EA Mattes Girth Information
Why a variety of shapes of girths?
There is more to saddle fitting than assessing the horse's topline. The saddle position in relation to the natural girth position, length of withers, and the alignment of withers, shoulders and elbows all have an effect on the saddle. E. A. Mattes has revolutionary girth shapes that address and correct the various issues that arise from certain conformation types. Below we will explain the different shapes
Contoured Shape - Made for the horse with correct and uncomplicated confirmation allowing for the girth to sit in the natural position without interfering with the elbow.
Asymmetric Shape - Designed for horses with conformation of shoulder, elbow, and girth position line up, causing no room for the girth which frequently causes rubs and galling with a normal shaped girth. Anatomically shaped extra deep at the elbow for relief from any pressure.
Crescent Shape - For horses with a combination of a short back and sprung rib cage causing girths to slide forward into the elbow. The crescent girth shape keeps the girth from being pushed forward and gives room for the elbows, and helps eliminate galling.
Athletico Shape - Created to accommodate a horse with a saddle position that is quite far back but a forward girth pocket. The design allows the girth to stay comfortably in the correct position, rather than sliding back causing the saddle to slide back with it.
Are EA Mattes Girths Elasticated?
The girths are elasticated, and yes the Germans have engineered them with precision to provide the right degree of elastication (as you'd expect them to :).
Elastication for the dressage girths is achieved by attaching the buckles to the girth with heavy elastic. This provides a small amount of stretch which is all that's needed in a dressage girth. It basically allows the horse to breathe comfortably, and enough movement to allow the horse to be flexible through the ribcage, whilst remaining supported through the sternum, at the same time preventing the saddle from moving around.
The universal girths on the other hand have a few centimetres of elastication. This style of girth requires a lot more stretch as there is a lot of movement when a horse is galloping/jumping/hacking than when dressage schooling/competing/etc on an arena.
How do i determine what size girth i need?
Girth fit is frequently overlooked in assessing proper tack fit. When using a short girth, it should come to no more than four finger widths below the bottom of the saddle flap. This provides stability, as well as removes buckles and forms away from the horses elbow.
Here is a picture of an incorrectly fitted girth. Too short & directly interfering with the elbow. This results in saddle sores not to mention a horse that can't move properly!
Also pictured we have a correctly fitted girth, allowing room behind the elbow & buckles well out of the way