Forum ?: In search of a padded girth

This is a ? that I replied to on one of the forums I participate in:


I am looking for a harness girth that has the leather extending past the end of the buckles so the buckles are kept from rubbing the horses side, or catching their hair in the buckles and pinching. I have seen them before but now that I am hunting for one I can’t seem to find any.

Yoni’s did have something close but it looked heavier than what I want.

Any ideas?

Peanut is getting pinched and a pinched Peanut is a 😈 Peanut. Not that I blame him one bit, I wouldn’t like my hair pulled either!  The little 😈 thanks you! Me too.

23mar2017-my response:

Depending on Peanut’s actual size – a Wintec Dressage girth should work – however I believe that it has two buckles (would work for a surcingle, but not necessarily for a driving girth).

In the meantime, you could try clipping the hair in the area where the buckles are.  I had to do this the first winter our tiny Shetland filly was ridden western with a roller buckle leather, sheepskin lined girth.  It did look a bit funny when not wearing her saddle, but worked wonders in her attitude and movement when saddled!!



Fairly certain the backed ears are not because of pinching, hair pulling girth.  There are other ponies and horses coming up behind her – I cropped them out of this photo.



I really do need to clip! You are right, it would be a fix to the problem. It has been so cold here I have been putting it off because once I start with the clippers I won’t be able to control my urge to completely body clip him.

I don’t know if a wintec girth would work with the harness cause I need the to have wrap straps too. Do you know of a way I could attach wrap straps to it?

Stuffy is cute! Do you still have her?

23mar2017-My response:

You could give Chimacum Tack a call or an email.

Here is a link to their sliding back band saddle, but it shows a girth like what you are describing.  I couldn’t find this girth in harness parts so you’d have to talk with them.

Chimacum Tack

I’m looking at a couple of other sites too.

This shows only a complete harness, but you could check to see if they would sell just the girth?  Carriage Essentials

I’m not finding it on their site, but you could call Mike at Herron’s Tack in Iowa

No picture, but they do offer a girth.  Youd have to check to see if it’s the right one.  Mini Express

Star Lake Tack’s pic doesn’t show one that has backing, but you could call and see if/what they can get.  Great to work with these folks!  Star Lake Tack

Have a feeling this one may not work, but you can check.  Again, great folks to work with!! Ozark Mtn Mini Tack

Iowa Valley Carraige – looks to be the wrong kind of buckle, but they do have one with the wrap straps.  Give her a call, too!


Yes we still own Stuffy, she is out on lease with an 7 yr old girl who will be showing her for the first time this year.  Stuffy hasn’t been shown since 2001, I think…

Here is a pic of her below – she will be 21 yrs old on 20 May 2017.  She had a colt in 2013 – he is ready to start in harness (past due, actually!).


and then with other responses, I learned some new things myself!


Is Peanut being ridden?  If you are talking about a driving saddle, there is no need to tighten the girth so much.  The balance of everything keeps everything centered.  I never buckle my girth tightly.  I’ve seen draft animals in parades and the girths frequently have a fist width between leather and body.

Sometimes when I come home from a drive, the girth has a fist width.  The breast collar, not the saddle, does the work.

This topic came up a few years ago.  Can’t search all the topics any more, but the consensus was not to tighten the girth too snugly.


I had this problem while driving a pony and managed to rub her RAW!  If your wrap straps are snug they can work against your girth to pinch the skin between them.  I agree with Marsha that the girth AND the wrap straps don’t have to be that tight.  The wrap straps should always be looser than the girth.

I found a girth made for racing that had a leather sleeve over the girth and wrap strap to prevent this from happening.  I added some fleece from a black lamb (Black lambs have more lanolin in their skin than white lambs.) to cushion it and was able to drive my pony without hurting her.  You may find a fleece tube will help.  For showing I used the original girth and wrap strap.  That was 30 years ago.

Now I would never use a wrap strap.  They’re a pain in the neck and just cause problems.  A French or gig tug with a strap for the over girth works much better if you need to have your shafts tied to the horse’s sides (like for Breed shows).

My equipment of choice is an open tug buckling into the over girth.  This is because I do American Driving Society type driving most of the time.  If you look at driving photos in the AMHR Journal or AMHA World you’ll see horses pulling carriages with their backs instead of pushing on a breast collar with their chests.  The dead giveaway is that the traces are flapping or are wrapped around the shafts several times.  This is okay if you’re driving in a ring or a flat surface.   But if your horse is out on a trail or pulling a load they need to be able to use their chests to “push” the cart forward.


I ordered Merino sleeves to put on the breast collar of my sulky harness.  I had a little mare that was older and her skin seemed sensitive, so I padded the areas that touched her.  I got it from  877-580-9735 They only have big horse stuff, so I ordered the halter set.  Plenty of nice velcro sleeves for my little ones!  You can cut them into lengths.


Thanks to all!

