7 Best Dressage Girths for Horses in 2024

When choosing a dressage girth, your horse’s comfort is paramount.

I have tried several girths, and many traditional ones ended up rubbing my horse and causing sores.

02/20/2024 02:29 pm GMT

That is why I consider myself an expert in selecting dressage girths!

So if you are in the market for the best dressage girths, these 7 tried and tested dressage girths are all great choices.

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Best Dressage Girth Top Picks at a Glance

Don’t have time? Here is a quick comparison of our favorites!

Top 7 Dressage Girths for Your Equine (With Reviews)

As an experienced equestrian, I personally tested various dressage girths to bring you the top 7 options for your equine companion. So, without further ado, here they are!

1. Winner: Derby Originals Air Tech Breathable Dressage Girth

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I loved Derby’s Air Tech Breathable dressage girth because, unlike many leather girths, this did not rub my horse sore. Its Air Tech texture ensures airflow and prevents sweating, chafing, and rubbing.

Features

  • 24-inch, stretchy elastic material (measured buckle to buckle)
  • Contoured shape
  • Textured, breathable Air Tech material
  • Adjustable thanks to stainless steel buckles
  • Traditional black color for dressage
BenefitsDrawbacks
Great value for the priceLimited sizing options
Strong elasticPotential wear over time
Good quality hardwareCompatibility with sensitive horses
Prevents rubbing
Comfortable for the horse
Easy to clean and durable

How it Compares to Others

I’ve used this girth personally, and compared to many others, it fits my horse snugly. Most girths are either too short or too large- but not Derby Originals.

Its breathable and soft material prevents sores and keeps your horse comfortable. The additional billet keeper straps are also a thoughtful addition.

The girth is easy to clean and looks new for a long time.

Where to Buy

Discover the Derby Originals Air Tech Breathable Dressage Girth, now available for purchase on Amazon, to enhance your horse’s comfort and performance during training or competition.

2. Best Budget: Ovation OVSELLERIE Cushioned Dressage Girth

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02/20/2024 01:55 pm GMT

Most high-quality dressage girths can cost more than $100. If you are on a tight budget or need girth for one-time use for kids, etc., then Ovation OVSELLERIE cushioned girth won’t hurt your pocket.

Features

  • Soft, cushioned, padded neoprene material. Ensures airflow to prevent chafing.
  • Available in many sizes
  • The brand also makes girths with gel inserts, belly guards, or equalizer style
  • Sturdy stainless steel buckles one inch wide.
BenefitsDrawbacks
The synthetic, low-profile girth that prevents chafing during extended gaits, as experienced by BethDurability issues
Easy to clean, elastic ends for comfort, tuck-away spot for billet ends, durable, as mentioned by NatSizing problems
Comfortable padding, includes a pocket for billets, prompt customer service for returns, as noted by PamLimited adjustability
Best girth for sensitive skin
Lightweight, evenly distributes pressure, easy to clean, and affordable, as mentioned by Stef

How it Compares to Others

Most horses did not experience any chafing with OVSELLERIE dressage girth. Some horses did sweat in it, but the girth itself is easy to clean and did not cause sores on horses. The size could be an issue, but the price is very attractive.

Where to Buy

Upgrade your equestrian experience with the Ovation OVSELLERIE Cushioned Dressage Girth, now available on Amazon, offering exceptional comfort and support for you and your horse.

3. Best Overall: Professionals Choice Equine Ventech Dressage Girth

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02/20/2024 01:58 pm GMT

My friend went through many dressage girths before he zeroed in on this one. (His mare chose him – she suffered sores from other girths but not this one!).

Professionals’ Choice Ventech girth is comfortable, and the fact that it is available in small sizes for smaller horses is a plus point.

Features

  • Ventilated, no-slip neoprene material
  • Detachable for easy washing
  • Available in brown and black and multiple sizes
BenefitsDrawbacks
Penny Duthie: Ideal for small horse, recommended by saddle fitterLacks elastic
EWick: Fan of Professional’s Choice girths, happy with size availabilityMay not be suitable for those looking for a girth with elastic or more precise sizing options
TrishD: High-quality appearance, consistent with other Ventech girths
Martha F: Minimizes saddle or bareback pad slipping, easy to clean, dries quickly

How it Compares to Others

As the name indicates, the girth is the choice of professional riders. It is available in brown, which sets it apart from other dressage girths. Ventech girth is stretchy, and its detachable neoprene part is easy to clean.

Price-wise, it is comparable to most entries here.

Where to Buy

Elevate your riding experience with the Professionals Choice Equine Ventech Dressage Girth, now available on Amazon, for superior comfort and breathability in your equestrian pursuits.

