Discover the most comfortable girths and cinches
Having a proper fitting girth is essential for your horse to reach its peak performance. An ill-fitting girth can cause pressure, irritation, and limit your horse’s movement. It is important to make sure your horse’s girth fits well to avoid any discomfort.
Here are the 8 most comfortable girths and cinches discussed in this article:
|Professionals Choice SMX Girth |
|Best All-Around English Girth|| |
|Horze Belly Guard Girth |
|Best Jumping Girth (with stud guard)|| |
|HDR Contoured Leather Girth |
|Best Jumping Girth (without stud guard)|| |
|Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Dressage Girth |
|Best Dressage Girth|| |
|Weaver Leather Felt Lined Smart Cinch |
|Best All-Around Western Cinch|| |
|Mustang Pro-Roller Mohair Blend Roper Cinch |
|Best Western Roper Cinch|| |
|Professionals Choice Mohair Straight Cinch |
|Best Mohair Western Cinch|| |
|Total Saddle Fit – Shoulder Relief Cinch |
|Best Contoured Western Cinch (Shoulder Relief)|| |
Buying great tack is one thing. Remembering to pack it in the trailer is another! Check out our Ultimate Packing & Horse Trailering List.
Getting Real About Girths
Whether you ride english or western, it is important to have a proper fitting girth (or cinch).
- Long Girths: For long girths (e.g. jumper, hunter, flatwork), make sure your girth buckles don’t land in a position that irritates your knees under the saddle flaps.
- Short Girths: For short girths (e.g. dressage, some monoflap jump saddles), you want a width of 3-4 fingers between the bottom of the saddle pad and top of the girth.
- Western Cinch: When using a western cinch, your cinch rings should be higher than your horses elbow to avoid interference and rubbing.
Finally, the Attention They Deserve
The Fairfax Performance Girth has been a revolutionary advancement in girths, and many riders are considering the importance of girth fit and comfort for the first time.
Fairfax has done a lot of research to prove how proper girth design/fit can increase a horse’s performance and reduce pressure by up to 82%, increase range of movement by 33%, and eliminate gait asymmetry.
The downside? Fairfax girths are quite pricey. The upside? This article showcases 8 alternatives that prioritize comfort, but at a lower cost. So, no matter your budget, you’ll be able to keep your horse happy and healthy.
Common Types of Girths
There are many different girths available, depending on your horse’s needs. Girths come in a variety of different materials including leather, neoprene, wool, vinyl, synthetic, string (mohair), and webbing.
Many girths have elastic on both ends, making for easier tightening. For hunter/jumpers, it is common to use girths with built in belly guards that protect the horse’s chest from their front hooves over fences.
Your girth is only one piece of your equipment equation. Learn about the Common Types of English Bits.
How to Choose a Girth
The discipline you ride will influence the best girth for your horse.
- For hunter/jumpers, brown leather girths or fleece girths are most often used in the show ring.
- In dressage, short, black leather girths are most common.
- In saddle seat, white patent leather or vinyl girths are often used in showing.
- For western disciplines, black neoprene and mohair cinches are commonly used for competing.
- Neoprene and wool girths are generally used when training or for pleasure riding.
Most Comfortable English Girths
Best All-Around Girth
The Professionals Choice SMX Girth is a great option for an all-around girth. The waffle-patterned neoprene offers four-way stretch that provides comfort and support for your horse.
This girth features elastic on each side and roller side buckles, for easy tightening. It is easy to maintain and won’t absorb sweat, so it’s ideal for everyday riding and showing.
- The neoprene provides comfort and support.
- It does not rub or irritate.
- It’s durable.
- The sizing can be a bit off, so you may want to order two and keep the one that fits best.
Best Jumping Girth (With Stud Guard)
The Horze Belly Guard girth is padded to keep your horse protected from studded shoes while jumping. This stud guard girth is leather and has elastic at both ends.
It includes a D ring and buckles so you can attach your breast collar or martingale. This stylish girth is a great option for the show ring.
- It is very padded.
- It offers protection from studded shoes.
- It is made from high quality leather.
- It can show signs of wear over time, so proactively clean it after each ride if possible.
