The range of materials from which girths are fabricated can provide a variety of benefits for horses as well as their riders. They can also impact cost and address common concerns in the equestrian realm. When it comes time to select a girth, all of these elements must be taken into consideration. Also, remember that girths can be purchased in straight options, belt-like versions, or they may feature anatomical contouring that works to make room for the elbows of the horse while it moves. Other girth options are designed in such a way as to alleviate pressure that may impact the sternum of the horse.
Perhaps the key facet of a girth’s material and shape is that it works in tandem with the horse’s distinctive type of movement, its body type, and its skin to evenly spread pressure across its barrel. A girth must work together effectively with the horse, moving horizontally with the animal’s hair rather than against it such that chafing and irritation can result. When a horse is fitted with a girth that is too narrow, pressure is focused on the barrel, creating an uncomfortable circumstance.
Certain types of long girths are equipped with integrated belly guards that make a lot of sense for jumpers. These help protect the horse from injury caused by shoe studs during the jumps themselves. There are also girths with integrated rings meant for training equipment.
Also intended to introduce additional comfort and ease are girths that feature elastic ends. There are many old-style girths that lack elastic, but the majority of available products will include elastic on one end, if not both. These make it easier to fasten the girth to the horse, and they also offer the horse an enhanced level of comfort during exercise, when the ribcage moves a great deal. There are certain girths used in dressage that come with integrated panels made of elastic instead of simple elasticated ends.
Girths Made Of Leather
Leather girths are the most traditional in appearance. These come in an array of brown hues so that they are easy to match to saddles, and they are also available in black for use in dressage. It is possible to custom order a brown girth for dressage applications. Girths rendered in leather tend to have simple designs, but may also include intricate stitching or two-toned leather. These girths are easily maintained, and with ongoing conditioning, they grow softer and more supple over time. Girths in this category sometimes feature elastic on one or perhaps both ends, and they are available in contoured as well as straighter shapes.
This is a great option for any rider who needs a girth that is durable, affordable, and easy to maintain. It is possible to find longer styles rendered in brown and black, and shorter versions are readily available in black or custom-ordered in brown. These come in straight as well as contoured options, and are easy-clean, with just soap and water required.
Neoprene Girth Options
Girths made from neoprene are well-loved because they are easy to maintain and cost less than other alternatives. Certain riders prefer this type of material if they have noticed slippage while using leather versions. Girths rendered in neoprene fabric tend to be wider and are fitted with elastic ends, making them a comfortable choice for the horses themselves. All that is needed for cleaning is a bit of soap and water. However, it should be noted that some horses suffer allergic reactions to neoprene, and therefore, caution is needed.
String Girth Models
Fabricated from wool, mohair, nylon, or cotton-based strong, girths of this type are ideal for those who experience excess slippage and for horses prone to skin irritation. They are also helpful for lessening pressure or certain areas of the horse’s body. Many riders attest to a belief that string girths are better in the heat of summer. Because they strings comprising these girths can move independently, horses tend to favor them as well. A girth made of cotton string can be washed by hand in cold water and left to hang dry. String girths of nylon can be thrown in the washing machine, making their care that much easier.
Fleece Or Wool-Lined Girths
It is possible to find girths that have had synthetic fleece or real wool attached to the leather or fabric material comprising the body of the item. These are great for horses with skin sensitivity that demands a softer texture. Wool also helps wick sweat from the horse’s body. Synthetically-lined girths are easy to wash in a machine’s gentle cycle and allowed to hang dry. Leather girths with fleece lining will often feature hook and loop fasteners, making cleaning a breeze.