The Girth Saga

One day soon you may see me on the news laughing with a manic look in my eyes as I burn a massive pile of girths to ash.

To say I am frustrated is an understatement.

Saw this at the tack store. Really wanted it. Didn’t do it.

When I first got the jump saddle, I went out and put it on Gem with her saddle pad and took a string to measure from center billet hole to center billet hole keeping the string tight. I got 51″.

Her dressage girth is slightly too big, but makes everything snug on the highest hole. It measures at 24″. She probably could use a 22″.


Played hookie at work last Friday and took the kiddo to see Smurfs instead. Best Friday ever.

Armed with all the knowledge I went to the tack store. I wanted a 50″ based on what I measured, but they lady talked me into a 44″ based on the adage of adding 20″ to the dressage. The dressage has super long billets and the jump average short ones, but she owns the shop so I believed her.

When I tried it on Gem, I couldn’t even reach the first hole pulling as hard as I could. It was a good 2-3″ shy while being buckled on the bottom most hole on the opposite side.

I was annoyed because now I had no girth and shouldn’t have let her talk me out of what I wanted. I returned the girth and she told me to get a 46″ but I wasn’t believing that. It was only 2″ longer than the one I couldn’t get on at all and I wanted the 50″ based on my measurements.

A week later it arrived. I happily, and quite stupidly, pulled the tag off and tacked Gem up Monday night.


The damn thing is to fricking big. On the highest holes it is still looser than I am comfortable with and forced me to use the second and third billets instead of the first and third. Which then let the saddle slip forward a bit. Nothing major but not perfect.

Yellow irises are blooming in the yard. I love spring

The tags are off. I can’t return it. And I can’t really use it. I’ll sell it online hopefully, but now I’m still without a girth.

And I have no idea what size to actually get. 44″‘was way too small and not usable. 50″ was way too big and not usable.

48″ or 46″?

I’m sure whichever I choose won’t work, but I will likely get the 48″ for fear that the 46″ will also be too small.

My endurance saddle used western rigging and Gem goes in a 20″. It’s way more forgiving though which these English ones are not.

Can I just invent a new way to attach a saddle to a horse?

26 thoughts on “The Girth Saga”

  1. This week, one of my clients introduced me to this concept called an adjusta-girth.
    It’s literally a girth that can be made to be different lengths. This is the client with the slew of young horses so this concept makes my life at her barn SO MUCH EASIER. I am thinking of adding one to my tack collection for precisely the reasons you describe here.
    Finding the right girth can be such a freaking pain in the ass and I could leave you a long list of horses that have left me in your shoes over the past month alone!!!


    1. It’s even more annoying because I have her endurance gear down pat. Now everything is back to square one and it is driving me insane. Thanks for the tip. I will look into it and see if it is an option.


  2. They might exchange it even with the tags off. It’s not hard to put them back on.
    I would take a string and put it around Gem and cut it or knot it where you want the length to be. Then go to the store and compare the string to the girth.


  3. Girths can be a pain. I need to get a new girth soon for us but I do not want to. The straps have lost a lot of spring and are stretched out so its a safety thing but…. I do not want to go through with trying to figure out girth size let alone which type of girth I’d like to buy.


  4. Ugh yeah you and me both on the too big of girth scenario. I’d opt for the 48″ it’s a very common size, you should be able to get something used or new fairly cheap and if it doesn’t work you can turn around and sell it rather easily!


  5. Q, Griffin, and Stan can all go in a 48″ for whatever that’s worth. You’ve met two of them. Stan has smallest heart girth of the three .


  6. Girths stretch so I would go for the 46″. Also, I can barely get a girth on Nilla when I tack her up (like sometimes I need my husband’s help) and then 10 minutes later, I’ve raised it 6 holes (I am not exaggerating). So keep that in mind for why the 44 was too small. A 50″ is just going to be way too big for a little mare. Even Levi only goes in a 48″.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm…so now I don’t know what to get. Gem does blow out pretty good but the 44 was 3″ shy of being able to even reach the first hole. Maybe a 46 then? I just don’t know 😦


  7. Yea I did something similar with gargantuan Charlie. I just order the cheapy fleece lined ovations for $30 a pop in all the sizes.


  8. I agree with the others: you should be able to return the girth even without the tags.

    The big thing with h/j girths is whether they have elastic on one or both ends or not at all. No elastic on either end is a VERY different fit from elastic on one end, and that is different from elastic at both ends. No elastic or elastic on only one end: go for the 48. If it has elastic on both ends, go for the 46. Lily takes a size 22 dressage girth; she is 15.1 hh and 950 lbs. Her h/j girth was a 44-46, but I only use girths with elastic on both ends.


    1. This has elastic both ends but t doesn’t actual move much. I bet after some use it would loosen up. Then I’d have an even bigger problem. I think I’ll do the 46. Seems like the unanimous vote


  9. Girth issues suck! I am with Olivia on the 46″ I think Miss Gemmy is puffing up on you. You might have a struggle at first but you will have somewhere to go when she exhales. Also, the first several times that elastic is super tight too so it will start to loosen up. I finally got the new billets to convert Rev’s saddle and I got a Montana Cincha Endurance girth to go with it. I ordered a 28″ and just got it yesterday evening. I’m worried that’s going to be too big, but he definitely wears a 48″ in a jump girth. I thought about you and Gem and the tiny girth saga when I ordered it haha. Now I’m worried it won’t fit. I guess I will fiind out later today. Why is everything so difficult with horses?


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