Best Jumping Girth (Without Stud Guard)
The HDR Contoured Leather Girth is designed to allow your horse to have free movement in the shoulder and elbow. It is made with supple leather to provide comfort and style.
It has elastic on both ends and includes roller buckles, making it simple to tighten.
- Provides comfort for your horse’s elbows and shoulders.
- The supple leather makes it comfortable and stylish for the show ring.
- It is durable.
- It can run on the smaller side, so order up a bit.
Love jumping? Learn about our 10 Best Stirrups for Jumping Clear (And Staying Safe).
Best Dressage Girth
The Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Dressage Girth is designed to keep your horse’s shoulders free from girth pain and interference.
It is made from high quality leather with padded calf skin lining that is easy to clean and keeps sweat away. The girth is also available in antimicrobial synthetic.
- Gives your horse shoulder relief.
- The padded calf skin is comfortable.
- The synthetic material is antimicrobial.
- Its design does not fit all horses.
Most Comfortable Western Girths
Best All-Around Western Cinch
The Weaver Leather Felt Lined Smart Cinch with Roll Snug Cinch Buckle is the perfect all-around western cinch. It is nylon with felt lining to provide ultimate comfort for your horse. The felt wicks away sweat and helps prevent rubs.
Its effective design is easy to use while allowing your horse to preform at its peak. It is a great cinch for showing or pleasure.
- This cinch provides comfort and support.
- It is easy to use.
- It is durable.
- The felt can be difficult to clean.
Hitting the trails? Check out our 6 Best Saddle Pads for Trail Riding (And Happy Horses) first.
Best Roper Western Cinch
The Mustang Pro-Roller Mohair Blend Roper Cinch features 27 strands, sewn leather center, and pro roller buckles. This hand strung cinch is designed to provide comfort and allow your horse to move freely.
It is soft yet durable, with elasticity in the strands. This is the ideal roper cinch.
- The mohair blend provides comfort.
- It is durable.
- The pro-roller makes it easy to use.
- It is possible to shrink because different cords have varying elasticity.
Best Mohair Western Cinch
The Professionals Choice Mohair Straight Cinch is a top choice for its durable handcrafted design. This cinch is made from 27 all-natural mohair fibers that are both soft and strong, providing lasting comfort for your horse.
This cinch allows your horse to stay dry from sweat and free from chaffing.
- This girth is soft and durable.
- It is great for sensitive horses.
- It keeps sweat away.
- Mohair has natural elasticity, so this cinch may stretch out a little.
Your horse isn’t the only one who should be comfortable. Check out our 7 Most Comfortable Boots for Walking.
Best Contoured Western Cinch (Shoulder Relief)
The Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Cinch provides the comfort your horse needs while being high quality. Its contoured design provides shoulder and elbow relief, while allowing your saddle to fit better.
This cinch is made from top grade leather and comes with a removable neoprene lining (also available in fleece for an additional cost).
It provides excellent support and comfort, even for the most sensitive of horses. It is a popular choice for gaited horses, as it allows them to move freely.
- It provides shoulder and elbow relief.
- It is great for sensitive horses.
- It provides support and comfort while letting your horse move freely.
- It is more expensive than many cinches because of its anatomical design.
Where to buy it: Total Saddle Fit – Shoulder Relief Cinch – Western Cinch
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a girth and a cinch?
A girth is used for English riding, whereas a cinch is used for Western.
Structure-wise, they’re similar but not identical. A girth has two buckles on each end that fasten to the billets (i.e. girth straps) under the saddle flap. A cinch remains fastened to the saddle on one side and has a buckle on the other side that a long strap (i.e. latigo) loops through to fasten it.
What size girth do I need for my horse?
To figure out what size girth your horse needs, follow this guide.
Why are dressage girths shorter?
Dressage girths are designed to be shorter than other English girths so riders do not have any bulk or discomfort from the billets and girth being underneath their legs while riding.
What is girth size?
It’s the measurement used to figure out what size girth is the right size for your horse. Girth sizes vary based how big your horse is and on what type of saddle you are using.
How long should a dressage girth be?
Generally, when selecting a Dressage girth, you can subtract 20 inches off whatever long English girth size you use. Most dressage girths range from a size 20 to 34 inches.
