In equestrian sport, horse owners have never been so informed as they are today, with ‘finger on the pulse’ technology supporting our horses and riders in the riding disciplines of their choice, from show jumping and eventing to dressage, TREC and showing.
Horse tack has been a hot topic in recent years, and there has been a big focus on improving bitting and saddle fit, for optimum comfort of the horse or pony, and ultimately, better equestrian performance. But what about the one piece of equipment we were often taught as young riders to make as tight as possible…the girth?
We all know that from time to time, our horse’s tack can put pressure on them, and it is our job to ensure correct fit and cleanliness of our tack, to limit any undesirable pressures. But what about performance and welfare, when it comes to girth pressure? Can girth pressure really adversely affect our horses? A group of British scientists and many product manufacturers would definitely say yes!
In 2013 a research project was conducted by experts including the Animal Health Trust. The study found that when peak girth pressure areas were alleviated, they saw an improvement in the limb protraction and carpal/tarsal flexion of the study horses.
Many girths for horses and ponies are now curved back from the sensitive area behind the horse or pony’s elbows, as a result of ‘new thinking’ such as this. As well as increasing stride length and freedom of movement, contoured girths allow riders to properly position the saddle behind the horse’s shoulder. Remember, a saddle which sits too far forward can cause the points of the tree to dig in to the shoulder, making the horse extremely sore.
If you’re looking for a great quality horse girth, why not try the Equi Craft Ltd Atherstone Leather Girth? It is a cushioned leather girth that’s ideal for everyday use, yet smart enough for equestrian competition. It works well with saddles suitable for showjumping, TREC and eventing, and even dressage, if a GP saddle is used. It is beautifully shaped to allow riders to properly position the saddle behind the horse or pony’s shoulder. As you’d expect from Equi Craft Ltd, this ergonomic girth is softly padded and shaped for comfort, with quality roller buckles for ease of use.
We also like Stubben's version of the Atherstone girth - this well-priced horse girth is also gently shaped with Atherstone style, for comfort - it's a beautiful, iconic-branded girth that is super soft and comfortable - and ideal for any equestrian horse riding discipline.
Top girthing tip - start off with the girth loosely fastened evenly on both sides, and gradually tighten the girth before mounting the horse, over a period of a few minutes, until it is sufficiently tight to get on board. ‘Yanking’ it up three or four holes in one go is a definite ‘no-no’!