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New here - question about girth issues

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  • After i cinch the saddle my horse acts like he is going to fall down
  • Girth issues

 
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    04-08-2009, 08:03 AM
  #1
Foal
New here - question about girth issues

Hi everyone!

My name is Dawn, I'm 26, and live in south florida.

I've been riding a long time, hunters when I was younger and now I'm giving dressage a try. I recently started leasing a 15 year old arabian gelding who is a sweetheart, but has some issues.

He was owned by a lady who abandoned him at my trainer's barn. A wonderful family who doesn't have much horse experience fell in love with him and bought him. He seems perfect for me - he has some background in dressage, and is really a sweetie.

I had heard that in the past when you tighten his girth that he sometimes freaks out (and even flipped over once...maybe more than once, I can't remember what they told me). His new family hadn't seen him do it, but heard that he had done it in the past. The day I rode him for the first time I was tacking him up and when it was time to put on the girth, they told me how many holes to put it on (I had no idea about his girth issues at this time, I just thought they were being protective so I did what they told me, thinking i'd tighten the girth up when we got in the ring). I did exactly what they told me they always do. He seemed fine, but after I got his bridle on and went to lead him out of the cross ties, he totally collapsed! Of course, because I didn't know he had a history of this, I thought it was something I'd done...I was really scared and confused!

Thankfully, he didn't panic, but he couldn't get up. It took him 3-4 tries to get back to his feet, after we loosened the girth. We walked him around, and then gradually tightened one hole at a time, walking him after every hole. He was fine from then on and rode like a dream. This was last Saturday.

Yesterday (Tuesday) night I went out to ride him again and this time I was very careful with the girth. I kept it very loose (not even really on) until I lead him out onto the grass, and then tightened very gradually (one hole at a time). He had a wobbly moment where I thought he might go down, but was able to remain on his feet after I loosened and then walked and tried again.

Again, after that he rode just fine.

As far as I know, this horse is healthy and is known to have this problem. My trainer told me a pinched nerve is likely the cause of this. I'd just never seen it before, and want to make sure that I deal with it the right way when it comes to tacking up. Is there anything else I can do besides tightening one hole at a time and then walking to make it easier for him?

Here he is:

     
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    04-08-2009, 10:15 AM
  #2
Showing
He is a beauty. I would suggest they have a vet look over him to rule out any pain issues but it sounds to me like he is girthy to the extreme. There are lots of horses who will act like they are going to fall if you tighten the girth too fast and too tight and it sounds like that is the way that he is. If it is in-fact that, there is not really much you can do other than what you are doing right now. Work it up one hole at a time and walk him in between.
     
    04-08-2009, 03:11 PM
  #3
Foal
I had a mare that was the same way. I got her when she was six and she did it up to when I sold her ten years later. We had blood work done physicals, you name it we tested for it. I always believed it was something in her past as a race horse. Sometimes she would go months and never do it. I would just make the saddle snug then walk her off for a few minutes then tighten it up.
     
    04-08-2009, 03:53 PM
  #4
Foal
That is exactly what happened with a client who has a roping horse.

The horse flipped over with a rider in the roping box and would pull back when tied (only when being saddled) and break the lead, flip backwards and fall over.

After a Chiropractor worked on the horse and I retrained the horse to understand there's no more pain and the owner stopped overcinching the horse....the problem stopped.

1. It is pain.
--it's easy to cinch up too tight too soon and this causes this kind of problem
--saddle might not of fit correctly but it was still used and cinched too tight, too soon

Solution: call a chiropractor or better yet, a massage therapist (deep tissue massage, even just one session will help A LOT to get rid of the scar tissue/tention/pain in that area)

2. Overcinching.
--cinch and uncinch a dozen times then ....
--be sure to cinch snug, walk the horse around, cinch again, walk the horse around, cinch again
--you want to cinch up at least 3 times before you actually mount up

3. Be sure your tack fits properly.
--saddle pinching can lead to painful problems and this can turn into this type of big reaction

Once you take care of the pain issue, it's just a matter of showing the horse the pain is gone and no more reaction is necessary:
1. Do not tie him (at least for the first dozen times) and use a long lead line to "cinch and uncinch" him around the girth area, tight, and walk him around tightening and loosening, tightening and loosening
2. Do the same with the saddle, but at a stand still. Cinch and uncinch over and over
3. Then cinch up snug, walk him around, cinch a little tighter, walk him around, cinch up again and then ready for work. <---this step should remain how you cinch him up from now on, too.

Point is, your horse does have pain. Also, the roper horse that I was talking about also had something "out" in his hip that a chiro worked on.

There was another client horse who got so bad about being cinched up he would cow kick and bite. After the massage therapist gave him his first session, you never saw a softer eye on a horse that was so used to living with pain (he'd been a dressage lesson horse forced to just deal with it. When my client got him he was 20)..... he stopped the unwanted behavior after that.

I'll be willing to bet anything your horse has some kind of pain.
     
    04-08-2009, 04:27 PM
  #5
Foal
Thanks for the replies.

I'm not sure of his history, and the collapsing seems to be random - but I definitely wouldn't rule out pain.

He is pretty sensitive and also has issues with people messing around his head either (doesn't like having a fly mask put on, etc).

Today his owner took a lesson on him and he was fine with the girth - so he doesn't do it all the time. In fact, he hadn't done it in months until I tacked him up. I'm going to be very careful the next time I saddle him - the chiropractor was out last week but didn't check him out - I'll see if she can check him out next time.

Thanks again!
     
    04-08-2009, 07:12 PM
  #6
Foal
Hello, I used to own a horse who used to do the same thing. Some things I did to help the situation: Does he act different when you brush him in his girth area? When you go to groom him before and after each ride, or even if your just grooming him. Brush him on his girth area and slightly each time apply a little bit more pressure, If he seems to get grumpy or collapse stop and brush lightly again. Or rub your hand over that area, and do the same... Lightly then add more pressure, eventually he should learn to except it and it might help him not to be soo sensitive. Some horses are just more sensitive then others.
Try it for a month or so and see, if you notice any difference. If not then you might just have to do one hole at a time.
Let me know =]
Thanks
     
    04-09-2009, 10:01 PM
  #7
Started
My TB is extremely girthy. If I try to tighten the girth in the isle, he goes down with the slightest pressure. I know he's not in pain and the saddle fits him just fine. It's a Thoroughbred thing. Lots of TB's have quirks like that. Anyway, I always have to tighten the girth in the arena or outside. And let him walk it out a little before I get on. I stretch his front legs to get the wrinkles out, too. He's perfectly fine after that.

I'd get the vet out to check for any pain issues. And make sure the saddle fits him. He could be like Victor and just be weird like that.
     
    08-07-2012, 01:46 PM
  #8
Foal
Have you tried sheepskin girth cover because it would help with the pinching part and also might make it more comfortable
     

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