When it comes to your horse’s comfort, well-being, and performance, picking the right anatomical girth is super important. In fact, choosing the perfect anatomical girth goes beyond its functional role in securing the saddle. It also impacts the riding experience for you and your horse.
With so many anatomical girths on the market, choosing the right one can be hard. But that’s where this handy guide comes in! At Strathorn Farm, we’re committed to helping riders have the best experience with their horses. That is what encouraged me to share some of my top picks for the best anatomical girths you can get.
1. Best Overall: Professionals Choice SMX Girth
The Professionals Choice SMX Girth is our top pick for an all-rounder. It’s designed with nothing but your horse’s comfort in mind, which is fantastic if you have a sensitive horse.
This girth has a unique waffle-patterned neoprene that has a four-way stretch to make the fit more relaxed and snug. Neoprene isn’t only comfortable for your horse, but it’s also really easy to maintain. It’s naturally resistant to sweat buildup and bacteria. The neoprene can also be easily removed for washing, making maintenance a breeze.
The SMX Girth has a non-slip design that keeps it securely in place. And, its elastic and roller buckles allow for even pressure and easy adjustments. Plus, it includes dove-tailed leather accents that give it a little more pizzazz and style.
What I love most about this girth is that it’s ultra-durable thanks to its heavy-duty webbing and reinforced stitching. This means that you can use this girth for just about any type of riding!
2. Best For Everyday Riding: Horseware Rambo Micklem Comfort Girth
If you want a girth that you can use on a regular basis for everyday rides, then the Rambo Micklem Comfort Girth is the girth for you.
Made from a combination of leather, poly and memory foam with built-in elastic, this girth is specifically designed to adhere to your horse’s anatomical shape. To make it even more versatile, it’s available in short and long versions. Additionally, it has a recessed central clip that can be unclipped and used as a D-ring for a martingale strap or breastplate.
This girth perfectly matches the shape of your horse’s rib cage to keep your horse comfortable and provide even pressure distribution on the girth straps. It’s also fantastic for freedom of movement and doesn’t restrict your horse’s elbows. In turn, this means that it’s also less prone to slipping forward and instead stays securely fastened while you ride.
The Rambo Micklem has elastic sections at both ends to maintain more even pressure on each side without a sideways pull. It also has a groove which allows a martingale strap to sit flush without causing uneven pressure. This is what makes it suitable for so many riding disciplines, including cross-country and show jumping!
3. Best For Sensitive Horses: Mattes Asymmetric Sheepskin Girth
Sensitive horses typically have areas of their body that are more reactive to certain materials and the fit of tack. This can make it tricky to find the right girth for them, but it isn’t impossible – especially when you have the Mattes Asymmetric Sheepskin Girth.
This girth has a removable lambskin cover and uses the innovative ‘Soft Edge’ design to prevent chafing and unnecessary edge pressure. It’s also anatomically shaped, with an extra-deep contour at the elbows and a wide centrepiece for added comfort.
Sheepskin is well-known for its natural properties like heat dispersion, breathability and reduced friction. This means that the Mattes girth helps to reduce the risk of rubbing and irritation as you’re riding. It’s also super easy to maintain since the sheepskin can easily be detached and washed.
The asymmetric design of this girth is specifically suited to horses with conformation where the girth position aligns closely with the shoulder and elbow, allowing for better freedom of movement. Again, this reduces the risk of rubbing and girth galls so that your horse is always comfy.
The Mattes girth features stainless steel roller buckles and hardware as well, meaning it’s durable and long-lasting. Plus, it comes in a range of colourways to suit your style and any other horse tack you use.
4. Best For Dressage: Shires Anti-Chafe Dressage Girth
Picking out a dressage girth is important for several reasons since this type of equestrian sport is based on precision and movement. Without a proper tack like a dressage girth and dressage saddle, the horse’s freedom of movement may be restricted. This can impact how accurate its movements are.
