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  1. #1
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    May. 28, 2011
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    107

    Default Tightening the girth and ulcers

    Both my girls react negatively when I tighten the girth. I do it very slowly (usually just enough to hold the saddle) then after ground work tighten it the rest of the way. My TB especially pins her ears and acts (she knows better than to actually bite me) as if she is going to bite me. I sometimes hear teeth snap. I had her on ulcerguard (SmartPak) for about a year but didn't think it was necessary to continue since I didn't notice a difference. I have been told by many it is a mare thing. Do any of you have this with your girls? I basically just ignore her and rub her head or give her a treat to make her view it as more of a positive experience. Any other suggestions?

    What do most of you use for ulcers? I thought about putting her back on the ulcerguard or trying a new treatment just to be sure. I hate to think they are in any kind of pain.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2008
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    3,438

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    Have you had your saddle fit checked? If there's no improvement after a year of UG, I'd start looking at other causes.
    Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

    You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.



  3. #3
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    Apr. 9, 2007
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    Zone IV/Area III
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    I would give her 1/4 scoop of alfalfa pellets before putting the bridle on. will absorb acid, turning it into a paste, so it won't splash

    I'd also give her 10 tums right before saddling. will only last for about 30 min but works well.

    My horse who is prone to ulcers also eats out of a freedom feeder (See blow for details- i have a facebook page). Since he is in a show barn environment, it is hard for him to have free-choice hay. this allows him to, and actually promotes even more buffering effects because it is restricted free choice. constant little bites = saliva = natural buffer for the stomach.

    this is in addition to omeprazole or randitidine, but you could try the tums and alfalfa pellets and net first to see if you can at least relieve her a bit.



  4. #4
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    Apr. 9, 2007
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    did you mean u-gard or merial's ulcergard? very, very different. i have had no progress with ulcer supplements...just buffered omeprazole, gastrogard, ranitidine, and ulcergard. i dealt with constant colicking at ulcers for 5 years...took me a long time to figure out how to put him in a program where he could stay healthy and show



  5. #5
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    Nov. 17, 2006
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    4,570

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    I've had horses with issues during girthing that were helped completely by changing to a fleecy girth, or softer girth. If you use leather, a change to a softer girth may help some. Worth a shot.



  6. #6
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    May. 28, 2011
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    Thanks for the great advice. I used the ulcerguard from Smartpak. Saddle fits great (Tad Coffin). I also recently had her back checked for soreness....none could be found. Funny that both my girls do this. I have always had geldings and am beginning to think this is a mare thing? The TB does it worse though. I will try the alfalfa cubes before I tack her up next time. Makes sense and I know it will make her happy.



  7. #7
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    Jul. 24, 2006
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    Seattle, WA
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    My WB mare and my TB gelding both do this. Always have and always will as far as I can tell.

    My mare had a pretty messed up back/ribcage/withers when I got her (thanks to a lot of issues, but not helped by the poorly fitting saddle her former owner used) and was always really tight in her pec area. I think it bothered her to have the girth tightened until we got all of that sorted out. But even after getting a custom saddle (that fit her beautifully) she continued doing it. She doesn't have ulcers and she's been well cared for during the 8 years I've had her and yet every day when her girth is tightened she makes ugly faces.

    My gelding is also tight through his ribcage and was a work-in-progress for a long time. He never had a poorly fitting saddle, but he did have ulcers. I addressed both issues and he still snaps in the air when I tighten his girth. Actually, he's split 50/50 on his reaction to tightening the girth now. Half the time he yawns through the whole thing and half the time he pins his ears, makes ugly faces, and unsnaps one side of the cross ties. He likes to make ugly faces at just about everything, though, so it's not terribly out of character.

    I don't attribute it to one sex or the other. But I do think a horse that ever had sensitivity issues (saddle, or girth, or body issues, or other) can learn how to make faces and then continue to do it when everything is okay. And my mares have always been more the type to "carry a grudge" like that than my boys
    __________________________________
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  8. #8
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    May. 28, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by PNWjumper View Post
    My WB mare and my TB gelding both do this. Always have and always will as far as I can tell.

    My mare had a pretty messed up back/ribcage/withers when I got her (thanks to a lot of issues, but not helped by the poorly fitting saddle her former owner used) and was always really tight in her pec area. I think it bothered her to have the girth tightened until we got all of that sorted out. But even after getting a custom saddle (that fit her beautifully) she continued doing it. She doesn't have ulcers and she's been well cared for during the 8 years I've had her and yet every day when her girth is tightened she makes ugly faces.

    My gelding is also tight through his ribcage and was a work-in-progress for a long time. He never had a poorly fitting saddle, but he did have ulcers. I addressed both issues and he still snaps in the air when I tighten his girth. Actually, he's split 50/50 on his reaction to tightening the girth now. Half the time he yawns through the whole thing and half the time he pins his ears, makes ugly faces, and unsnaps one side of the cross ties. He likes to make ugly faces at just about everything, though, so it's not terribly out of character.

