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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Hicks

Four Strap Girthing and Fitting Wider, Flatter Horses

I often get asked about our four strap girthing and why we provide it on many of our saddles. We supply four straps as this design offers an additional range of girthing options, especially in fitting wider flatter types of horses. The front point strap is particularly useful as it allows the saddle when it is girthed up to sit on the vertical rather than the diagonal. This aspect can help prevent the saddle from running forwards and keep a saddle comfortably in place. In addition, in general wider flatter breeds are more likely to have a forward girth groove. This strap is also very useful for horses with this type of physiology as saddles have a natural tendency to line up with this part of the horse, especially if the horse does not have much wither. This means standard saddles without this extra strap may be inclined to sit too far forwards on such horses. In comparison an example of the use of rear balance straps is in the fitting of very wide flat horses with high sprung ribs, such as cobs and some larger native breeds. For these types of horses the use of the rear strap can be an excellent aid to lateral stability of a saddle. Not all of our saddles have a four strap design, for example our pony saddles have only three straps including the point strap. We do not include rear straps for small breeds as it may pull a saddle forwards. As with any breed of horse, for a good fit for your horse or pony you need to combine optimum girthing with the correct tree shape for your horse’s conformation. At AH Saddles we also underpin many of our saddle designs with specialist trees that are well suited to the conformation of wider, flatter horses.


*Always check with your saddle fitter what the correct girthing options are for your horse and saddle, the below is just a general guide.

The 1st & 4th girthing can sometimes help with lateral stability on rounder horses.

The 1st & & 3rd girthing options are sometimes good for ponies and horses with no withers and high Spring ribs, these can help prevent a saddle slipping forwards.

When the saddle slipping forwards is not an issue then the 2nd & 3rd girthing options can be useful for horses with large shoulders and some wither height, even if the horse is extra extra wide.

The 2nd & 4th girthing options can sometimes be useful if saddles are inclined to slip back.

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