Saddle equipment

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The girth strap

This holds the saddle on the horse's back.

It must:
- be tailored to the chest measurement of the horse,
- allow easy girthing,
- prevent the saddle from turning,
- not hurt,
- be of the highest quality

There are various sizes of girths:
- 60 to 75 cm Dressage girths for saddles that have low girthing A and B ponies.
- 80 to 100 cm B and C ponies . Some donkeys.
- 100 to 115 cm D ponies and small horses.
- 125 cm Standard horses from 15.3 to 16.1 h.
- 135 cm Bigger or sturdy horses from 16.1 h.
- 145 cm Big horses 17.1 h.

NB: For sensitive horses or for trail riding, it is recommended to wrap the girth strap in a sleeve (sheepskin or other material such as Alfa Gel).
Girth straps are made of textile or leather. Textile girth straps are now the most common, their resistance is tested, they are washable and long-lasting. They are also usually cheaper. But leather has its fans; it is more durable but requires regular maintenance. It reduces friction, especially for horses with thin or delicate skin.


Stirrup leathers

Stirrup leathers are the straps that hang from the saddle and hold the stirrup irons. They therefore have to bear the rider's weight and be under great strain so need to be well-maintained and regularly checked.

They are sold in pairs and match the saddle.

There are 2 sizes of stirrup leathers:
- 125 cm Junior / Women's
- 145 cm Women's / Men's

They can be made of:
- calfskin: intensive use
- buffalo hide: regular use
- polypropylene.

The best stirrup leathers are made of polypropylene lined leather. Polypropylene reinforces the strength of the leather and prevents the leather from breaking and stretching.



Stirrup irons

Stirrup irons support the rider's feet. They are attached to the saddle with stirrup leathers. A rubber pad is often added to the tread of the stirrup irons (flat part that supports the foot) to provide extra grip.
There are several stirrup iron shapes:
- Standard or offset. Offset stirrup irons encourage a better foot position (inner branch of the stirrup and forefoot turned inwards) and make it easier to lower the heel.
Fouganza only offers standard stirrup irons. Offset stirrup irons are increasingly less popular.
- "Safety" (elastic, jointed). In the event of a fall, the foot is immediately released (show jumping, eventing, children, beginners).
- Sprenger stirrup irons: increased flexibility of the ankle, relieves the joints, releases the foot in the event of a fall


Saddle accessories

Various accessories can be added to the saddle according to the type of horse and the discipline practised.
- Wither pad: it protects the horse's withers if they are too prominent or if the saddle does not have enough wither clearance. It is therefore used in front of the saddle to raise the saddle and avoid pressure points and friction between the saddle and the withers.
- Crupper: this is a piece of tack that goes under the horse's tail and keeps the saddle from sliding forward. Cruppers are particularly useful for ponies as the withers are not very prominent. It attaches to a specific ring on the back of the cantle (the back of the saddle seat).
Size: Shetland (SHET), Pony (PS), Horse (FS)
NB: For saddles that do not have this specific crupper ring, there is a removable attachment available that slides between the panels at the back of the saddle.
- Breastplate and breastcollar: they keep the saddle from sliding back, especially on slim and slender horses.
The breastplate is made up of a strap passed around the horse's neck, attached on both sides of the withers, and another strap connected to the girth between the forelimbs.
The breastcollar is a canvas, leather or elastic belt that attaches to the straps on each side of the horse. It must not be placed too high, which could restrict movement of the neck, nor too low, which could interfere with the movement of the shoulders.
NB: The breastplate is usually more comfortable for the horse and easier to put in place.
- Sheepskin saddle cover: seat covers that are designed to improve the comfort of a saddle that is a little stiff during work or trail riding. They can be useful for use with synthetic saddles to avoid friction.

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