Product Review: TSF Dressage Girth

This month marks one year since I got my Total Saddle Fit jump girth.  Not only does it still look pretty good:


I'm also still very happy with that purchase, overall.  Straight cut jump girths just do not work for Connor, a pony with a moderately sloping shoulder, a forward girth groove, and a strong dislike for saddle panels touching his shoulder (one reason he moves better in a Dressage saddle).

I swear I moved my lower leg back on purpose so you could see the girth in action - how the front of it sits in his girth groove, and allows me to put the saddle clear of his scapula - where it is supposed to be on him (It would be easy to put it too far forward).  Without it, the girth doesn't meet the billets straight on.

With a straight girth, I can either choose between putting the saddle too far forward, or having the girth pull the saddle forward through the course of the ride.  Not so with an anatomic girth, and I think TSF is the best combination of price point and quality out there for anatomic girths.  Full review her.

But when I needed to buy a Dressage girth for my new saddle, I was not sure whether he'd need an anatomical girth for a Dressage saddle.  Then I saw this picture:

Borrowed 26" straight girth here.


Yeah...straight girth was not going to work for him.  Of course I turned to TSF again:

So tiny!  Dressage girth is 20", jump girth is 44".

It gets the saddle fit closer, though not nearly as perfect as the TSF jump girth gets the jump saddle.


JenJ pointed out that he really needs a point billet to make the fit perfect in a Dressage saddle.  I'm not sure how I'd get that accomplished with this saddle, but I'll keep it in mind for the one my husband buys me when I show Third Level! (Ha ha.)

Compared to the jump girth, the construction is identically good, but the details and leather quality are much nicer on the Dressage girth.  The leather on the underside of the girth looks and feels so different from the jump girth, I actually reached out to TSF to ask them about it.  They said it was likely because they are always changing leather suppliers in order to get the best quality, and the supplier was almost certainly different between them, since they are both different colors and almost a year apart in construction times.

The Dressage girth's underside is definitely calfskin.  The jump girth is nowhere near as soft or supple, and doesn't condition very well.  Any jump girth owners care to chime in with their experience?

Overall, for the price point, I feel like the TSF is the best anatomical Dressage girth out there, and while it doesn't totally fix my single saddle fit "issue" (not really that big of an issue, all saddle fit issues considered), I'm much happier with it than I was with the fit of the saddle using the straight girth.

27 comments:

  1. I've been thinking about getting one of these dressage girths...I have a problem where the billets become even and either I can over tighten the forth altogether or the first will gap near the front buckle of the girth on either side.

    My concern win the TSF girth though, is if it's actually just putting all the pressure on a smaller area - a straight line from front buckle to front buckle. Does that make sense? I'd be interested to know if, when you tighten the girth, it feels gappy under the most forward point of be girth or if it feels like the pressure is evenly distributed all around?

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    1. It is slightly gappy in the front, which is one of the issues JenJ had with it too (hers didn't work for Paddy). They're both the widest girths I've owned, so I feel like the pressure is still on an acceptable area of the girth, but you're right. I'll try to take a picture for you when I'm out tonight. There have been several CoTH threads about this, if you search for them - I guess all anatomical girths do this.

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    2. Thanks! I'll look for those threads... Either way, looks like a nice quality product and whatever works, works!

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  2. I bought my TSF jump girth very recently (I think December or January?) and I definitely got the calf padding on mine. It's super lovely and soft, and takes conditioner nicely.

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    1. I am happy that you got a nice one, but doubly sad that mine is...whatever it is. They swore it was calf, but there is no way. This is what I get for being an early adopter!

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  3. Nice girths, glad they are working well for you.
    Interesting about the constant changing of suppliers for better quality goods.

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    1. I thought so too. There is a BIG difference!

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  4. A TSF jump girth is definitely on my wish list:)

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  5. I really need a anatomical girth for my gelding for all the same reasons. He doesn't hate the panels touching his shoulder but moves better when I can get the straight girth and saddle perfect..... which hardly happens. Good to see a real life review of this!!!

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    1. You're welcome! I hope it works for you when you get it!

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  6. I've been interested in trying an anatomical girth for Miles, but I'm not sure he needs one; mostly I don't want to buy one just to try it, haha.

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    1. Total Saddle Fit refunds your money 110% (literally, you get more back than you put in) if you don't like it for any reason, within 30 days. It's worth a try!

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  7. Dang, if only they weren't leather! This may be something I look into this fall if the dressage saddle is still working for her. I hate to subject it to twice-daily river crossings, though. I'm curious if something like this might help keep my saddle(s) back off her shoulders with all the hills we do on the trails. Every little bit helps with her.

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    1. I hadn't thought of the leather issue! Do endurance riders generally not go for anatomic girths? I can't think of a single one that is synthetic.

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    2. I can't either :( but if you happen to come across one that comes in tiny sizes (18-22") and is synthetic, please do let me know! I'd love to give one a try. I haven't seen really any anatomic girths in endurance, and I'm not entirely clear as to why. It may be that most Arabs don't need them?

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  8. Interesting!! I've heard mixed reviews about the TSF girths.

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    1. I have heard the same. They either really work for you, or they don't. I'm careful to review it from my own perspective, not a general perspective.

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  9. Your TSF girth review helped push me to buy a dressage girth from them and I am amazed at how well it works. Thank you for that! It's too bad the original jump girth is so different from the dressage girth... I'm still jealous because it looks much more comfortable for the horse than my synthetic Tekna PressureEZE girth.

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  10. I snagged one of the dressage girths this winter and I need to do a proper write up. Basically, it's making the dressage possibly for us right now and I want to play with a jump model.

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  11. glad you like it!! my saddle fitter recommended an anatomic girth for my mare, but didn't seem to care for the TSFs...

    so i snagged a Pessoa on sale at TotD, but my mare doesn't like it (she says it pinches) and my trainer things the curved forward part is too wide for her narrow little chest...

    so now idk haha... i'm tempted to try the TSFs anyway, except they look like they'd be too wide too

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  12. I've always wanted to try an anatomical girth for Simon, but truthfully don't know if it's something we 'need' or not... so I haven't bit the bullet and tried one on an assumption.

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  13. I've been curious about trying an anatomical jump girth for Gina, but it's one of those things where I'm asking myself if I REALLY need it or if it just sounds fun!

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  14. I just bought a pessoa anatomical girth! I think they are the new trend

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  15. I have the TSF dressage girth as well and love it! Mine is brown and the leather is scrumptious but I didn't realize the quality changed so much.

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  16. Mo doesn't need an anatomical girth because his back is so short that there's nowhere else to put the saddle, ha. At least, that's what I'm thinking when I see him tacked up (once again wishing we could post pics in the comments). I do think Red would like it, though. He's girthy and it's harder to get everything situated on him correctly. But I probably won't buy him one because I already have to use two different jump girths on him--a shorter one when I ride in my long-billeted Antares, or a longer one when I ride in my mom's short-billeted CWD (seriously CANNOT get the Antares girth on with the CWD, it is NOT POSSIBLE. Crazy what a difference there is). (Also, my diamond shoes are too tight). So I think that might be the Christmas present I get my mom for him if/when I move and hand him over to her full-time and he's a one-saddle guy. Although now that I'm thinking about it, my mom's horse is probably the one who most needs it. His back is ridiculous. I LOVE that they basically pay you to try it if you don't like it.

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  17. These are both on my buy list!

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