My issue with elastic is that it stretches out, usually at the worst possible time. However, there is another choice, and one that works well with horses that have serious objections to the girth being tightened. These girths are usually called “comfort girths”, not sure why, but what makes them different from standard girths is that with a standard girth, each end strap & buckle is attached to one side or the other of the girth. “Comfort girths” unlike standard girths, have the straps at each end set up on a pulley system, anchored in the middle of the girth, so each strap pulls against the center of the girt & the other strap/buckle, not one side or the other. This means that you don’t have to have both buckles in the same holes on the billet straps, the girth adjusts correctly with each buckle in a different hole. This pulley system seems to work well with horses that suck air in to prevent the girth from being tightened correctly, but without the elastic, so while there is give between the two straps/buckles at each end, you can get the girth tight enough so the horse has some breathing room before you mount, but the girth will not be loose because the elastic has stretched. I don’t know why the pulley system seems to work better than having each buckle attached to one side or the other, but it could be that this system tightens the whole girth with each adjustment to one or the other strap/buckle, not just one side of the girth, which is what happens with a standard girth.
I like the “comfort girth” concept, but I wanted a nylon dressage length girth that would be machine washable, and that had a fleece lining sewn onto the underside, so it could not move or wrinkle like the fleece sleeves can. Nobody made a girth like this, and since I have a big Adler 205 sewing machine, the heavy thread, and found a source for 4″ wide heavy nylon webbing, have access to all the hardware, and the knowledge to make girths, I started making these fleece lined, machine washable girths (but you do have to line dry them, not put them in a dryer) in dressage sizes. One friend wanted a hunt seat girth like this, so we tried out the concept in the correct hunt seat length for her, but found that while the 4″ wide webbing works excellently for dressage length girths, for reasons I don’t quite understand, did not work for hunt seat lengths, as the hunt seat girth did not want to stay in the “girth groove”. LuckillyI also have the same nylon webbing in a 3″ width, and the 3″ wide version sat correctly in the “girth groove.” So I now make these girths, along with the same type of machine washable fleece lined girth in a western cinche version, although the western version just has the typical single large buckle at each end, instead of 2 straps with buckles.
I added photos of the 3 different girth versions as this type of girth makes more sense if you can see it. The 1st & 4th photos are of the Dressage version, the 2nd is the Hunt Seat version, and the 3rd is the Western version.