Luckily, the Shires Anti-Chafe Dressage Girth is an excellent choice for dressage riders. This synthetic girth has an anti-chafe cushioned fabric to keep your horse comfortable through shows and can also increase airflow. This feature helps to avoid excessive sweating, which is essential for dressage horses who often exert themselves in competitions and training.
Like other girths, dressage girths need to be tailored to your horse’s body, which the Shires Dressage Girth does effortlessly. It has a precise fit that doesn’t interfere with your horse’s movement, especially around the front legs.
The double-layer plastic inserts at the ends of the girth straps fit the saddle securely and allow for more evenly distributed pressure along your horse’s barrel. Additionally, the stainless steel roller buckles make it easy to tighten and adjust the girth to fit your horse perfectly.
5. Best For Jumping: Horze Belly Guard Girth
In showjumping, having secure and comfortable tack is key to having good communication with your horse and, in turn, precise responses to this communication. With the Horze Belly Guard Girth, you’ll have the crème de la crème of jumping girths.
Showjumping can sometimes include the use of spurs, which can cause some irritation to your horse’s sides. Since this guard protects the horse’s belly, it’s specifically designed to guard it against these issues by acting as a protective barrier.
Additionally, the Horze Belly Guard Girth is made from a super-stretchy lycra polyester that provides a comfortable and snug fit around your horse’s stomach. A secure fit is incredibly important for jumping since it can help you maintain your stability and balance during jumps.
To keep the belly guard in place, the girth features hook-and-loop fasteners and simple plastic clips. The soft synthetic material also moves with your horse, so that it can stay confident and comfortable during showjumping competitions and training.
This belly guard is available in two length options, namely Pony (65 inches/165 cm) and Full (73 inches/185 cm), and has a width of 12 inches (30.5 cm).
6. Best Leather Western Anatomical Girth: Weaver Leather Felt Line Smart Cinch
Western-style riders will be happy to know that I haven’t forgotten about them. In fact, I’ve handpicked an anatomical girth that will work for you and your horse that blows some of the other Western girths out of the water.
The Weaver Leather Girth gives you a smarter and more user-friendly approach to cinching up your saddle. This girth has a unique two-roller design that increases your leverage, eliminating the need to pull leather against leather. This helps to make your horse more comfortable by lowering the chances of leather-on-leather friction.
This soft leather girth is also lined with polyester felt that gives an extra layer of cushioning, giving both you and your horse a better riding experience. It’s also constructed to make it much more durable, with sturdy poly webbing on top with a practical nylon off-billet holder. All of its hardware is also made with stainless steel, giving it a long and reliable lifespan.
You can get this girth in a 30-inch (76 cm) length which accommodates a range of saddle sizes, making it a versatile choice that will complement your existing tack.
7. Best Adjustable Girth: Shires Anti-Chafe Contour Girth with Elastic
The Shires Anti-Chafe Contour Girth is made for comfort and protection for horses that suffer from sensitive skin and who are prone to skin irritation and chafing. It does this by incorporating anti-chafe material and an anti-chafe lining, helping to alleviate uncomfortable rubbing that usually causes discomfort for your horse.
Another fantastic feature of the Shires Girth is the double-layer elastic inserts at the ends that help with more even pressure distribution. They also play an important role in avoiding pinching, which boosts your horse’s overall comfort on every ride.
The girth’s contoured shape is a testament to its horse-centric design as well. It helps to relieve pressure and allows for freedom of movement around your horse’s elbows. This is also a great feature for multiple riding disciplines.
Additionally, the Shires Contour Girth has stainless steel roller buckles. These high-quality fittings help with easy adjustments but also make the fastening more secure and the girth more durable. Finally, it has a textured surface that promotes better airflow, reducing girth galls and lessening sweat buildup during longer rides or training sessions.
8. Best Long Anatomical Girth: Wintec Chafeless Elastic Girth Long
If you use a saddle with a long billet, like an all-purpose or dressage saddle, then a long girth is a great choice. That’s where the Wintec Chafeless Elastic Girth comes in.
