When one rides endurance it seems a lot of things are done under the trial and error method. Often something that works for one horse won’t work for another. And there lays my woe!  Not whoa as that’s another story 😛

Tia, my grey steed, is a boxy little thing (sort of like me but fortunately I don’t wear a girth). She is withers and bum with just a small space in between. Finding the right girth was a huge headache. I would do a ride and she would end up with girth rubs fairly often. I had to pull her from one ride as the sheepskin cover I was trying made a horrible mess!  She had ugly raw hot patches when I came in from a loop and I could tell she was in pain so that was our day done. 

A helpful hint for girth sores is Preparation H. It takes the heat and swelling away from the rub. Rub any excess cream on the bags under your eyes 😂 All sorts of uses that I wasn’t aware of with that product!  But I digress…  on with the main topic. 

For girths I have tried mohair, al paca, string, fleece, leather, cat gut (just kidding but I would have), neoprene, cotton and sheepskin covers.  The sheepskin cover made a horrible mess as it was too bulky under her leg. The fleece seemed to scald her. The al paca and mohair would end up a filthy mess.  I was also washing her girth frequently to try to keep it as clean as possible and applying either Vaseline or diaper cream to keep her from developing sores. 

I’ve had the most success with a not too wide neoprene girth. I am presently using a Wintec contoured chafeless dressage girth which sounds very fancy but really isn’t so much so. I try to not over tighten my saddle which is always an adventure when you’re zooming around corners 😛. If you’re not tightening your saddle then it’s best for your health to not have a spooky horse and to stay centered when riding said horse or you may have an unplanned meeting with the ground!

I used to stretch her legs forward after I tightened her girth as the thought is that removes the folds from underneath the girth. I quit doing that as some seem to think that created more folds and I had better luck when I didn’t stretch her legs out. 

The other trick I use is Cowboy Magic and Showsheen. I apply the Cowboy Magic to her armpit area (that’s a technical term) and I spray the girth with Showsheen. This is what I did at Tevis and she didn’t have any girth rubs after 100 miles so it’s become my go to method. 

The other thing that I added was a crupper. The crupper will keep my saddle from sliding forward. I caution you to first try your horse with a crupper at home to see how  it goes. Some aren’t especially keen on the idea so better to find that out before you get on😛

As I mentioned above what works for one horse doesn’t always work for another.  There are a ton of options out there to choose from. And, if you have lots of money, you can buy one of each!  Unfortunately with longer distance riding you find out what works until it doesn’t!  


Darice Whyte

2 thoughts on “It’s a cinch! Or is it?

  1. I believe mohair is a superior material for girths as it retains it’s stability (doesn’t slip) even when wet, but I can see where a horse with a short girth groove would have issues. When I had a horse with these kinds of issues I used a neoprene girth with fleece sheath slid over it. The fleece would retain stability and the girth would move inside the sheath instead of on the horse.

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