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Monoflaps, short girths, and back issues

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  • Monoflaps, short girths, and back issues

    I'm looking into a future saddle and am keen on a monoflap as I enjoy the closer contact and they are - apparently- recommended for eventing. However, once upon a time, I read a post on here stating their chiro detested monoflaps because, according to them, short girths cause back issues.

    Coming from this logic, one would have to assume every dressage horse is absolutely miserable and every horse that's ever had a western saddle on was near keeling over from pain, which I know for certain is not true. Buuuut I'm still serious about what would cause any horse potential problems.

    So, anyone have any evidence to condemn monoflaps and their short girths? Any evidence to support increased comfort for long girths? Should I look into getting a monoflap for eventing/jumping/XC events, or stick to a standard saddle?

    [Pardon any loose terminology here - I've been in an english saddle a comparatively short time in my riding career and have only recently reached the milestone of dropping "cinch" out of my vocabulary ;^)]

  • #2
    Nothing useful to tell you as I don't have a monoflap, but they are not "recommended" for eventing - there is a bit of a fad in eventing for them at the moment. There's nothing particular about them that makes them better suited to eventing. My saddle fitter actually thinks they are less stable for galloping and jumping than a traditional saddle with a long girth.
    i recently bought a new dressage and jump saddle, tried several monoflaps, and ended up with traditional saddles for both. It really should be about what fits you, your horse, and your budget. If you are fairly new to English and to eventing, I wouldn't buy one (or two) expensive saddles just yet. Your position will probably evolve over time and you may find what is comfortable now is less ideal in a year.
    The big man -- my lost prince

    The little brother, now my main man

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    • #3
      Having been an exercise rider (Tbreds) for many years, I got very used to riding in an exercise saddle, and when I retired from galloping and began riding for pleasure I found I still preferred my exercise saddle over my conventional english saddles because of the close contact feel my exercise saddle provided and also because the girth buckles were so high up they didn't get in the way of my leg.

      Anytime I rode in one of my english saddles I felt like I was perched way up high on my horses + girth buckles in the way.

      But -- my exercise saddle was far too uncomfortable (seat wise) to ride in for any length of time, like on a trail ride. No cushion at all. So.....

      ..... I bought a Pessoa monoflap saddle in order to solve all my problems. Great saddle -- very comfortable! None of my horses are bothered by the monoflap at all -- and my pro saddle fitter never even mentioned the 'short girth' possible back problems -- and since I only trail ride I can't speak to the 'possible problems' when competing in a monoflap.

      But it got me thinking....so I googled a bit and found this quote from a girth problem site.

      "A short girth like those used in dressage sometimes causes the posterior pectoral to tighten, particularly if the buckles line up right on top of the muscle."

      And also this discussion:

      http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forum.../t-267374.html

      I guess it depends on the horse, saddle/girth fit, etc.



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      • #4
        My saddle fitter is my horse's massage therapist. I have a monoflap/short girth on a horse with a history of back issues. His back has continued to improve with the monoflap. I use an anatomical girth because of his particular shape. I think that if my saddle fitter had concerns about the monoflap/short girth she would have mentioned it before we ordered it.
        Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

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        • Original Poster

          #5

          danacat Thank you for all the research you did! I suppose sometimes I forget google is a thing. Oops. That thread is extremely interesting. I currently am borrowing a CC and my retired barrel racing mare who for years loathed getting cinched up in my western saddle has little issue with the long girth. Bit mindblowing, now I think about it. I didn't even notice I wasn't having to dodge her nips yesterday! Where did my wonderfully nasty mare go?!

          I also recall a post about where to properly place the cinch so that it didn't compress a vein in the horses side. I saw just as many people calling bunk on it, but now I suppose I can give the post a little bit of credit for effort. I'm wondering if it's not back issues people commonly encounter with short girths as much as possible "nerve issues".

          SonnysMom If I'd get any girth, it definitely would be anatomical. I'm glad to hear your horse is feeling better!

          asterix I agree on waiting on a saddle. I suppose I'm jumping the gun a bit as a) the saddle I have is 'on lease' from a friend and b) I'm paranoid it won't fit a 16+ hand Standardbred I'm looking at getting later in the year. Waiting until I actually understand what a good saddle feels like sounds like a much better plan
          Last edited by cocohooves; Jun. 19, 2017, 06:26 PM.

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          • #6
            What a saddle fitter once told me about short girths was that for some horses (not all by any means) the placement of the buckles on the short girth irritated the vagus nerve. She felt that a long girth was more comfortable for most horses.

            The two things that I most prefer about long girths are: 1) I don't like feeling the buckles with my lower leg (I have long legs); and 2) I like being able to adjust the girth while I'm in the saddle.(which means I'm lazy).

            My dressage saddle has a long girth, and I've just bought a close contact saddle with a long girth.
            "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

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            • #7
              The only time I have seen an issue with a short girth was on a horse that had (for some reason) an extreme sensitivity in the area of his vagus nerve. He would just about collapse when his rider would do up her short dressage girth. However, as you mentioned, most dressage riders ride with a short girth without any problem, and all western riders ride with a short girth without problem. I think it is more to do with making sure that the saddle fits, instead of what kind of girth you are using.
              RH Queen O Anywhere "Sydney"
              2009 Sugarbush Draft mare
              Western Dressage
              Draft Mare blog

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              • #8
                This is why if you read any amount of dressage-based threads, you will regularly see discussions about girths - where those buckles end up matters. A lot.

                You want them to be above the elbow, and because there is no flap of leather between them and the horse, they do require some special consideration for protecting and padding against the horse's side. This results in many variations, since horses are very particular. So it does matter the type of girth in the context of the short girth, in addition to billet placement and saddle fit, the latter 2 being issues no matter whether it's long or short billets.
                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by danacat View Post
                  Having been an exercise rider (Tbreds) for many years, I got very used to riding in an exercise saddle, and when I retired from galloping and began riding for pleasure I found I still preferred my exercise saddle over my conventional english saddles because of the close contact feel my exercise saddle provided and also because the girth buckles were so high up they didn't get in the way of my leg.

                  Anytime I rode in one of my english saddles I felt like I was perched way up high on my horses + girth buckles in the way.

                  But -- my exercise saddle was far too uncomfortable (seat wise) to ride in for any length of time, like on a trail ride. No cushion at all. So.....

                  ..... I bought a Pessoa monoflap saddle in order to solve all my problems. Great saddle -- very comfortable! None of my horses are bothered by the monoflap at all -- and my pro saddle fitter never even mentioned the 'short girth' possible back problems -- and since I only trail ride I can't speak to the 'possible problems' when competing in a monoflap.

                  But it got me thinking....so I googled a bit and found this quote from a girth problem site.

                  "A short girth like those used in dressage sometimes causes the posterior pectoral to tighten, particularly if the buckles line up right on top of the muscle."

                  And also this discussion:

                  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forum.../t-267374.html

                  I guess it depends on the horse, saddle/girth fit, etc.


                  Agreed....I still like my old cutback saddles even after trying some of the fancy and comfy dressage saddles (Trilogy). I'll take my $100 Barnsby cutback any day. Simple and easy. My horses back also had more issues when I used a dressage saddle and I found it hard to canter because it perches me in a forced position.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Posting Trot - That's exactly why I prefer long billets! I don't like having the buckles and girth under my leg. Now I did have a horse that was so wide that I couldn't hold onto him with my legs when jumping until I got the long billeted CC saddle so there's a basis for my preference. My current horse's jumping saddle has short billets and his girth is the right length to keep the buckles clear when I ride at jumping length, but it's irritating when I try to use a longer stirrup.

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