Extremely girthy horse...help.. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 07-26-2010, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Extremely girthy horse...help..

My thin-skinned TB is severely girthy. Previous owner warned me to only use fleece synthetic girths and cinch slowly. He is, otherwise, the perfect horse except I sometimes do not look forward to tacking him up. I have done everything others suggest...one hole at a time then walk away and do something else then come back and do next hole, walk him around before doing next hole (which, by the way, allows my saddle to slip back).
He not only swings his head back to bit me ( I smack him), he raises hind leg and tries to kick me and kicks out with hind leg if I get even remotely close to getting first hole hooked. After I walk him, I go to do next hole (2nd hole on one side) and he kicks rear leg around and then kicks it behind him....along with several attempts to bite at me.
When I think about riding, I just can't wait to get on him but really hate the girthing bit which is time consuming process and I almost get injured each time. Once I am actually on him, he could care less about me cinching up his girth the rest of the way...doesn't even put his ears back once I am one him. Only when I am on the ground with him. I need suggestions. Some days are worse than others. One day I cinched him up and he didn't give me any trouble so what was so special about that day??? Oh and he does this with everyone including my trainer so it's not a disrespect issue as he really respects my trainer and still does this...I don't see any ulcers of any kind it's smooth skin and coat with no changes.
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post #2 of 25 Old 07-26-2010, 08:51 PM
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I would have a vet out to have him scoped to check for ulcers. They can have ulcers along their digestive track that can make horses be extremely girthy. Does he act up when you brush him at all along his stomach/sides? How about the underside of his neck - does he ever get cranky when you touch that?

A poster here, MIEventer, has dealt with ulcers in her horse so maybe she'll come along and give you some pointers.

But, in all honesty, if he is normal in every other way and you're using soft girths and tacking slowly then I would check for digestive ulcers. And having the vet scope them is the only way to know for sure.

-Melanie
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post #3 of 25 Old 07-27-2010, 12:36 AM
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I would have a chiropractor out ASAP. I had a mare like that and she had a couple ribs out right by her girth. Once she had a couple of adjustments she was much better. She's still "pissy" when girthed up, but she no longer tries to eat you, lol.

Once you have him adjusted a couple of times (also have his saddle fit and back checked), start working on his manners. This is an old behavior and won't go away instantly. Start with just rubbing his girth area "roughly". When he acts right, give him treats and praise. When he acts ugly, use a Dressage whip and "correct him" quickly and sharply. Use this same technique when tacking him up. If he even flicks an ear at you in a "mean" way, "correct him" quickly and sharply. When he stands patiently, give him treats and praise. You must BE THE BOSS and show him that this behavior is not acceptable, but also show him that the right behavior will be rewarded.
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post #4 of 25 Old 07-27-2010, 12:46 AM
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Check saddle fit and other signs of pain, first thing. If it's determined that you just have a pissy horse, take him out, do a hole or two, then go back and undo them. Work up to having it fully tightened, then go undo it. This way he won't always associate you going to his girth area with tightening, but also with loosening.
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post #5 of 25 Old 07-27-2010, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by luvs2ride1979 View Post
I would have a chiropractor out ASAP. I had a mare like that and she had a couple ribs out right by her girth. Once she had a couple of adjustments she was much better. She's still "pissy" when girthed up, but she no longer tries to eat you, lol.

