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Girthing Intolerance?

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  • Girthing Intolerance?

    It seems that no matter what saddle I have tried, my horse cannot tolerate a tight girth. The horse is not girthy per se but cannot tolerate the saddle clamped tightly on her back. Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon? The issue is the back, not the girth area itself.

  • #2
    How do you know it's her back? Have you had her checked for an ongoing back issue by a physio? I'd also recommend checking for ulcers. Keep in mind that you don't want the girth so tight that the saddle can't move with the horse's back... it should never be "clamped".
    Proud COTH lurker since 2001.

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    • #3
      If the back is hurting, what else can you really expect?

      Find a saddle that fits, the girth 'problem' will go away.
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      • #4
        My mare gets girthy when she has a rib out. I'd check saddle fit and get a chiro out.

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        • #5
          I had a horse that was back sore and girthy, turns out he had ulcers...Treated with pop rocks, the other issues went away...

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          • #6
            Read this and google other articles by this chiro:

            http://www.ceatnz.com/pdf/girthy_horse.pdf

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            • #7
              Could be ulcers, back pain, poorly fitted saddle, or just a bad habit. My mare was girthy, but I ruled out all of the above except the bad habit. The only thing I can figure is that when she was used as a therapy horse the volunteers may have been a little abrupt when they were girthing her up. I started giving her a treat right before I would tighten the girth and with something yummy to think about the issue went away immediately. I have now weaned her off of treats and have no issues girthing her up, I also do it in stages, and not all at once. I am fairly certain all horses appreciate that.
              Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
              The Blog

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              • #8
                I think lots of riders over tighten their girths.... probably due to the elastic ends that are so popular now. It should feel snug like your bra strap, but not so snug that you have to really struggle to get a hand under it.

                I have a horse that grinds if you over tighten his girth.
                Unless the saddle is shifting while you ride, your girth is probably tight enough.
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                • #9
                  Girths should be tightened by small degrees, too. Are you leaving it loose when initially tacked and then slowly tightening it up when walking around the ring before you mount?
                  "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    The saddle fits. I always girth up slowly both in the aisle and walking before I mount. The horse doesn't so much as make a face or swish her tail. Her back is not sore per vet and physio person. The girth eventually is very tight as the saddle slips sideways at the canter. Every single saddle she has ever worn does this. It is not me as I have had a GP rider sit on her and the same thing happened to her. No ulcer symptoms, but I can believe that pressure on the stomach could force acid up into areas where it may be uncomfortable. Horse never humps her back, bucks or "acts out". Pop rocks may be worth a try. Any links on where to get them and more information on them? As far as the saddle goes, I have been reading about "yaw" where the rear of the saddle shifts to the outside on circles. I will be looking into a saddle that has a rear balance billet. I am a person who has never girthed my horses up tight in the 30+ years I've owned and competed, but I am stumped with this one.

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                    • #11
                      In my experience if the saddle is going sideways the tree is too wide.
                      Anne
                      -------
                      "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

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                      • #12
                        may be may be not

                        As if you don't have enough to worry about, the saddle slipping issue -- according to thehorse.com -- could be related to a hind leg lameness. See http://www.thehorse.com/articles/298...-limb-lameness.

                        My horse is girthy -- the saddle he has now seems to fit but he has a history of riding in a saddle that did not fit, and that's when the problems started. If tightening caused pain in the past it might be the expectation of pain.

                        THat said, when a girth has to be super tight to stay stable, I'd think that would be painful. I'd be looking at the saddle again. I hate saying this because I know what saddle hell is, having been there more than once.
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                        • #13
                          I have one horse I ride who is a little, teeny bit, 'cold backed.' She is not 'girthy,' but she is a little sensitive to having her back sat on when it is NOT warmed up.

                          This is most noticeable if I hop on her bareback, without a longe warm up. Then I can literally feel her long back muscles do a quick, staccato, vibration as she throws up her head and flashes me a very concerned look. With a saddle, you may make it through mounting okay, but she may buck your butt off when you pick up canter.

                          All she requires is a quick longe to warm her up (or a tacked up ride in the horse trailer, if I am going trail riding/showing, suffices as well.) I rider her in several different saddles, including western, dressage, jumping, treeless and bareback bad. The saddle doesn't make a difference.

                          As for your saddle slipping, yes it is likely the rider that is causing that. Try riding her bareback, and you will likely notice that you tend to slide off the right even without the saddle. Most people and horses are 'banana' shaped to the Left. Their left side usually contracts or shortens somehow. While the right tends to lengthen. The GP rider probably does the same thing. Being GP does not mean the rider sits perfectly evenly.

                          My cold backed horse is also barrel shaped, and yes tack has a tendency to slip to the right. BUT, all my tack tends in that direction on ALL my horses.
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