Posted: 1st April 2021 | Back to news feed
The wrong girth can cause not just soreness but also a lack of saddle stability, encouraging the saddle to move forward or backwards, or can restrict the movement of the fore limbs. Girthing is an often overlooked but integral part of saddle fitting.
Some horses only require a simple solution such as a straight leather girth. Others will have a forward girth groove which tends to pull the saddle forward, and the girth often causes soreness in the soft skin around the elbow. Yet others will have a well sprung rib cage which combined with a low wither will cause saddle roll and stability issues.
Suitable for use with all saddle brands, WOW Saddles has a number of girths to address specific issues so you can select the right girth for your horse’s saddle fit.
THE WOW SOFT STRAIGHT GIRTH and SOFT H GIRTH have been popular for years. The Soft Straight girth is designed for horses with a forward girth groove. Made of butter-soft leather, the girth actually curls around the elbow protecting the skin rather than offering a flat surface abutting and rubbing the skin.
The Soft H girth was designed originally for very sensitive horses but is really useful for all those with well sprung rib cages which create saddle roll and stability issues. To enhance stability, the fitter will have used girth billets spaced well apart. The H girth is 12cm from centre buckle to centre buckle, so ensures spaced girth billets hang vertically as they should. It also reduces pressure by increasing the bearing surface of the girth over the rib cage, whilst the sternum plate lifts the straps away from the ascending pectoral muscles.
The popularity of these girths has led to the development of THE WOW SPLIT SOFT STRAIGHT GIRTH and THE WOW ELEGANCE GIRTH which give a range of options between the use of a Straight or full-blown H girth. The decision on which to use is based on the distance between the girth billets and the extent to which your horse benefits from a padded sternum plate, spreading pressure on the sternum and greatly reducing pressure on the ascending pectoral muscles which affect forelimb motion and stride length.
The Split Soft Straight girth is split either side of the sternum plate to allow a straighter pull from a back girth strap which descends at a slight angle. A normal straight girth would create a ‘broken’ angle and an H girth would be ‘too much’. It will create a bigger triangle on the side of the horse which focuses forces and increases the stability, but with less pressure as there is no need to over-tighten.
The Elegance girth is in effect a range of girths, all using a small triangular well-padded sternum plate. This removeable plate is designed to fit even the most narrow-chested horses without impeding the forelimbs. As with the full-sized H-girth sternum plate, the gap it creates either side of the sternum allows complete freedom of the ascending pectoral muscles. The Elegance sternum plate can be used with WOW’s Soft Straight or Soft Split girth, or two H girth straps. H-girth straps can be of different lengths, so the front one is long enough to raise the buckle above the elbow and the back one low enough not to interfere with the rider’s heel.