Once you have him adjusted a couple of times (also have his saddle fit and back checked), start working on his manners. This is an old behavior and won't go away instantly. Start with just rubbing his girth area "roughly". When he acts right, give him treats and praise. When he acts ugly, use a Dressage whip and "correct him" quickly and sharply. Use this same technique when tacking him up. If he even flicks an ear at you in a "mean" way, "correct him" quickly and sharply. When he stands patiently, give him treats and praise. You must BE THE BOSS and show him that this behavior is not acceptable, but also show him that the right behavior will be rewarded.
Yes I just bought a custom made to fit his back devoucoux saddle and I know it fits him well because the last saddle when I mounted him he would walk off and with his new saddle he doesn't bat an eye stands quietly. I can rub and brush the girth area before girthing but just after I remove tack I go to brush it and he side steps away from me and raises his hind leg. I don't give him treats anymore because it makes him very pushy and excited and once I stopped with the treats/apple, etc he doesn't push me around.Some days are better than others. Yesterday was really bad but then last week one morning I had to groom and wrap him in his stall due to time restraints when they fed horses late that let him eat a few mins before taking him out and when I finally did, I put him in crossties and he picked up feet quickly and didn't pay attention to me when I was tacking him up and cinching him it was amazing. that was just only one day and the rest of the time he's a grouchy pain. What was so different about that one morning...I'm trying to figure it out.
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post #6 of 25 Old 07-27-2010, 01:43 AM
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Check for a muscle spasm in his girth area. They are usually pretty straight forward but as other posters have suggested, the behavior is usually the tough part to break. It should feel like one, maybe two peas in a pod right in the heart of the girth. If you find something, call in a massage therapist. These particular spasms can be difficult to break up because they are in such a sensitive area. They are usually reasonably priced and will fix that problem and your horse will totally thank you for it!

Beyond that...I would suggest tucking a dressage whip between you and his face when you tack. He will swing his head to bit you and run into the whip. That way, the whip is the bad guy, not you.
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post #7 of 25 Old 07-27-2010, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by corinowalk View Post
Check for a muscle spasm in his girth area. They are usually pretty straight forward but as other posters have suggested, the behavior is usually the tough part to break. It should feel like one, maybe two peas in a pod right in the heart of the girth. If you find something, call in a massage therapist. These particular spasms can be difficult to break up because they are in such a sensitive area. They are usually reasonably priced and will fix that problem and your horse will totally thank you for it!

Beyond that...I would suggest tucking a dressage whip between you and his face when you tack. He will swing his head to bit you and run into the whip. That way, the whip is the bad guy, not you.
do the peas in a pod feel hard or soft to the touch? I thought I saw a few pea sized areas but when I ran my hand across I didn't feel anything.
I will hold a whip between us that's a good suggestion thanks.
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post #8 of 25 Old 07-27-2010, 06:11 AM
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I rode an arabian mare that had some dramatic reactions to the girthing (flipping backwards ) due to some moron grooms.
Some years ago some potheads figured it would be fun to squeeze the life out of her by suddenly girthing her all the way to the last hole. I don't even know how is that physically possible. Anyways she probably felt a huge amount of pain and since then girthing from the ground was quite a battle

If your horse is healthy (no ulcers etc) perhaps he had some similar trauma. My riding instructor used to ride her to walk carefully and girth her while riding her hole by hole while keeping the horse busy with turns and circles, to get her mind off the girth:/
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post #9 of 25 Old 07-27-2010, 01:55 PM
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I still say you need a chiropractor out. It sounds like he may have a rib or two out of place, or he could have some muscle issues. I like using a chiro who is also a vet. Mind does accupuncture as well.
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post #10 of 25 Old 07-27-2010, 02:44 PM
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They can be both. Usually, they would feel like a slightly cooked pea. A bit firm on the outside but can be squished. She should give you a look or maybe even a bite if you press on them. They can be very problematic and can actually make her limit her stride capacity. Its like having a knot in your shoulder. While not in use, it doesnt really bother you. When you are asked to hold your hands up over your head, you would refused. It pinches.

Here is a pretty decent website with tons of massage therapist. Some of them are a bit hippy-dippy...wanting the moon and stars to align before working with a horse. Most of them are professional persons wanting to help with pain related issues. I saw that one of them was even a saddle fitter. Two birds-One stone!
http://www.socalequine.com/health_ca..._therapies.htm

Last edited by corinowalk; 07-27-2010 at 02:48 PM.
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