Overa Farm Stud & Saddlery
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  • Measuring and Fitting the girths

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    • Description
    Example of a Narrow Gauge Horse under 20cm

    Narrow gauge
    less than 20cm

    Example of a Standard Gauge Horse 22-24cm

    Standard gauge
    22-24cm

    1. Size

    To achieve maximum benefit from the Fairfax Performance Girth, it needs to be fitted correctly. Follow these guidelines:

    i. What size?

    Fairfax Performance Girths are measured in the standard way - buckle end to buckle end. As they are lined with Prolite, they can be thicker than some so we recommend customers go for one size larger than they currently use.

    ii. Standard or Narrow Gauge?

    Narrow gauge girths are designed specifically to fit horses (and most ponies) with a narrower rib cage. Measure the flat area between the horse’s elbows. If it measures less than 20cm, your horse needs the narrow gauge.

    Measuring your Fairfax Girth example of narrow gauge

    Narrow gauge

    Girth facing front

    Face front

    If you don’t have a tape measure, try using a sweat scraper. If it won’t fit between the front legs, the horse is a narrow gauge fit.

    Or, if the palm of your hand lays flat between the front legs, the horse is more likely to be a standard fit.

    iii. Dont mind the gap

    It is not uncommon for there to be a gap at the front edge of the girth between the leather and the horse’s sternum, particularly when the horse is standing still.

    This is part of the design and the front edge of the girth is not supposed to fit tightly against the horse’s skin. The girth has a Prolite cushioned ‘buffer zone’ which ‘floats’ and allows the muscles of the chest to move, instead of being blocked by a hard edge of a normal girth.

    Gap showing at front edge of girth

    Don't mind the gap

    Gap showing at front edge of girth

    Don't mind the gap

    Very often when the horse is in movement and the body posture has changed there will be less gap at the front and at certain points throughout the stride, when the muscle bulk is under the girth, the gap may appear to have disappeared altogether.

    The gap at the front does not mean that pressure is being transferred to the back edge of the girth. We have conducted thorough scientific trials on pressure under the girth (on horses in motion) and have proven that the Performance Girth reduces pressure. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090023313003651

    2. Fitting

    i. Face front

    The front of the girth is clearly indicated. Make sure you fit the girth with the curved section facing forward (towards the forelimbs).

    ii. Avoid the elbows

    Image showing the elbow clearance of a Narrow gauge fairfax girth

    Narrow Gauge
    Elbow Clearance

    Image showing the elbow clearance of a standard gauge fairfax girth

    Standard Gauge
    Elbow Clearance

    When fitting the Performance Girth, the aim is to get the buckles away from the pressure-sensitive area behind the elbows – so fit the longest length possible.
    As a general rule, fit the girth’s top edge as close to the bottom edge of the saddlecloth as possible when fully tightened. Obviously, this depends on the size of the saddlecloth, so an alternative guide on a dressage saddle is to have just two billet holes remaining on both sides of the saddle.

    3. Ensure symmetry

    Always girth up evenly on both sides.

    4. Let the buckles take the strain

    Don't use the girth loops to tighten

    Do NOT use the leather keeper

    Do use the girth buckles to tighten the girth

    DO use the buckles

    Always thread the billet through the buckle before pulling the girth up. Do not use the leather keepers above the buckle to do the girth up - you will break them!

    5. Use the central loop

    Always connect martingales, breastplates etc to the ring provided. Don't pass any straps between the girth and the horse’s skin.


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