Monday, 13 September 2010

Owen Side Saddle Girth

I picked up this three fold girth on Ebay in May as the narrow girth I was using, was causing sores on Hattie and I couldn't afford to fork out another £100 for a new one. Thought it looked like a nice wide one for her (the width is 4") and the length was right too (measures just short of 51") although I had never seen a girth with three buckles before!

It's sort of a cross between a normal three fold girth and a three buckle Fitzwilliam girth but without the extra bulk caused by the Fitzwilliam's over girth.

When it arrived, I was surprised with how buttery soft the 70 year old leather was and was even more pleased to see the Owen stamp with it's 62 Duke Street address on the middle of the girth, something the Ebay seller did not mention! The girth dates to pre World War II as in 1940, the Owen factory was destroyed by bombling. In 1947, the Owen name was bought out by another saddlery company so all Owens around today, are pre 2nd World War.

I have since found out that these 3 buckle girths seem to have been an Owen specialty as this Owen side saddle found on Ebay, came with one. I really like using it as it keeps the saddle more stable and if your horse is an awkward shape like Hattie and you need to use the point, middle and 4th billet, then this girth forks out, spreading the weight equally.

I had the buckles replaced with modern stainless steel ones as the original buckles were nickel and the leather chapes holding the buckles on, were replaced as well for safety reasons. Other than that, the girth just needs regular saddle soaping and an oiling every now and then and it's still as good as when it was made in the 1930's!

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