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Girthy horse - can it be cured? (long)

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  • #21
    I recently read/heard that Catherine Haddad (Dressage rider) "ALWAYS uses a string girth" (She says "always has and always will")!! You might add one to your arsenal as you are checking out different girths.

    Also, is your saddle too far forward? Just a thought.

    Good luck!
    co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!


    • #22
      Hah ! I have a 'girthy/serious bucking' once a year mare. One of my favorite horses to ride. She is now 10 and first did it when attempting her first canter under saddle. Then she did it at the mounting block. Bucked me off twice one day... (Houston, we have lift off !!) Then bronced at the canter again. Then at the mounting block again. Doo dah.. Doo dah...

      Took a few years to figure out she was just a teensy bit girthy. Would tip toe away from the mounting block on occasion, but she was so spooky as a youngster it took a while to figure out that the mounting block tip-toe was a girthy thing and not a spooky thing.

      After time I had to realize she needed a quick longe before mounting. I ALWAYS longe her before mounting at home, and ship her tacked when riding away somewhere. I usually ship them tacked for local stuff anyway, and my theory was that rocking back in forth in the trailer she was going to 'brace' into the girth many times during the trip. And that that was just as good as longeing. So far, it seems to be true Time will tell if I am completely correct about that.

      I ride the mare in a variety of different saddles including dressage, treeless dressage, jumping, and a western saddle. She does not seem to be 'cold backed' she is 'girthy.'

      What I have noticed in other horses is that short, 'dressage' types of girths can make it worse. You are tugging and buckling right at the area where the sensitive nerves in question are located. So go for an over long dressage girth that definitely comes up around the sides or just a switch to a long girth all together.

      Horses that are seriously COLD BACKED I have had, and seen, less success with 'curing'/being dealt with. Horses buck worse, for longer, more often. Riders (and horses) are more terrified.

      We have other 'girthy' horses in the barn and one who was BOTH girthy and cold backed. When you deal with enough of they you can definitely tell the difference. Often, the 'girthy' ones seem to be 'safe enough' with variety of riders so long as they obey (whatever) the proper girthing protocol. Cold back ones will only NOT dump a few riders who can mount/ride the 'right' ('right' as defined by horse.) And 'cold back' horses often worse when not worked, and very likely to launch rider if not worked 6 days/week.

      Girthy horses, it doesn't matter so much the work schedule or the lump on their backs.

      I am sure there are some horses with ulcers who buck/girthy (I know at least 2) and some horses who have developed the 'habit' of bucking who can be 'cured.' But I am also sure there are horses for whom it is a lifetime issue.

      The way I look at it horses are living beings. They were not designed by Toyota or Volvo for carrying human beings around. Not all of them are going to think it is a really good idea to cart a rider around. If you have done nothing 'wrong' and the horse seems physically fine, then you may have to accept that horse needs a little longe before every ride, and it is NOT anyone's fault. (Not my fault I need glasses, just the way it is)

      My girthy mare is my favorite. Jumps. Schooling solid 3rd level dressage, canter pirouettes, trail riding rock star, ships like a star. I just need to take a little extra time before I ride so I don't get my pretty butt launched through the air !
      "Friend" me !



      • #23
        OP, I don't have any more wise words other than what you have already heard. But . . .

        Please, please remember that your safety is paramount. We had a rogue horse here about 6 months ago (not saying that yours is rogue) that exhibited unexplained and ferocious bucking. Bucking that went past even the horse's sense of self-preservation. Would be fine to mount for 2 weeks straight and then BLAM!

        Sometimes they do stuff that we will never understand. We educate and take the time for the education to pay off, but if the behavior is persistant - please just be careful.
        Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

        The Grove at Five Points


        • #24
          The racehorse people get the jockey mounted while the horse is moving for that reason - that might work for them but I am not that athletic, and I suspect Elizabeth is not, either! And I agree that some horses do not like to be held while being mounted as it causes them to tense up and/or explode. Personally, I really, really need my horse to stand while I mount.
          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


          • #25
            I can totally sympathize with not being able to leap onto a moving horse, believe me! But sometimes you can get away with creating the feel of forward, by lungeing or handwalking and then mounting in an open space and keeping a slightly loose rein. It's just like when you're riding a horse and trying to make it stand in the startbox or lined up at a hunter show and you start to get that "stuck" feeling where you know they're going to blow-- once it happens you have to either bail, ride it out, or boot the horse forward and hope that works, but often you can avoid the feeling all together if you are careful.


            • #26
              Hi Liz

              Try one of the Bit of Britain girths with the very thick foam, these girths can be used very loosely and not have your saddle slide around. I galloped prelim xc in one with a girth that most would feel unsafely loose to some(just use a breast plate). Saddle never moved or felt loose to ride, but to hand feel was lots of room.

              If the girth isn't bulky for her, hitting her elbow, I would have bofb make me one without elastic for your girl.

              Elizabeth if your heading to NJHP for the event, let me know, happy to have you borrow one of mine for a couple weeks to see if works before you fork out $$.

              Stay safe, Linn


              • #27
                I've got one.
                not sure they grow out of it but we can try to help.

                I actually posted a thread in April about this mare...she's darling. One of my favorite rides. But girthy.
                Like one buck and bam Purp is on the ground type of girthy. Sometimes I can trigger her issue while still in the cross ties. Sometimes it comes just after I get on. Sometimes 20 minutes into the ride!

                Huge grunt from horse and Bam! On the ground.

                She was started western and is much better with a string grith than a rubber western girth.
                English: she really likes the soft touch girth. She got me twice with a long billet saddle with a short girth. She has NEVER bucked with the soft touch.

                Go to VTO. They are 20 bucks. Very soft type of non slip rubber that your fingers can actually sink into. Also I started using the Equinity Performance pad on Toby and tried it on Abby. She moved off more forward with less hesitation with this pad.

                Also, I usually do a quick lunge just like you. When she has had consistant rides I do not lunge, but I do trot her out in hand before hopping on.
                Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                • #28
                  I have had 2 horses that had this behavior the 1st being so violent he almost ended up as a rodeo mount....but thru a shear fluke of good luck I was introduced to therapist who quickly found horse had a serious siatic nerve issue..Accupuncture and massage therapy almost completely alleviated the proble. Horse always remained a tad tense on mount but when the jolt of pain didn't emerge he was fabulous.

                  Horse 2 had issues they thought was ulcers but turned out to be Kissing Spine, properly diagnosied w/ Full body Scan, spine films and Myelogram.
                  Her problems came and went intermitant but the Buck was wicked.
                  She spent time w/ most likely same Cowboy, and several other luminaries famous for dealing w/ buckers...once the diagnosis horse retired. But left a trail of training dollars spent, chiro, horse physcic, custom saddles, ulcer meds etc...and she was young as well.


                  • #29
                    The one and only time my horse exploded was when a new rider used her own
                    saddle and it had long billets and a girth with wings on it. Pinched her nerve somewhere.
                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                    • #30
                      Certainly have a good vet/chiro check out the horse. Bet more then a 50% chance the horse has ribs or ulcers.


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by davistina67 View Post
                        Certainly have a good vet/chiro check out the horse. Bet more then a 50% chance the horse has ribs or ulcers.
                        100% chance of ribs!!

                        If not... no wonder she's girthy!!!
                        I'm not really at the top of my game today. I'm not even exactly sure what game I'm supposed to be playing, in fact... or where it's being held...

                        My horse's antics iamboyfriend.com