Girth Testing & Design

Fairfax Girth Pliance Testing EquipmentThe inspiration

"Watching a young show jumper being lunged over a fence I noticed that once tacked up, he moved completely differently. I was pretty sure the issue wasn’t the saddle, so I decided to pay some attention to the girth. There’s plenty of data about saddle fitting but no one has scientifically examined the impact of the girth. Until now.”
Vanessa Fairfax - designer

The method

Pliance pressure mapping technology was used to test large numbers of commonly-used girths (and some more unusual ones) to identify the exact location of high-pressure zones under the girth on a variety of horses. The readings were then analysed and used to design the performance girth, which is proven to reduce peak pressures by as much as 82%
Read more about our scientific testing protocol here

Diagram showing the benefits of using the Fairfax Perfromance GirthThe findings

1 Peak girth pressure is behind the elbow

It has previously been assumed that peak girth pressure is exerted on the sternum. But the area that suffers the highest pressure is where you’d normally see girth galls, tucked behind the point of the elbow.

2 Girth pressure varies as the horse moves on the flat

But peak pressure consistently occurs at the same point in the stride – when one leg is fully extended and the other is vertical and in contact with the ground.

3 When jumping peak pressure is on landing

On landing over a 1.4m high fence, pressure behind the elbow of a horse wearing a normal girth shoots up to 14-15lb psi (from 5lb psi) as he makes contact with the ground and his weight pivots over the leading leg.

4 Reducing pressure facilitates increased forelimb extension

This is because the horse is free to move without restriction. Not only that, but knee and hock flexion is improved too.

The result - the only girth developed using scientific testing

The data was checked, digested and processed, then used to design a girth that significantly reduces pressure in the key peak pressure zones.

During squad training, Russell Guire used Centaur Biomechanics gait analysis to test the effect of the girth on the horses’ performance. He clearly established how this reduction in pressure affects the horse’s freedom of movement. 

"We recorded up to 33% improvement in forelimb protraction and general range of motion in every elite horse we tested” *

- Russell Guire of Centaur Biomechanics

*results were compared to the horses’ own girth

Gait analysis also demonstrated that the Fairfax Performance Girth removes asymmetry between the horse's leg pairs - if you ride evenly and generate less wear and tear, your horse will be sounder for longer. 

Annotated Fairfax Performance GirthComfort factors

  1. The girth’s unique shape avoids the areas where peak pressure is commonly located
  2. The combination of the contoured shaping and the cushioning creates a buffer zone and prevents a "hard" edge
  3. A new construction method allows the buffer zone "to float" and to guide the muscles bulk under the girth, rather than blocking it
  4. The girth is lined with Prolite® - known for its ability to distribute pressure, absorb impact and prevent rubbing
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