4. Best Versatile: LeMieux Merino+ Integrated Mono Girth Dressage

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02/20/2024 02:06 pm GMT

Many a dressage rider is known to love the LeMieux versatile dressage girth for its Merino wool lining. Sure, it is expensive, but it is worth it.

The fact that one can use it with several different saddles makes it versatile too.

Features

  • It can be used with mono-flap saddles, jumping saddles, and dressage.
  • It has flexible webbing construction
  • Comes with (optional) attachments for schooling.
  • Lined with Merino sheepskin
BenefitsDrawbacks
Magsmjm: Well-made girth with a soft integral lining, suitable for sensitive horsesElasticated girth, which may not be preferred by some users
BB: High-quality girth with soft fur that prevents rub marks
Clare Blakey: Comfortable for sensitive horses and washes well

How it Compares to Others

LeMieux integrated girth is strong, versatile, and designed with your horse’s comfort in mind. The soft sheepskin lining allows freedom of movement and prevents chafing.

On the downside, it is slightly expensive, especially compared to the other entries here.

Where to Buy

Enhance your horse’s comfort and performance with the LeMieux Merino+ Integrated Mono Girth Dressage, now available on Amazon, featuring an innovative design that caters to the discerning equestrian.

5. Best Anatomical Girth: Passier – Anatomical Girth in Leather

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Passier is a premium German brand; they have been in the leather industry since 1867, and their anatomically formed dressage girths are designed with the horse’s ultimate comfort in mind.

“Anatomical girths are designed to fit the horse’s natural shape, which can help to reduce pressure points and improve comfort,” explains world-renowned dressage rider Isabell Werth in an interview with Dressage Today Magazine (Werth, 2017). [1]

Features

  • Made with high-quality leather
  • Available in two colors and several sizes
  • Anatomically shaped and designed to allow freedom of movement, prevent chafing, and provide more elbow room.
BenefitsDrawbacks
Allows greater freedom of motion due to the shapeNeeds a special leather cleaner to maintain.
Best suited for round horses with a wide barrel – the anatomical shape helps keep the saddle in place.Needs regular conditioning.
Soft padding on the inside for extra breathability
Holds well against wear and tear

How it Compares to Others

Price-wise, it is on the higher side compared to most entries here. However, this is the best-fitting girth to buy if you have difficulty with the saddle flipping or moving.

The anatomic girth shape works exceptionally well, and the higher price is justified due to its high-end leather material.

Where to Buy

Experience superior comfort and durability for your horse with the Passier – Anatomical Girth in Leather, available on Amazon.

6. Easy to Attach Dressage Girth: Collegiate Memory Foam Dressage Girth

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02/20/2024 02:24 pm GMT

Compared to other girths, Collegiate memory foam dressage girth has a center D-ring that helps you attach it easily to the saddle.

Moreover, it has a super stretchy material and a contoured design to ensure a snug fit.

Features

  • Anti-chafe memory foam girth with elastic sides for ‘give.’
  • Roller buckles and center D-ring made of sturdy, rustproof metal.
  • It has pockets to tuck in the billets for a neat look.
  • Available in brown color and 5 sizes
BenefitsDrawbacks
Red Ryder: Well-padded girth that appears to be comfortable for the horseTakes a long time to dry after washing due to the thick padding
Valerie L: Made of thick memory foam that contours nicely around the horseThe brown color does not match the stock photo and is not as visually appealing
Janie A: Features roller buckles, sturdy elastic, and an easy-to-clean design

How it Compares to Others

The thick memory foam girth with its contoured shape fits snugly around the horse if you’ve taken the measurements properly. All in all, this is a great dressage girth without the high price tag.

Where to Buy

Get the Collegiate Memory Foam Dressage Girth for your horse on Amazon today.

7. Best Design: Total Saddle Fit StretchTec Shoulder Relief Girth – Dressage

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02/20/2024 02:29 pm GMT

Total Saddle Fit StretchTec Girth has several design features that make it the best-designed entry for dressage girths.

Features

  • High-end English saddlery leather
  • Stretchable center for easy give
  • Triangular elastic rear to conform to horse’s chest shape
  • Cutback for elbow comfort
  • Deep offset redirects the billets to keep the saddle from chafing the horse’s shoulders.
  • It comes with removable, interchangeable liners to use with different riding disciplines.
BenefitsDrawbacks
Lela: High-quality girth with soft cushion and grip from neoprene linerJ. Cooke: Inconsistent results, causing rubbing and discomfort for some horses
Petit Noir: Effective at keeping the saddle in place and offers elastic give for horse’s comfortDasina: May not fit horses with a narrow chest, resulting in uneven pressure distribution
BB: Prevents saddle slide and improves comfort for different horse breeds

How it Compares to Others

The best part about Total Saddle Fit StretchTec Girth is the interchangeable liners in leather and neoprene that help you use them for multiple disciplines.

