Cinchy horse and how to fix it?
I am working with a horse that is really cinchy when putting the saddle on. I plan on going back to the basics and using a surcingle on him, but was wondering if anyone else had any other ideas that worked for them. Please share your thoughts and opinions on dealing with a cinchy horse!
Subscribing, I'm also wondering this!
What's he doing when you cinch him up?
I too wonder what the horse does.....
If the horse doesn't do something dangerous to people (nipping, biting, jigging around, trying to kick) I wouldn't waste time on this.
My mare is pretty girthy. She'll shake her head, nip at the cross ties or lead rope (never at people) and sometimes shuffle her feet a little. She once did turn her head to me and a swat on the nose fixed that.
So long as she doesn't do anything dangerous to people, I don't care if she shakes her head or moves around a bit.
Mine does better with fleece covered girths but they are a PITA to clean.
Sorry, I don't know if this will be helpful, but IMO, it's easier to prevent this behavior than it is to fix it.
I am very careful about girthing up my horses, doing it gradually, one hole (English girth) or a little bit at a time, and walking the horse before tightening again. I will also stretch out their forelegs before tightening for the last time before mounting to prevent the skin for being pinched.
I usually tighten the final bit after having mounted and walked a ways. (Not an option with most western cinches) I also use the Professional's Choice neoprene double elastic end girths.
If the horse is already reacting to the cinch, I would make very sure I was doing everything slowly and gently. In time, if the horse realizes that it no longer hurts, the behavior may abate. At the very least you will keep the behavior from getting worse.
I have a mare that does this, if you cinch her too quickly she will panic and rear and then lay down sitting upright. Just take it slow. I agree with Maura.
Also be sure you have the correct length of girth. Make sure she's not trying to tell you that she doesn't want it on because when you ride her it is uncomfortable. My rings are above the joint slightly, not directly behind them to avoid pinching loose skin or undue rubbing. Learned this from my trainer. Maybe it will help. Some horses will over react to past pain issues for years so FYI.
LOL. I had a mare who would take a huge, loud, deep breath while cinching her. I had to wait until she couldn't hold it anymore before I went to tighten it. Smart girl!
I do the same as Maura mentioned. Go slow and stretch. I'll cinch them loose, walk a few steps, take it up a bit, walk a few more and finish.
I also use a towel prior to the saddling stage when working with youngsters, you'll need a helper and a big beach towel. One person on each side and slowly lift and lower the belly.
Tightening up slowly is the first step in working with a girthy horse, but I think that's more effective as a preventative than working through an already established problem.
Last year I leased a horse that was mildly girthy. I was careful to always tighten slowly- start on one side, put the girth on the loosest hole, switch to the other side, put it on the loosest hole, switch sides, tighten one hole, etc, until the girth was tight enough. In addition, I started giving him a small piece of carrot every time I tightened him up a hole. Eventually, I only gave him a piece of carrot when he stood still and didn't complain. Then I started only giving the carrots intermittently (he still had to be quiet to get them) and eventually I could stop using them all together.
Now I've purchased my own horse, who is much worse. He dances all over the place, pins his ears, tries to nip (but can't because he's on cross ties), and will sometimes raise a hind leg in a threat to kick, particularly on the right side. With him, the person I bought him from would cinch him up VERY quickly and my vet also suspects he has ulcers (we haven't scoped him, but he's been put on U-Gard and aloe juice), so the problem likely won't go away until that underlying issue is solved, but it has definitely improved using the same technique I used with my last horse.
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