Choosing an English Girth

Posted by Mary's Tack & Feed on 9th Aug 2021

Choosing an English Girth

One of the most common types of English saddles is a close contact saddle. These saddles have shallower seats and smaller panels that allow for a closer fit for the rider and the horse. Even if you have a high-quality close contact saddle, it won't be effective if it doesn't fit properly.

An important piece of tack for this type of English saddle is the girth. By helping to keep the saddle securely in place, the girth keeps the horse more comfortable while enhancing rider safety. Learn how to choose the best girth for your close contact saddle.

Close Contact Saddle Girth Features

Due to the shorter flaps of close contact saddles, a long girth is used. It's important to have the correct length so that the girth extends all the way under the barrel of the horse to connect on each side.

Two buckles are typically included on each end. This makes the girth very easy to attach to the saddle flaps on either side.

There are many features that accommodate a unique fit and can make a girth more comfortable for your horse when riding.  Having additional elastic inserts, an anatomical shape, or removable liners may influence your decision when choosing a girth.

Measuring for Saddle Girth Size

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Before selecting a close contact saddle girth, you need to know what size is the right fit for your horse. Follow these steps to get an accurate measurement:

  1. Place the saddle and saddle pad on the horse.
  2. Hold a fabric tape measure up to the saddle, with the end placed at the middle billet hole on one side of the saddle.
  3. Stretch the tape under the horse about a hand's width away from the elbow.
  4. Note the measurement where it meets the middle billet hole on the opposite side of the saddle.

Types of Girth Materials

Now that you know the correct girth size for your close contact saddle, you can look at different girth styles. Girths can come in a wide range of materials, each of which has some unique perks. The following are the most common types of girth materials:

  • Leather girths: This is the most traditional style of close contact saddle girth. Many riders who use a genuine leather English saddle like to have a matching leather girth to go with it. Be sure to clean and condition this type of girth with products specifically formulated for leather.
  • Synthetic girths: Synthetic girths are very affordable and durable. They're also easy to clean with simple soap and water. Many synthetic girths are made to look like leather, while some offer more breathable fabric options.
  • String girths: You'll also find girths made of wool, nylon, cotton or mohair. These girths are often recommended for horses with skin that is easily irritated, and they help to avoid slippage.
  • Wool-lined girths: As with string girths, wool-lined girths help to keep horse's more comfortable if they are prone to irritation.

Use this guide to select the best girth for your close contact English saddle. At Mary's Tack and Feed, we offer a wide range of girth styles and girth accessories to suit any rider's needs.