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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 11, 2007
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    Central VA
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    Default Tightening girth while mounted (long billets)

    I recently switched over from hunters and hadn't ever ridden in a saddle with long billets until 6 months or so ago. I could easily tighten my girth in my (short billeted) hunt seat saddle, while walking. If, God forbid, I find my girth to be loose after I get on in my (long billeted) dressage saddle, I feel like a monkey trying to tighten it! I feel like I have to lean waaaaaayy down and can hardly feel what I'm doing, plus I can barely push the billet ends back in the "keeper" part of the girth when I'm done.

    Is this normal or is there an easier way? Luckily my horse is quiet but I still feel like maybe I should just dismount, tighten, and get back on instead of potentially falling on my head!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    CT
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    Default

    Make sure your girth is long enough. You don't want the buckles anywhere near his elbows. Mine has about 2 inches between the bottom of the saddle and the top of the girth.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 11, 2007
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    Central VA
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    Default

    Yeah, my girth buckle is only a couple inches from the edge of the flap. I can't go up a girth size, if that's any indication.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2007
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    975

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KPF View Post
    Yeah, my girth buckle is only a couple inches from the edge of the flap. I can't go up a girth size, if that's any indication.
    LOL, It's a learned skill for sure.


    When you bend down try to move your butt to the very back of the saddle so when you're tightening, you're not so far on the neck. You're more over the shoulders. Keep your shortened reins in one hand and rested on the neck (over the mane) - gives you more balance and also you can use your reins if the horse starts to walk off.

    I'm not sure if that made any sense It's hard to explain!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2012
    Location
    port townsend, wa
    Posts
    58

    Default

    I don't even try, just make sure the girth is where it needs to be before I get on. You should be able to ride with a loose girth, anyway, you're not going over fences. I can slide my flattened fingers between the girth and the horse at the girth's tightest.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2008
    Location
    Central Oklahoma
    Posts
    3,560

    Default

    Yeah, it is awkward, and I give my husband a heart attack every time he sees me doing it, and if you get short arms like me, that is going to be extra awkward. I just shorten the reins, bridge them into one hand, grab a handful of mane in my rein hand, and lean waaaaay over the neck to tighten the girth....

    I only do it at home on my very seasoned horse. I don't do it if I'm at clinics/shows where they are more excited; and I don't attempt it on my green horse. I either hop off, or find someone to help me.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2005
    Location
    Spotsylvania, VA
    Posts
    14,407

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by threemagicalmares View Post
    I don't even try, just make sure the girth is where it needs to be before I get on. You should be able to ride with a loose girth, anyway, you're not going over fences. I can slide my flattened fingers between the girth and the horse at the girth's tightest.
    Yup
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2008
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    761

    Default

    It's called a groom.
    "Your best can be worn at any length"- Jason Mraz



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2009
    Location
    Montreal, Qc
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    Default

    When you do you girth in a jumping saddle, you put you leg forward over the flap and tighen under the flap.
    When you want to tighten the girth with long billets, keep both your stirrups, put your leg(the one on the side you are tightening) a behind the girth, turn your shoulder and seat toward the side you are about to tighten and stick you bum out on the other side while going down with your upper body and arms. It's the easiest way, it gets you right there without going over the neck, and you can use both hands.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2009
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    Montreal, Qc
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    Default

    I don't think riding with a loose girth is good.
    Like every other piece of tack, it should be well fitted or it could cause rubbing or other problems.
    Without realising it, you will be gripping the saddle if it's even slightly moving.

    What is the point of having a saddle if it is not properly tighten?



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 11, 2011
    Location
    Boulder, CO
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    544

    Default

    The only easier way is with lots of practice, haha. You'll get used to it!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2007
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    1,235

    Default

    You'll get used to it. I ride a pony who's girth buckles (the peg part) have springs in them so they stay in place when you tighten the girth. You dont have to fiddle with getting the peg in the hole. I can usually just pull up the billet and the peg slips into the hole.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2001
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    1,249

    Default

    I do all my girth tightening before I get on. I know how tight it needs to be for my horse and I tighten it to that point gradually. Put saddle on and tighten pretty loosely. Put on my helmet and gloves, tighten a hole. Put on bridle, tighten a hole. Walk out to ring, tighten, pull down stirrups tighten. At that point it should be enough, but if needed can walk forward a bit, one last tighten.

    The very rare times I do need to tighten under saddle it is pretty difficult and I can never tuck the straps back in the billet holders.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2009
    Posts
    3,661

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    I watched a pro one time reach down on a fairly seasoned horse to tighten girth. Saddle shifted, said pro went in the dirt and said horse bolted off with saddle 1/2 way around his barrel, galloping around property scared witless. Fortunately rider and horse were fine, but the horse could have done himself in.

    Don't do it...



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 11, 2007
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    Central VA
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    Default

    Glad to know it's not just me!

    Zevida, that's about what I do currently, but Mr. Horse is starting to develop a topline, and I've changed saddle pad configurations, so I've had a few times where I've discovered that the girth is loose after I've been on for a few minutes.

    Hopefully I can stay with the current saddle pad plan for a while and get used to whichever holes it needs to be on before I get on. I think otherwise I'll get off to tighten. I have a tall mounting block so it's no big deal. I have my horses at home so unless I'm having a lesson, unfortunately I can't beg someone else to tighten it from the ground!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2000
    Location
    Nokesville, VA
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    35,538

    Default

    Pactice!!!

    Nowadays, I find it EASIER to tighten, while mounted, the "short girth" on my dressage saddle than the "long girth" on my jumping saddle.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2011
    Location
    Warren County, NJ
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    Default

    I'm so used to tightening the girth from the saddle that I didn't think it would be such a big deal to someone else.

    Now, if it had to be tightened on the OTHER side, I'd be in trouble. Probably not nearly as flexible going the opposite way.

    My old Arab can still do a quick spook/spin and luckily has never done it while fixing the girth. I always mumble "Buckle up for safety" while doing it; maybe he's listening.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2010
    Posts
    210

    Default

    Just one more example of why dressage riders are more supple than h/j riders!



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