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Which bridle, girth or harness is right for my pet?

Updated: May 19, 2021

How many choices are there when you go shopping? Too many right!

SO how do you know which ones are best for your pet?

I guess you have to do your research right? And that’s probably how you ended up here?

Am I right?

Well, be confused no more let’s take the first step and look at some anatomical products to help you choose between them and regular products..

Let’s start by looking at anatomical bridles vs a regular bridle:

An anatomical bridle is designed to avoid the infraorbital and mental foramen and the temporomandibular joint. But what are these things?

The foramen are tiny holes in your horse's skull where their nerves exit the skull and move into their muscles and skin. This makes them very sensitive areas and it is thought that if these areas are over-stimulated which is thought to happen in some horses with regular bridles it can lead to discomfort or head shaking.

Almost all anatomical bridles are a modified flash bridle and therefore might not be for you if your horse dislikes having their mouth closed by their bridle. Although there are variations within the anatomical bridle depending on the brand you choose.

As with all bridles, the most important thing is that your horse's bridle fits correctly and your horse is comfortable working in it.

Some of the brands that are now making anatomical bridles are:




GFS Premier equine







So why use an anatomical girth?

Unlike anatomical bridles, anatomical girths come in many different forms:

  1. Anatomical- cut back at the elbow on both sides to allow use in both directions designed for horses with a girth line that does not interfere with their elbows. Also known as contour girths.

  2. Asymmetrical- cut back at both elbows on one side this allows for it to be cut back further for horse's whose girths tend to sit slightly forward and can interact with the elbows.

  3. Crescent- is so named because it is crescent-shaped for use in short backed or narrow chested horse's to prevent the girth from being pushed forward and like the asymmetrical girth is cut away at both elbows.

  4. Athletico- this is the opposite of the crescent girth and is used to prevent the saddle from sliding backwards, but again is cut away at the elbows

A regular girth is straight at both sides and has no cutback for the elbows meaning that unless your horse has ideal confirmation it can interfere with your horse’s elbow and shoulder movement as your saddle may not be stable.

So the key here is to look at your horse's conformation and posture before choosing which girth is right for you and your horse.

SO what about our dogs?

There are a million different dog harnesses so why should you choose an anatomical one?

Quite simply an anatomical harness allows your dog to have a full range of motion in their shoulders. Many harnesses can allow full movement but this depends on their fit. However anatomical harnesses because of their design are easier to ensure a correct fit that doesn’t reduce the range of motion.

So what are we looking for in one of these harnesses?

The best non-restrictive harnesses are Y shaped dog harnesses as no part of them interferes with the limbs.

However, you still have to be sure you’ve fitted them correctly so that the belly strap doesn’t interfere with elbow motion just like horse's and their girths.

Some good harnesses to look at to get you started are the Perfect fit and Ruffwear.

Need more help? Speak with your saddle and bridle fitter or a trained harness fitter.

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