horse comfortable and your saddle in place. It is strong, sturdy – and is even hypoallergenic; perfect for those horses with skin issues.

Pros

  • Cushioned and textured to allow air flow – There is not too much danger of taking off the girth to find a huge sweaty patch; this girth is designed to allow plenty of air flow to keep your horse cool and comfortable.
  • Stainless steel roller buckles will last for a long time – Stainless steel is a fantastic material for horse tack, as it is almost impossible to bend or break, and it will not rust.
  • Super easy to clean – You won’t have to throw this one in the washing machine and get your clothes covered in horse hair; you can just sponge it down and it will be good as new in seconds.
  • Double elastic on one side to allow easy adjustment and full movement – This girth adjusts using the buckle holes, same as most, but it has this added elastic section which will make it more comfortable for your horse as he moves.

Cons

  • Runs a little small – It may be worth buying a bigger size than you are used to, as this girth tends to be on the short side.

Recommendation

A great girth that comes in Dressage as well as English styles, this one will be suitable for whatever discipline you prefer. It’s simple and easy to clean, and will prevent any chafing or rubbing.

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2. Intrepid International Fleece English Girth Review

Intrepid International Fleece English Girth with Double Elastic, 48
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This girth has been designed with your horse’s comfort in mind, and is excellent for the sensitive types who kick and nip as the girth is tightened – the soft fleece will be super comfortable.

Pros

  • Strong, high quality materials and construction – This girth is made from nylon, which is an incredibly sturdy material that can withstand any amount of abuse, while the buckles are stainless steel, meaning they will be extremely unlikely to break or rust.
  • Excellent comfort for your horse – The nylon of the girth covers layers of heavy fleece material, making this a very soft, padded girth that your horse will hardly notice he is wearing – no rubbing or pinching with this one.
  • Double elastic at both ends – Having elastic as an extra adjustment means that this girth will fit just about any horse, and it can be adjusted for the individual. This also means that it will stay comfortable even on long rides.
  • Great for sensitive horses – This girth is a good buy for the horse who doesn’t like a tight girth, but also for those who are prone to itching and rubbing. The soft fleece will protect even areas of raw skin, and will prevent any more irritation.

Cons

  • May lose it’s softness with prolonged washing – You may find that this girth loses some of its cushioning after a few hard rides and hot washes.

Recommendation

A great girth for those “princess and the pea” types who like their wardrobe to be comfortable, this one is perfect for long rides, jumping, dressage – pretty much anything, really!

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3. Professionals Choice Equine Smx English Girth Review

Professionals Choice Equine Smx English Girth (Size 54-Inch, Brown)
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This webbing girth is a strong, sturdy example. It is ideal for competitions, training, or just hacking about on the trails. It will be comfortable for your horse to wear, and should last for a good long time.

Pros

  • Won’t absorb sweat or harbor bacteria – The construction of this girth means that it won’t suck up sweat and end up smelly or dirty. It also has a very handy Neoprene liner that can be simply stripped away and washed separately, or replaced.
  • High quality, strong materials used – The webbing construction of this girth is highly durable, and you won’t find that it stretches or rips. Reinforced stitching in hard use areas enforces this strength.
  • Stainless steel hardware – The buckles of this girth are made from one of the strongest materials known to man, so you won’t have any issue with breakage or rusting.
  • Designed to be non-slip – The last thing you want is to feel your saddle slipping (or worse, simply end up on the wrong side of the horse!) This girth is made to stay in place exactly where you put it, leaving your saddle exactly where you put it too.

Cons

  • The elastic is stiff – Although there is elastic on both ends of the girth for extra adjustability, this elastic is reportedly quite tough and takes a while to wear in.

Recommendation

This is a quality girth that will do its job at the same time as keeping your horse comfortable – no rubbing or galling with this girth. It can be used for just about any discipline, making it very versatile.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How should an English girth fit?

When your girth is properly fitted, you should pull it up to the same number of billet holes on both sides. The buckles should not be so high up under your saddle flaps that you can feel them with your inner thigh. If your girth fits this way, it’s too long for your horse. Ideally, you should have two open billet holes above your buckles and a minimum of one below the buckles.

