The girth helps to keep an Australian or English saddle on horseback. Girths are used to keep the saddle on the correct position by wrapping around the horse’s barrel. The surcingle or overgirth is an extra piece of equipment that secures the saddle when racing. For racing, the overgirth can be made from nylon or leather and includes an elastic insert.
Prepare the horse for the saddle and blanket. Hold the horse in your hands and attach the rope to the hook, fence, or hitching point. Apply a curry comb to the horse’s main part. To remove dirt, dust, and other debris from your horse’s main organs use a stiff brush. Finish by brushing the horse’s lower legs, and its face. With a pick and brush, clean and inspect the hooves.
The girths hold the English or Australian saddle on horses.
- Apply a curry brush to the body of your horse.
The saddle blanket should be placed just in front the horses’ withers. The entire blanket should be pushed backwards so that it lies just under the shoulder and behind the horses withers. Make sure that each blanket is equally hung on the horse’s side.
The saddle should be placed on top of the blanket, so the front of the saddle lies just below the horses shoulders and withers when extended. You should ensure that the back of your horse’s saddle does not touch the ground. Draw a straight line from the neck to the tail and place the saddle at the centre of the back.
The saddle blanket should be placed just in front the horses withers.
- Consider a straight line from the neck to the tail. Then, centre the saddle at the center of the horse’s head based on this line.
As usual, buckle the main girth. Racing saddles are different from traditional Australian and English saddles. They have one buckle, unlike other saddles. The main girth will be tightened by many grooms, riders and trainers. This is a way for the horse to get rid of any excess air. Adjust the main girth to finalize before you add the overgirth. Adjusting the maingirth can be prevented by the overgirth.
Place the overgirth on the horse’s back, above the saddle flaps. The overgirth should be placed directly above the maingirth. This will conceal the maingirth completely. The buckle should be placed on the left side, approximately half way down the horse’s side. It is usually the same as the bottom of the blanket.
The overgirth should be adjusted so it is snugly over your main girth. Adjust this by tightening the strap through the buckle and pulling in an upward direction. The buckle should be secured. The overgirth should not be adjusted to a greater degree than the main.
Place the overgirth on the horse and over the saddle flaps.
- By pulling up on the strap in an upward motion, adjust the overgirth to fit snugly over your main girth.
Pass the strap under the horse using the elastic section of the overgirth.
Girth rubs or sores can be caused by improperly placed or tightened girths. If someone has saddled your horse, make sure you double-check the girths. Horses may require extra girth adjustment after exercise or warm-up. Before riding, inspect all of your tack to find any issues such as tears, weak stitches or damaged rigging. This could lead to tack failure while riding. Proper safety helmets are required when you ride horses.