What is the proper girth placement?
A horse’s girth should run where the horse’s “heart girth” is, which is an area approximately four inches behind the elbow under the belly.
What is the most humane girth?
Contoured girths provide a humane and comfortable ride for your horse. The contoured design provides shoulder and elbow relief so movement isn’t restricted.
What is a girth on a saddle?
The girth is the piece of long, skinny tack that holds the saddle in place.
Do you measure a girth from buckle to buckle?
Yes, a girth is measured from buckle to buckle.
How do you measure a girth for a western saddle?
To find out what size cinch your horse needs, place your saddle pad and saddle on your horse. Measure from the one rigging ring (i.e. the metal ring attached to the bottom of the main saddle area), under the belly, and to the other rigging ring.
Take that measurement and subtract 16 inches.
Which way does an anatomic girth go?
The cutback portion (that is designed for elbow comfort) should curve away from the front legs to allow free elbow movement.
Here is a helpful video:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n04g-z4rAGA]
What’s the best cinch for sensitive horses?
Mohair cinches are a great choice for horses that are girthy and sensitive. Mohair is soft and provides comfort and support for sensitive horses.
The Professionals Choice Mohair Straight is ideal for horses who experience sensitivity from girths.
What’s the best cinch for barrel racing?
The Total Saddle Fit – Shoulder Relief Cinch is a top choice amongst many barrel racers. Its contoured design allows for the agile barrel racing horse to move freely.
It keeps your saddle in place and keeps your horse comfortable.
What’s the best english girth overall?
Try the Professionals Choice SMX Girth. It’s got four-way stretch and is a comfy choice for basic riding on the flat or over fences.
What’s the best western cinch overall?
Go with the Weaver Leather Felt Lined Smart Cinch. The nylon and felt combo wicks away sweat and prevents rubbing under your horse’s belly.
What’s the most comfortable dressage girth?
The Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Girth is a great option. It frees your horse’s shoulders, ensure elbow clearance, and has a comfy calf skin inside lining.
What’s the best anatomical girth?
For dressage riders, the Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Girth is a top choice.
If you’re looking for an all purpose or jumping option instead, there’s good news. Total Saddle Fit makes a version for you too!
What’s the best cinch for trail riding?
The Professionals Choice Mohair Straight Cinch is a great choice for trail riders who want to keep their horses happy all day. It’s soft, durable, sweat-wicking, and is perfect for sensitive horses.
Be sure to check out our article about the best saddle pads for trail riding too.
What’s the best dressage girth for sensitive horses?
In addition to the Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Dressage Girth, you may also want to try their StetchTec Shoulder Relief Girth. This model allows you to interchange liners, adds a stretch elastic panel in the middle, and provides the free shoulder movement Total Saddle Fit is known for.
What’s the best anatomical western cinch?
Total Saddle Fit’s Contoured Western Cinch is one of few anatomical options available for non-english riders.
Why do horses wear girths?
A girth is what keeps a saddle secured on the horse’s back. If properly fitted and positioned, it also prevents the saddle from sliding forward, backward, or from side to side.
Girths can vary in length (dressage girths tend to be much shorter than jump saddle girths), number of straps (usually two or three), and width (some girths are fairly skinny, others are quite fat).
They are made from a variety of materials, ranging from leather to sheepskin. If your horse is sensitive when tightening the girth, it may be pinching him, and getting a softer girth (or a girth cover for a leather girth) may help.
Best girths for horses with ulcers?
The best girth for a horse with ulcers is one that is soft, padded, and has a large contact area (think fat and fluffy). A wider area to distribute the pressure tends to make wearing a girth more comfortable. Extra padding has a similar effect.
Look for materials like mohair (common in Western cinches) and sheepskin. Fleece is another great (and budget-friendly) choice).
Wool is another solid option and is great at wicking moisture (which reduces rubbing). Most girths described as “contoured” tend to be sufficiently wide.
Picking a Comfy Girth is a Cinch
No matter what discipline you ride, a proper fitting girth is vital for your horse’s comfort and performance. There are several different styles and materials to choose from, depending on your horse’s preferences and the discipline you ride.
The right girth can make all the difference for your horse, and now you’ve got 8 great options to consider!
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