This is prevalent in the no withers, flat back, arabians, ponies, but not exclusively so.

Example of a horse with a forward girth line

When the horse/pony is much narrower just behind the elbow, the usual position of the girth straps goes over a wider part of the belly and there is little or nothing to stop the saddle moving forward once the horse starts to move, this can put the rider’s safety in jeopardy and will definitely cause damage to the shoulder and the wither.

One solution is the use of a point strap. This is a girth strap taken directly above the point of the saddle and allows the girth to be anchored in the narrower part just behind the elbow and as such the saddle cannot move forward. This is effective in most cases and available as an option.

The down side of this action is that extra pressure is taken over the front of the saddle and the back of the saddle may be destabilized. It is then possible to counterbalance this by putting the back girth strap further back.

In some cases, particularly with ponies, it is a question of conformation and a point strap will always have to be used. However, with horses it can be associated with overweight and or that the horse has not been working correctly through its back – the abdominal muscles will not tighten and strengthen until the horse is working in a correct outline but when this happens, it is often possible to cease using the point strap and take the girthing arrangement further back. This has the benefit of taking some of the extra pressure away from the points of the tree.