"Girthy" Agression Getting Worse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 04-15-2010, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Near Philadelphia, PA
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"Girthy" Agression Getting Worse

My Tb/Paint Catie is honestly one of the sweetest horses I have worked with.

Here she is...

She is very sweet, and everyone comments on how nice she is! My parents even love to help me with her (usually they are scared of horses)

Here is my problem;
I've had her for almost 5 monthes now, and we have gotten really far with her already. When I first got her, the owner said she is a bit "girthy". I figured, typical mare, I've delt with it before. It was fine when i first tacked her up, just pinned her ears and got antsy when i tightened the girth. But she has been getting worse. Now she is agressive even when I am brushing her, and goes to bite me when I just put the saddle pad on. Last week she bite me for the first time just when i was putting the saddle pad on her back, I didn't even do anything wrong. So that was a wake up call for me, because like I said she is the horse in the barn that everyone loves.

Do you have any suggestions to help her with her agression? Or to show her that putting on the saddle/grooming/tacking up is not a punishment?

Thanks for your time for reading my thread! :)

Life's challenges are not supposed
to paralyze you, they're supposed
to help you discoverwho you are.
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post #2 of 24 Old 04-15-2010, 04:18 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
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I just watched a training session with Julie Goodnight and this same issue. I would suggest you watch it or get her video. Great progress in a short amount of time on the TV show. I am sure you can just get that video. You could tell the owner was causing alot of issues with saddleing quickly also. Too long to explain but well worth watching. I saw it in RVDTV and usually shows reruns
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post #3 of 24 Old 04-15-2010, 04:32 PM
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Are you tightening the saddle in stages? I will place the saddle on and tighten the cinch the first time just tight enough to keep the saddle from falling off. I then do something else like putting on the breast collar and go back and tighten some more. I don't do a final pull until right before I mount up.
If there aren't any physical reasons for her to be girthy, look to how you are doing the whole procedure.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #4 of 24 Old 04-15-2010, 04:46 PM
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While my guy is not girthy in the least I always tighten in stages. I put the girth in the first hole on the off side, move to the near side, 2st hole again then go back to the off side and tighten to where I want it.
I then put the headstall on and leaving the near side loose walk the first 100 yards, stop , tighten the near side to the desired spot, mount and ride out. This has nothing to do with girthy. I just consider it good horsemanship.
I always, always walk the last 100 yards also with the saddle loosened and lead the horse.
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post #5 of 24 Old 04-15-2010, 07:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Australia
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That to me sounds like she is hurting somewhere. My guy has chronic back paina nd when it is bad he bites at me when I brush that area and when I put the pad on his back - When it isn't as bad he pins his ears and snakes his head when I do the girth up.

It might be worth getting a chiropractor/bodyworker to have a look - When I got my guy done last time he was out in a muscle that stretches across the girth area which was contributing.

If you rule out pain, then I agree with the others, girth and ungirth slowly, in stages. Moving the horse in between tighteing helps as well. Loosening the girth a short while before taking the saddle off allows the blood to start flowing a bit slower, and stops their back and loins from going from hot to cold too quickly, which can also result in soreness.

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post #6 of 24 Old 04-15-2010, 08:54 PM
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Judging by your description and her picture, it sounds like a pain issue to me. In the picture, her eyes look uncomfortable. I'd recommend you get her back checked and maybe give her a break from saddle work and see if she get's better, also check your saddle fit. Once you can rule out pain, then I'd suggest coming back here again if the issue still persists. In the mean time, if she needs to be groomed/saddled etc keep your elbow up so she punishes herself is she runs into you, and take it slow. Don't stop brushing until she relaxes, and then release the pressure. Like others have mentioned, be steady with girthing up and do it hole by hole over a period of time.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are certain and the intelligent are full of doubt"
-Bertrand Russel

Last edited by roro; 04-15-2010 at 08:59 PM.
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post #7 of 24 Old 04-15-2010, 10:27 PM
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I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say that she's only getting worse because you let her. This sounds a LOT like my guy, who has a big space bubble...you have to earn your way into it, if you just walk right up to him, he gets very pissy very quickly. What are you doing to correct him when he does turn back towards you while tightening the girth, brushing, etc?
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post #8 of 24 Old 04-15-2010, 10:42 PM
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Aside from checking to make sure her back isn't out and other pain related issues, I would also have her scoped for ulcers.
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post #9 of 24 Old 04-15-2010, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Vidaloco View Post
Are you tightening the saddle in stages? I will place the saddle on and tighten the cinch the first time just tight enough to keep the saddle from falling off. I then do something else like putting on the breast collar and go back and tighten some more. I don't do a final pull until right before I mount up.
If there aren't any physical reasons for her to be girthy, look to how you are doing the whole procedure.

Just watched that episode today, she did a GREAT job with that horse!!

When God Made Horses, He Painted The Good Ones.
"All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day."
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post #10 of 24 Old 04-15-2010, 10:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SE-Wisconsin
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Being girthy and being sensitive to grooming/aggressive to grooming is a massive sign of gastric ulcers.

There are the regular fixes like gastroguard, which require a vet diagnosis, scoping, and paying ridiculous amounts for a month blast with the medication. Or, I have seen results and heard extremely many reviews of the herbal/natural supplement by Dynamite, called Miracle Clay. It is volcanic ash that has amazing calming methods, for poultice, internal medicine, etc. I've taken it personally before, and it is so awesome. It is far cheaper and you don't need a prescription or a scope, which is invasive enought that it's my last resort if they don't respond to the Miracle Clay.

I've seen results within 2 days of starting the clay, horses being completely different in demeanor. It's sweet.

I digress, your horse sounds like it has ulcers. Is he/she competed heavily? Was she before you got her? She's lovely, she looks like a great quality upper level HUS horse.

Think about it!

Owner and head trainer of SE-Wisconsin Horse Care
*Lessons*Training*Farm/Pet Setting*Dog Walking*Equi-Eval*
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agression , girthy , grooming

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