2. How do you measure for an English cinch?

Measuring for English cinch is the same as measuring for Western cinch. You’ll need an old-fashioned cloth measuring tape and a friend to hold the end of it on the other side of your horse. Place your saddle and any padding you may use on your horse’s back and measure from about the center billet hole on one side to the center billet hole on the other. Unlike with a Western girth, the length from billet to billet is the length of girth you will need. No subtraction is necessary.

3. Are there different styles of English girth?

Just as with a Western girth, there are straight and contoured choices in English girths. Additionally, there are different types of girths for different activities. For example for every day riding you’ll use a long girth. If you participate in dressage, you’ll use a shorter girth. Measuring for this type of girth is somewhat different than measuring for an every day girth for hacking.

4. What type of English girth is appropriate for jumping?

You’ll need a long girth for jumping, and you’ll need a belly guard. Some girths made specifically for jumpers have a built-in belly guard. The purpose of this is to prevent your horse from injuring himself when he tucks his front legs up tight to jump.

5. What materials are English girths made of?

An English girth may come in leather, neoprene, synthetic materials, or even string made of nylon, cotton, wool or mohair.

6. Why should you choose a leather girth?

Leather is the most traditional and it is available in any shade to match your saddle. Brown is the typical color, but if you participate in dressage will need a black girth. There are also some very attractive leather girths that come in two-tone combinations with overlays and fancy stitching.

7. How do you take care of a leather girth?

Leather girths are easy to take care of in just the same way you take care of your saddle. Clean with saddle soap and moisturize with Neatsfoot oil, mink oil or other leather conditioner.

8. Why choose a neoprene girth?

Neoprene is, as we’ve mentioned, extremely easy to take care of and very affordable. A neoprene girth is very helpful if you have problems with your saddle slipping and can also fit your horse in a very comfortable and individualized manner because they usually have elastic ends that provide secure fit and flexibility.

9. How do you clean and English neoprene girth?

Just as with a Western girth, you can spray it with the hose, apply a standard antifungal, antibacterial cleaner and wipe it dry with a clean cloth. It can also be machine washed.

10. Why should you choose a synthetic girth?

Synthetic girths are durable, affordable and very easy to take care of. There are available in brown and black, and can be cared for in just the same way as a neoprene girth.

11. Why would you choose a string girth?

String girths are excellent for preventing saddle slippage. Additionally, if your horse is prone to girth itch, a string girth allows the most air circulation and keeps your horse cool and comfortable.

12. How do you clean a string girth?

Hand wash your string girth using cold water to prevent shrinkage. Hang the girth out to dry. If your string girth is made of nylon, you can wash it in the washing machine and hang it to dry.

13. Why should you choose a fabric or webbing girth?

These types of girths are very comfortable for the horse because they’re soft and allow good air circulation. There are also quite affordable.

14. How do you take care of a fabric or webbing girth?

Hand wash these girths in cool water and hang them up to dry.

15. Why should you use a natural or synthetic fleece sleeve?

You can add a natural or synthetic fleece sleeve to any girth to make it more comfortable for your horse. This also protects leather girth against excessive wear and tear due to heavy sweating. Synthetics sleeves can be slipped off the girth and tossed into the washing machine and then hung to dry to keep them very clean.


Conclusion

On both Western and English saddles, a well fitting girth or cinch is of the utmost importance. Without a good, strong, comfortable, properly fitted girth you run the risk of injuring your horse or having your saddle slip and slide or even end up hanging from your horses stomach.

An English cinch or girth is somewhat different than a Western girth in that it attaches to the saddle using billets, which are a simple buckle and strap arrangement rather than the Chinese puzzle that is the Western latigo.

English cinches, like Western cinches come in a wide variety of choices. To choose the right girth for your horse, you’ll need to keep in mind your horse’s conformation, the way he moves, any allergies to materials and how much he sweats.

The best girth for horses will keep your saddle in place as well as being comfortable enough for your horse to wear. You can get different girths for different disciplines, so make sure you order the right type to avoid disappointment.

Sam Ellis
Sam is a founder and editor of Horses & Foals. In personal life he is a proud father of a boy and twin girls. He believes it is more important than ever before to encourage children to experience the joy of horse riding. Horses make as much sense as the sunshine in our world.


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