This girth is made with the elastic strategically placed at its centre, which allows for the entire girth to stretch with your horse’s movement as you’re riding. In turn, this flexibility ensures that the girth will stay comfortable in any riding situation.
The Wintec also has a perfectly designed curved shape that minimises the surface area that’s covered on the horse. This prevents the risk of pinching, chafing and discomfort – particularly in your horse’s ultra-sensitive elbow area!
Adding to what I love about this girth is its expert craftsmanship. It has an Equi-Suede finish, which is a material that is known for being super soft and plush while also providing your horse with an extra layer of protection. This attention to detail only makes this girth more effective, which is why I’ve chosen it as the best of the best out of all the longer girths on the market.
9. Best Short Anatomical Girth: Mattes Short Asymmetric Dressage Girth
If you’re looking for a shorter-length girth, then look no further than the Mattes Short Asymmetric Girth. This girth is meticulously designed and fully customisable, which makes it one of the most noteworthy girths on this list.
The Short Asymmetric Girth is made from premium lambskin and has cutouts along both long edges to effectively eliminate edge pressure – as well as the risk of chafing. Its padding is actually made up of Poly Flex inserts, which gives your horse the perfect balance of comfort and support. Plus, the asymmetric design helps to alleviate pressure points during rides.
For extra convenience, the girth has a D-ring in the centre that allows you to easily attach certain accessories like martingales. There are also elastic components on either side of the girth that play an important role in spreading out the pressure on your horse and help to accommodate freedom of movement.
While this girth is another fantastic choice for dressage riders, anyone who wants a short girth can benefit from it.
10. Best Stud Anatomical Girth: Horze Atlanta Stud Guard Girth with Pile Lining
The Horze Atlanta Guard Girth is the perfect choice for riders who want a stud anatomical girth that offers practicality and style. If that sounds like you, then you’re in luck! Its unique combination of features helps to add to the safety and comfort of both you and your horse during rides.
One of the best parts of this girth is the protective design that is made to shield your horse’s belly from potential stud or shoe strikes. This protection is made even better with the inclusion of the removable fleece liner, which helps to make the maintenance and cleaning process even easier.
The Horze Atlanta can be adjusted and tightened from both ends for a customizable and secure fit. Plus, it has a D-ring at the centre with an extra strap for versatility and as an attachment point for training aids.
The elastic elements on both sides of the girth mean that it moves with your horse and gives it greater freedom of movement. Additionally, the use of stainless steel roller buckles on both plastic ends adds to the girth’s durability and reliability. So, if you’re worried about longevity, then you can rest easy when you pick this girth.
How To Choose The Most Comfortable Girth For My Horse
The most comfortable type of girth depends on the horse and your preferences. While some horses find anatomical girths more comfortable, others may prefer a traditional girth. As with most pieces of horse riding equipment, there are several factors to consider before picking the perfect girth. These factors may include:
- The material of the girth
- Whether the girth has padding or is slightly thinner
- The overall shape of the girth
- Whether you have correctly measured and fitted the girth to your horse’s body
No matter which girth you choose, it’s important to pick one that works for both you and your horse. Also, be sure to watch out for signs of discomfort when you’re trying out any new piece of tack!
Are anatomical girths better?
Anatomical girths are made to accommodate your horse’s natural anatomical shape and pressure points. They can be fantastic for comfort and freedom of movement, but it’s important to pick a girth that fits your horse correctly.
Anatomical girths can typically be better for both your horse and for you as the rider. Of course, this still depends on your horse’s conformation and the specific riding discipline.
Do anatomical girths work?
Absolutely! Anatomical girths are specifically designed to have a more comfortable and ergonomic fit for your horse. They have a contoured shape that follows the natural curves of your horse’s body. This can significantly reduce the risk of chafing and give them more freedom of movement.
An anatomical girth can be especially helpful for horses with a forward girth groove or those that have a more sensitive chest or sternum. However, like any type of horse tack, the effectiveness of these horse girths depends on the individual horse and the overall fit. It’s critical to make sure that the girth fits your horse properly. Otherwise, you may risk causing more discomfort to your riding companion.