This versatility is a significant advantage over other girths. The price of about $200 is justified.

Where to Buy

Get the Total Saddle Fit StretchTec Shoulder Relief Girth – Dressage, available on Amazon.

How to Choose the Best Dressage Girth

Girths are an essential piece of tack, and dressage discipline needs special girths. Below are some of the factors to consider when selecting dressage girths:

lady putting a dressage girth to the horse

1. Size

Dressage girths come in short or long sizes. For keeping the under-the-thighs-and-knees bulk-free, it is recommended to buy a short girth.

Remember that short girths complement long billets – which is what most dressage saddles have.

 Here are some more tips to help you with size selection:

  • If your horse uses a regular girth of about 40-44”, the dressage girth would ideally measure about 24”.
  • The girth should be 4-6 inches from the bottom of the saddle flap.
  • When you optimally tighten the girth, girth pressure should allow you to move your hand comfortably under the girth and your horse.

If you want to know how to measure and fit a dressage girth, check out this video:

READ MORE: Do You Measure a Girth From Buckle to Buckle?

2. Shape

Dressage girths can be straight or with a contoured girth groove. Many dressage riders prefer a contoured shape because it allows greater freedom of movement and provides extra elbow room.

This also keeps your horse more comfortable and prevents chafing.

I recommend choosing a girth that has elastic on both sides. This helps maintain the mobility of the sternum, and there is less impact on your horse’s breathing.

Avoid girths having elastic on only one end, as it negatively impacts the mechanics of the rib cage.

“Elastic girths can offer more freedom of movement for the horse, but they should not be over-tightened as this can cause discomfort and restrict the ribcage,” advises international dressage rider and trainer, Carl Hester, in his book “Real Life Dressage” (Hester & Jolliffe, 2009). [2]

3. Material

A study published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science examined the effects of different girth materials on horses’ skin temperature and sweating.

The results indicated that “girths made of breathable materials, such as neoprene or synthetic fleece, may help to dissipate heat and reduce the risk of girth-related skin irritations” (Lautner et al., 2011). [3]

Dressage girths are available in various materials – leather, neoprene girth, fleece girth, string, cotton webbing, or cotton synthetic materials blend.

While leather is the softest and most comfortable outer material for dressage girth, it is difficult to maintain and needs special cleaning. 

Remember: a dirt-crusted leather girth will harm your horse more than good.

Neoprene girths allow excellent airflow, are breathable, and are easy to clean. You wipe the girth down with a damp cloth.

4. Padded Girth Straps

Select a dressage girth having padding under its billet strap buckles.

This could be memory foam/gel/sheepskin padding, as it helps prevent hair loss, chafing, skin irritation, and friction and keeps your horse comfortable.

FAQs

How high should a dressage girth come up?

horse with dressage girth

An optimally fitted dressage girth should be one hand’s width from the horse’s elbow.

Can you use a normal girth on a dressage saddle?

No, you cannot use normal girth on dressage saddles because dressage saddles need short girths whereas normal girths are longer and not designed for the longer billets present on dressage saddles.

Conclusion & Final Recommendation

The best dressage girths are designed with your horse’s maximum comfort.

They are padded, soft, and contoured and allow freedom of movement. They won’t cause hair loss or chafing and enhance airflow to keep your horse sweat-free.

With these qualities in mind, we recommend Derby’s Air Tech Breathable Dressage Girth as its neoprene material, has an ergonomic shape for horses’ elbows, and its AirTech technology keeps horses pain-free.

Do check out our other recommendations as well.

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horse dressage girth

For you, what is the best dressage girth? Let us know in the comments below!

Resources

  1. Werth, I. (2017, February 15). Isabell Werth on Girth Selection. Dressage Today Magazine.
  2. Lautner, M., Bartoš, L., Bartošová, J., & Bartoš, K. (2011). Thermographic study of the effect of saddle and girth material on the horse’s skin temperature. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 31(4), 236-240.
  3. Hester, C., & Jolliffe, B. (2009). Real Life Dressage. Kenilworth Pres
Andreea J.
Andreea J.

Andreea is a very passionate content creator and her purpose is to provide you with the most interesting articles, while constantly discovering new facts. She’s been freelance writing for the past five years and has created numerous articles and educational materials while managing her own mom blog.
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