I don’t have the girth really tight, not as tight as say you would have it on a riding saddle. Part of the issue is his hair is so long right now it gets int everything, but that’s going to get fixed next week .

The other issue is that he is truly a sensitive little beast, he is very particular about how things “fit”.

Fleece around the buckle might make him more comfy.

He likes my new harness with the buckle down tugs, I believe that is what they are called, but I have only used it on my “otter sled” with the curved shafts. I have NO idea how this set up will work with my easy entry cart with the straight shafts, I worry that it will not be secure enough without wrap straps and the cart will move.

If anyone can help with that, I love to hear advice. I suppose thimbles would help with forward shifting? I hope to get him in the cart soon, as soon as the mud goes.


There are three “forces” to control when driving.

1 – forward motion
2 – backward motion
3 – upward motion

1 – Your collar and traces allow the horse to “pull” the cart forward.

2 – Breeching, tug stops, thimbles or a wrapstrap overgirth will allow the horse to push or hold the cart back.

3 – Any type of overgirth or tie down will keep the shafts from flipping up when you add weight to the cart.

If you are using a breeching you can use open tugs with a buckle down overgirth.  In my opinion this is the best option for driving anywhere but in a ring.  If you think the cart has too much slack or can move back and forth too much, then check the fit of your breeching.  You’ll hear that you should be able to put a fist between your horse’s butt and the breeching BUT that’s for big horses!  For minis, being able to slide your hand in is loose enough.  The cart shouldn’t jerk forward when the horse starts off or starts down a hill.

The photo below shows a mini using a harness with an open tug and buckle down overgirth with straight shafts. This carriage doesn’t have tug stops on it.


This photo shows the open tug with the buckle down overgirth.


You can also see a tug stop, a metal pin sticking out behind the tug that helps hold the cart back.  If your easy entry has wooden shafts you can add tug stops easily.


Thank you Jventresca. I always use breeching as my field is uneven and sloping. I never thought of a tug stop! My cart has metal shafts, but the guy I had a wonderful lesson with last year explained to my hubby how to attach them to a metal cart, he had done it before and they had a big discussion about it. I completely “forgot to remember” that. Thanks for the reminder.
My breeching IS on the loose side, not loose enough for a fist like with the big horses, but it could tighten up one hole.

I am waiting for this never ending mud to go away so I can take the cart out and try it with the new harness. It has rained here for three days. I can’t even do ground work right now because my boots keep getting sucked off.

I appreciate everyone’s advice so much, it is wonderful to have a forum like this. Thank you to those who make it available and oversee it!!!

31march-my response:

Cayuse, on 23 Mar 2017:

I don’t know if a wintec girth would work with the harness cause I need the to have wrap straps too. Do you know of a way I could attach wrap straps to it?

I want to say that in that scenario, I put a flat loop (usually military nylon – as for a long time, I had a lot of it) around the girth and just added the wrap strap set up to the girth.  Not that much different than the loops that a girth w/ wrap straps have.

In keeping with the driving theme – here is Stuffy pulling our EZ entry metal cart with a haystring braided harness in 2010.  We used the nylon mini training surcingle, a leather girth w/ one buckle (buckled into the first strap on the surcingle) & wrap strap.  The girth and wrap strap may have been very tight – that was originally how I was taught to hook using a wrap strap in 1997.  We did have issues with the girth/wrap strap rubbing when wrapped tight, I loosened them up on my own in later years (2009 – onward).  MCR (lime green) for the driving lines.


Here is Stuffy pulling a jog cart with a completely “jerry rigged” harness.  There are no tug stops or footman’s loops on the shafts and it could be quite interesting. The girth on this surcingle is using only the front strap, hooked to a girth purchased from A Silver Penny that has a wrap strap.  It was a fun set up for testing Stuffy between the shafts of the jog cart (which is also way too large for Stuffy).  Edited to add: We have since have this cart refurbished and the wood shafts have both footman’s loops and tug stops on it as well as a proper single tree.  My only regret is that I didn’t have the single tree mounted below the circle brace on the shafts…


Here is a picture of Stuffy pulling the ez entry cart with a nylon harness in June 2010.  I can’t actually tell if this is an open tug w/ overgirth or if it’s a tug w/ a buckled overgirth…

LP Painted StuffNpuf giving cart ride to Jenny Schuneman, a special needs 13 yr old girl

and pulling a neighbor’s wooden ez entry cart (HEAVY) with the same nylon harness in April 2011.  I don’t have notes w/ this picture – wondering if the open tug/overgirth was not holding?  Not sure why I’ve got braided haystring as a wrap strap here…

Stuffy pulling Ralph's cart, March 2011. PH driving

and a picture from the H/J horse show series on the 25th of March –

Stuffy & Hayden, Finally Farms H/J show series

About lppaintedponys

Husband and wife team raising shetland ponies, rescuing dogs/cats & becoming self sufficient.
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