Posted: 8th September 2020 | Back to news feed

Here at The Centreline, we are all about improvements in the comfort and performance of your horse. We are constantly looking to provide innovative, game changing solutions to ongoing challenges.

The GIRTH has not really changed in many hundreds of years, its main function and associated design has always been about simply keeping the saddle on your horse. Yes, there are anatomically sympathetic girths out on the market now, but they have never really tackled or taken to heart the biomechanics of the horse.

Breathing – is pretty critical to our horses. The horse’s ribcage sits on cartilaginous joints, which expand and contract when filling their enormous lungs with air. Now, just imagine trying to breathe with a tightly strapped piece of leather around you…not fun, right?  However, this is what we ask our horses to put up with every time we ride.

Now have a think about where the girth is positioned on a horse - it sits tight on the sternum putting pressure onto the chest and the sternum itself. What of the muscles? Conventional girths give little or zero thought to the muscles that they touch and work on the basis that a horse’s chest is gathered under a single muscle that responds in one pattern. This, to our mind, is not biomechanically correct. If you look at the way the muscles actually work, it puts a whole new light on the subject. If a girth could support the intercoastal and pectoral muscles independently and free the sternum, we then provide comfort and freedom to our horses.  

When jumping, we bring in a whole other dynamic. If we think about take-off, flight and landing, our horse’s change shape dramatically in the space of a couple of seconds. The very act of jumping affects the position of the saddle and the girth. If we then think about a conventional girth - it is rigid with no movement which generates the lift of the saddle from the back of the horse, holding the saddle in a rigid lateral position which blocks the natural movement of the horse and increases pressure on the chest muscles.

These points certainly gave us food for thought. We all normally spend a serious amount of money on our saddles as well as considerable time with saddle fitters but then we forget about 50% of the horse and the effect that a girth can have not only on the fit of the saddle, but also the movement and performance of our horses.

This is when we stumbled over The Freedom Girth from Scharf…we have to agree that it looks very different from everything we have seen before. It is.

The Freedom Girth has been designed over many years and iterations with the sole idea and criteria of improving the quality of your horse’s comfort and aiding performance. In line with this, it is available in different forms depending on your discipline.

So, saddle stability and complete freedom of movement for your horse!

The girths are made in Europe from European leather, there is no compromise on quality whatsoever. The polymer that gives the flex in the girth, is tested to the highest levels and runs through the entirety of the girth – no cuts, grooves or stitching to get in the way. There are no weak points, it is extremely strong and almost impossible to break.

The proof is always in the eating. From dressage riders, showjumpers and eventers to endurance riders, racing and polo The Centreline has received nothing but positive comments from riders about the changes that they have seen in their horses. The girths are new, they are not main stream yet but with the success we have seen from those willing to take the plunge, it will not be long in coming.

Sharon Hunt, Olympian and 5* Eventer talks Freedom.....

“I’ve been quietly testing a new girth range that were suggested to me called ‘Scharf Freedom Girths’ which are designed to work with the various muscle groups, providing independent support for each area. Importantly allowing freedom for the rib cage to move, expand and contract as the horse breathes. It’s quite impressive watching the way in which the girth moves with the horse!

I have now used these for the last 6 weeks and I’ve noticed some big changes – better stride length, particularly with Winston who had sore pectoral muscles (due to the nature of his expressive dressage work) who is now happier to touch the now softer girth area. But possibly most importantly, that the girth is looser yet the saddle stays stiller.”  

Sharon has now added the monoflap Eventing girth and double flap Jumping girth to go with her Dressage girth. You can watch her riding in the girth by clicking HERE.

All horses are different, we have met some where there are challenges – uber sensitive, a little too pronounced tummies or folds of skin by the elbows – the team at Scharf provide lamb pads in different colours to ensure maximum comfort irrespective of the challenge. These are not just any lamb pads, they fit to each pad so as not to compromise the biomechanics.

At The Centreline we are here to help. We ride in these girths every day. We know them intimately and are always at the end of the phone, email or messenger to assist you. We even provide a trial service, because we are so convinced that these girths will change your life and the lives of your horses forever.    

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