Tell me about mohair girths

I am a dressage rider. My horse has a very narrow and forward girth groove. I’ve tried so many girths… now I want to try another mohair one (Tried years ago on another horse. Mice have gotten to that one…)
I was looking at Wild West Endurance. They have a variety of styles of girths - the one I had in the past was “diamond” shaped, but the “split” shape intrigues me.
Can someone explain the benefits?
ALso, the buckles on the last girth really irritated my guy. Yes, they had a leather backing, but I wound up rigging some fleece covers which sort-or worked. Any advice here?
Thanks everyone!!

I bought a Mohair girth for my grade Arabian pony. Traditional anatomical “dressage” shape so I cannot help with the other shapes. It has a neoprene type buckle backing cover. I noticed the last time I went to use it on a new pony that the neoprene has some cracking starting but as I bought it used I have no idea how old it really is. So from a longevity standpoint something other than leather may not be great. I didn’t use it for long as I sold the pony. Super nice girth and it did wonders for the little mare while we were working through some saddle fit issues that resulted in a girth gall on both sides after a show.:roll_eyes:

Do you need a mohair girth with a cinch buckle or do you need one for dressage?

I have a handful of mohair girths. Some horses like them. Some don’t. Some don’t care.

The benefits are their flexibility. They conform to a variety of horse shapes and sizes. They also breathe well and rarely rub.

The drawbacks are most do not come with elastic, and some horses protest to the uneven pressure caused by them. There are also advances in anatomical girths now that may be more comfortable than traditional mohair.

I originally bought a mohair girth because at the time my gelding did not fit well in any anatomical girth on the market. He has a forward girth groove and the girths, if placed where they needed to be, pulled the billets too far forward.

I had trouble finding a good mohair girth in dressage sizes so I ordered Stubben’s cord girth. It’s not true mohair but it works great. I bought two sides of sheepskin backing and pulled the buckles through them so there was some padding between them and the horse’s skin. My TB did really well in that set up.

That being said I my WB made it known she hated the mohair girth. She kept slamming on the brakes to bite at her sides. At first I was afraid she was colicking and got off her. The second time I rode her it, I realized she was protesting the girth. She is not a sensitive horse, so I wonder. Maybe she is protesting how it sits between her fur.

These days, there are a lot of anatomical girths on the market so I don’t find myself reaching for the mohair as often as I used to. My current crew does really well in the Total Saddle Fit girth that has the articulated center piece and the elastic panels.

The cord girth:

I started using them a couple years ago now. First on a horse who HATED how he would sweat under a leather girth (like seriously hated, the ride was OVER when he started to sweat under the girth). I had an English mohair one custom made, but didn’t like it, it “bunched”. So I switched to a western cinch, “roper style” (which is wide under the belly and narrower behind the elbow, and thus very secure, and spreads the pressure). I had " sliding slip ends" custom made by a local leather worker, like the ends that used to be available on jumper girths (but don’t seem to be any more). These ends keep the pressure even, and allows you to use “half holes” on your billets while keeping that pressure even. Then they have a single “latigo” strap that accepts the big western buckle on the girth. Yes, they look a bit “different”, but I’m a bit of a rogue when it comes to my fashion sense, and I don’t care what someone else thinks. Horses like them, and they seem to work well. I have two of them now. I don’t have a picture for you, sorry. Both my horses like them.

I don’t know that the cinches I am using actually ARE “mohair”. They are just string girths I think. You can pick them up at used tack sales for $10 or $20, they are $120 to $200 new, but it seems that western people don’t want to be bothered to wash them, so dump them instead. The custom made ends that I use are more expensive to have made, but that’s life.

I used a Montana Cincha mohair girth for my Arab who had a very forward girth groove and needed an 18" or 20". I really struggled to find a girth that would work with his conformation and this worked beautifully for him. Distance Depot and others have them - https://www.thedistancedepot.com/Montana_Cincha_Endurance_Mohair_Girth_p/mcendur.htm

I also have a Wild West custom that I use occasionally on my Hanoverian mare with a Bob Marshall western saddle. I have the roper style with english buckles (I swapped the rigging for english on the saddle). The girth is lovely, but I’m a bit underwhelmed by the buckle guards. I believe the split style is for a specific type of saddle with rigging that requires the split.

My (now retired) endurance gelding also had a forward girth groove and I played the what girth will work game for a long while before I found something. Ironically, of all the girths I tried, the mohair one (exactly what @GreyDes linked above) was the only one that caused outright rubs - as in skin missing. And that was only on a 8 mile training ride! Apparently nobody told my gelding mohair was never supposed to rub.

FWIW, I wound up using a shaped Ovation gel girth and it was perfection for him - never a rub or saddle movement again. Go figure. :woman_shrugging:

I’ve been wanting to try mohair for my sensitive TB but can’t find one in black with padding under the buckles. Montana Cincha has been out of black mohair for almost a year I think.

I have that girth in two sizes and love it. It was recommended to me by two different saddle fitters, and every horse I have used it on has been perfectly happy in it, even one I was told had to have a sheepskin girth cover. It’s really good quality for the price (though when I bought mine I think they were in the $30 range), and the only place that’s ever shown wear is the neoprene under the buckles, which is entirely cosmetic.

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Dressage. Working my way through girth hell with a second horse.

My Arab was especially hard to fit with a girth, plus we rode treeless dressage. The Slypner dressage girths were SOOOOO good, I think they were called Roper Dressage or something like that. Very wide in the middle. I had two. The plus is they stretch and conform to the horse’s movement. The negative (which I never minded) was to keep them ‘alive’ and stretchy, I pretty much needed to wash them after every use, or at least rinse the sweat off, and lightly oil the leather behind the buckles as needed. That’s why I had two, so I could swap out. They were the ONLY girth he would tolerate. Pricey but so so worth it!

My horse was very bothered by neoprene girths, I bought a mohair one and he loves it. Only negative aspect is that I have to wash it quite often but it doesn’t take too long to dry

Many western breast collars were made like mohair cinches.
We received a new horse and I put one on him.
Starting out, he became franting,acting up, jigging and trying to bite at his chest.
I realized it may be the breast collar, took it off, put a leather one and he was fine after that.

One OTTB, well, running quarter mare, came to us off the track at four.
I knew her from the track, knew she was a nice, sweet, well broke mare, so hauled her to move some cattle.
We let horses out of the trailer and she dropped down and started scratching her belly.
I had put a string girth on as one was the right length for her, figured that was her problem, took the saddle off and we continued to move the cattle and back to the trailer bareback and she was fine.
After that always used a leather cinch with her and most every other horse, just in case.

I agree, as someone said, some of those string mohair cinches and breast collar may feel like they pinch to some horses, so be careful if using one that the horse is ok with it.

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I tried a mohair girth years ago for my old sensitive ottb. I didn’t observe any difference in how he went nor did he object to it. I did find though that for me personally, it was kind of a pita in the summer because it’d get wet and gross and take forever to dry. I didn’t have a black one (it was natural colour) but despite washing it, it always looked grungy. I ended up going back to a leather and synthetic girth since he didn’t seem to care and these were easier to clean and quicker to dry.

I bought a new mohair girth for my gelding ( never gave it a thought) and he definitely prefers a felt lined/ wide roper cinch. So now I have 2 new girths.