Spoiled for choice: long or short circumference?

Long size vs short size
Long or short size?

Purely a matter of taste or a transparent box? Compared to the short dressage length and the long length. What is he talking about and against which version.

What he talks about the short belt:

More comfort for the rider: Most dressage saddles have long straps and therefore can only be used in a short size. The reason for this lies in the rider’s comfort: the circumferential buckles are not directly on the saddle under the rider’s leg, but below the horse’s belly. This means that the leg is closer to the horse and there are no uncomfortable pressure points on the inside of the thigh. Riders don’t have to put their legs in front of the saddle to tighten the straps, they just have to extend their arms.


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A matter of taste or a transparent box?
Tall vs short girth – pros and cons

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Variable harness: The long straps allow versatility to tie the short perimeter. The saddle can adjust the horse’s circumference individually according to the needs and anatomy of the horse.


The most common variants:

Parallel walking: The strips fall parallel and perpendicular. So the saddle is strapped exactly into the center of gravity. So most of the pressure is in the middle of the saddle – as long as it’s properly in the center of gravity.


V size: The stockings run in a V shape. The pressure is distributed over a larger area than with a parallel welt.


Y size with belt front: The front sock is held far forward, usually over the esophageal barbell. The back sock is not attached directly to the saddle tree, but to a strap that is suspended in two places. The saddle should be secured in the frontal area so that it does not slip forward. But be careful: if the front straps are tight, then there is a lot of pressure in the shoulder area and the saddle can literally get stuck behind the shoulders.


Y-harness with center of gravity harness: The back strap is attached to a strap that hangs from the saddle in two places. Front thread slightly forward. This binding ensures an even distribution of pressure over the entire contact surface.


What he talks about the long belt:

More comfort for the horse: General purpose jumping harnesses usually have a short stock and are used in a long fit. But dressage saddles can also be equipped with them.


Many riders swear by the taller fit because it is more comfortable for horses. Because the buckles are not on the horse’s belly, but on the sweat flap in the saddle. CAVALLO compression measurements showed that the strongest compression occurred in the buckle region. Long straps distribute pressure evenly and without pressure peaks. This is why horses with sensitive stomachs feel visibly more comfortable when there are no buckles to push on, even if they are padded.


In addition, the short belt buckle can come into contact with the front legs during movement. This happens when the girth is too short or the horse’s girth is so poor that the girth slips forward and approaches the elbows.


Center of gravity harness: To attach the long collar, three straps are usually attached to the saddle, which drop straight down. Most of the pressure is in the saddle’s center of gravity. The three straps still make it possible to attach the strap in a variety of ways.


Our conclusion

The short fit is more comfortable for us riders and, thanks to the sizing variants, provides the possibility to attach the saddle so it slips or wiggles less. Clear short belt winner? no!


If the saddle is not in the center of gravity or the curve of the saddle tree is not suitable, then even the most complex form of strapping will not help. Sizing is not there to correct a poor fit. The longer length is the best choice for the horse because it distributes pressure well and the buckles do not put pressure on their sensitive stomach. So manufacturers should produce dressage saddles that are all “old school” with short straps as standard.


circumference of a thing

Lisa Radlin

Nadine Szymanski, Editor of CAVALLO

Nadine Szymanski, Editor of CAVALLO





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