    I don't attribute it to one sex or the other. But I do think a horse that ever had sensitivity issues (saddle, or girth, or body issues, or other) can learn how to make faces and then continue to do it when everything is okay. And my mares have always been more the type to "carry a grudge" like that than my boys
    Too funny with the faces . My girls both do this but that is as far as it goes. You may be right as it just being something I may have to get used to. I always give them a treat after and hope they feel guilty!



  9. #9
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    Apr. 28, 2006
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    Newtown, CT
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    Quote Originally Posted by shohanna View Post
    Both my girls react negatively when I tighten the girth. I do it very slowly (usually just enough to hold the saddle) then after ground work tighten it the rest of the way. My TB especially pins her ears and acts (she knows better than to actually bite me) as if she is going to bite me. I sometimes hear teeth snap. I had her on ulcerguard (SmartPak) for about a year but didn't think it was necessary to continue since I didn't notice a difference. I have been told by many it is a mare thing. Do any of you have this with your girls? I basically just ignore her and rub her head or give her a treat to make her view it as more of a positive experience. Any other suggestions?

    What do most of you use for ulcers? I thought about putting her back on the ulcerguard or trying a new treatment just to be sure. I hate to think they are in any kind of pain.
    Have you had them scoped too see if they have ulcers? I racked up almost 1000 a month treating a gelding for ulcers only to find out he didnt have them! With mares i remember someone saying its the ovaries, but i honestly dont have aLl the details. They put her on depo/regumate and she got better. Kind of like less cramping when on the pill.



  10. #10
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    Nov. 23, 2010
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    Where the tall corn grows
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    I have a horse that I've been treating with U-gard for 3 months and don't notice a difference... (well fitting saddle, not back sore) but klack klack with the teeth and pins ears, uses his 'grrrr face' as I say for the saddle and girth. I'm starting to wonder if its just a bad habit from when he had confirmed ulcers or from when he had a poor fitting saddle (both over a year ago) and not current ulcers... I'd love to save that 20 bucks a month... PS - horse is a gelding.

    PNWJumper your story sounds very similar to mine... including the 'grrr face' at just about everything! Happy to see me as long as I'm more than 10 feet away. If I get closer he pins his ears back until I pet him or scratch his favorite spots... he acts like he hates it but leans into it because it feels sooo gooood grrrrr oohhh yesss grrrrrr



  11. #11
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    Sep. 17, 2011
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    Cheney, WA
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    My filly is very random with her faces. She was a little girthy and touchy in the girth area when putting on blankets when I first got her (OTTB) She is pretty good now. She sometimes makes ugly faces when I check the girth to see if its tight enough. She doesn't make them when I put it on most of the time. Just when I check it. The time she does make faces is when I do her bareback pad. I was thinking of trying the suggestion of the softer girth and then realized that the bareback girth is soft and she does not like having that one tightened. I have not tried treating her for ulcers though I have thought about it. She picked up a teeth grinding and chewing habit over last winter after being undersaddle for about 8 months. She does it once I put the saddle on but then she also does it when I untack her and when she knows I'm putting her stuff away to put her away. So it may be an anxiety thing too. I'm contemplating giving the ulcer stuff a try. Just have to find the right one and one that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.



  12. #12
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    Nov. 13, 2009
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    4,815

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    Worth having a chiropractor out to check for rib cage issues/rib out. My very girthy/progressively getting worse horse had a shifted rib cage and a rib out on the left. Ouch.



  13. #13
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    Dec. 21, 2008
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    Jacksonville, FL
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    I second getting the ribcage/ribs checked out. A mare my trainer started would always react to just putting the girth around her and would act extremely cold backed. Chiropractor came out, adjusted her rib cage, and she hasn't had an issue with girthing or being cold backed since.



  14. #14
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    May. 28, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmwines01 View Post
    I second getting the ribcage/ribs checked out. A mare my trainer started would always react to just putting the girth around her and would act extremely cold backed. Chiropractor came out, adjusted her rib cage, and she hasn't had an issue with girthing or being cold backed since.
    Good idea. I had her done when I fist got her but didn't notice much difference after. The vet that comes out with my dentist is also a chiropractor but didn't have time to do her the last time she was out. I also notice she is very stiff to the left and goes around with her shoulder stuck in on a left circle.



  15. #15
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    Oct. 26, 2004
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    My gelding who had serious ulcer issues (we didn't know it for a long time because ulcers weren't en vogue for most of the time we had him) never batted an eye at being tacked up.

    My pretty-pretty princess mare (first mare ) makes horrid, angry faces when the girth is tightened. She doesn't have ulcers, and she made the faces from the first day I tried her. However, if something catches her eye, even in mid-tighten, the evil eyes goes away and the ears prick forward.

    I'm not sure how to draw conclusions from these two critters. I will say, though, that this mare is the most sensitive horse I've dealt with (I've ridden both sexes but only owned geldings until now). She is hyper-aware of her personal space and heaven forbid anything so much as tweaks her little body .
    "And now . . .off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums."



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