I'm having some trouble with one of my horses, a particularly thin skinned paint horse (he's about 3/4ths white). He developed a gall about 2-3 fingers behind his elbow, enough to bleed and swell a little and cause him some discomfort (I ended up walking back to the house last ride when I discovered it to keep from aggravating it). When I was walking I discovered its right on the front edge of the cinch, and with every stride his skin folds up there a little bit and rubs the front of the cinch. I have sworn by 100% mohair roper cinches for their stability and not galling a horse. (I use this horse as a pony horse for young horses pretty often) I rinse my cinches with plain water every couple of rides and let them dry overnight to keep the sweat/hair from building up and they get a good soak and scrub with a blanket wash or mild shampoo every couple months or so.
Out of all the horses we have (12) this is the ONLY horse having a problem. They all get ridden 3-4 days a week, 2-4 hours a day in sand and on steep trails in Tucson, AZ. I've had horses since I was a kid and after a couple of stints helping out in a professional training stable, I know how to saddle a horse properly. I picked out all the tack for these horses and although I'm not the one who rides all of them I do almost all of the saddling or at least a quick check before anyone mounts up.
We've had this horse about 2 years, he's always been quick to gall but this is the first time I've had one this bad on him. Usually its from one not-quite-right tack up (we all have days where we can't seem to get anything adjusted right) and its gone the next time I ride (I'm the ONLY one who rides this horse, his temperament is as sensative as his skin ). We bought him a 100% mohair cinch in the right size that's ONLY his. I am very careful about making sure my saddle is in the right place and the cinch is centered with the Dee's on the midline of his body AFTER cinching up. I don't over tighten my cinch so that it pinches, I just take it a little bit beyond snug (I don't know how else to describe it) so that its not sliding around loose. I walk him a few paces before I mount up to make sure everything gets a chance to work loose and I don't pull on the cantle of the saddle as I mount causing the saddle to twist.
My saddle fits him fine, however just because of the way he is built the cinch always rides a little closer to his elbows than I'd like it to be. He's a quarter horse paint with a tendency to get a hay belly. He's not really long in his heartgirth area before his ribs spring out so there isn't any room to slide the cinch back. When you do, it just ends up forward again within a few strides. I'm looking at something different to use on him in hopes of alleviating his gall problem. He's had a week and a couple days off and that gall is almost fully healed. I've just been layering it with Corona ointment.
From some online research, I don't think that neoprene is the way to go. Some people swear by it I know but from what I've read if a horse is already prone to galling neoprene isn't a good choice. I saw the new Airflex weaver cinch, the roper one online and I'm going to see if I can find one in a store to take a closer look at it. I like the asymmetrical shape of the roper one, it looks more contoured around the elbows while still being wider for the extra stability. I'm just concerned about the material being too galling for his sensitive skin, and there being a rough seam on the front edge of the cinch to rub near his elbow (It says padded flex edges in the description but I can't tell much from the pictures).
Anybody used this kind of cinch yet, use one on a gall-prone horse or have another suggestion to try?
Here's a link to the cinch...
Saddles Tack Horse Supplies - ChickSaddlery.com Weaver AirFlex Roper Smart Cinch <>