Hi all! A new (to me) horse I'm riding at my barn is cinchy. When I go to tighten the girth he always turns and I think he tries to bite me. At first I thought I was supposed give him a little smack on the neck, but I was reading some things online that say I need to give him treats when he turns around to bite me (whaaaat??) so that he starts relating the tightening of the cinch with good things. Any thoughts, tips or methods? Have you had experience with this and what worked for you?
First.. giving treats for poor behavior is a HUGE no no! That encourages the horse to keep being naughty as you've taught him that's okay.
Instead think about discouraging methods. Some people use their elbow to bop the horse in the nose when he turns to nip at you. Or they "flap" so the horse bumps into your elbow.
Maybe he's trying to tell you something instead of just being naughty. Maybe that cinch hurts him or you're going too fast and it's painful or maybe he's developing ulcers or isn't feeling good.
Check out any reasons for pain first before you discipline him more severely (smack in the mouth or slap with a crop, etc.) but protect yourself from his bites with your elbow.
Can depend on the reason for the girthyness - if its because of a memory then treats can help disassociate the girth with bad experiences...
I have a "girthy horse" have had vet osteo bloods multiple saddle fitters - all came back that theres nothing physically wrong with her - vet suspects that when she was broken in (She still only 5), as shes so short backed, that the saddle may have been too long and caused pain - shes also sensitive by nature...
so when she gets girthed up we do it in slow stages - and each time I do a hole she gets a thin slice of carrot.... (About half a carrot in total)
Shes gone from being quite upset about the whole ordeal (Which would upset me hence why I kept getting people out to check her spending a small fortune in the process) to looking round afterwards saying Ive been good do I get my slice... without being pushy in anyway - kinda like conditional training (Or clicker training without the cue)
Usually I dont do this when shes out in the float but then she is usually stuffing her face in the lucerne chaff hay bag...
Id try work out the root cause and take it from there and what works for one horse may not work for another
My first question is how old is the horse, how much training does he/she have?
Cinchyness can be from several different reasons. Each reason can have different fixes.
1) New to being ridden - might not understand what is going on - chich up slower to give the horse time to get used to it.
2) Ill fitting saddle - use a different saddle. If you are hurting the horse by cinching him, no matter what you do, he is not goign to stop complaining. Especially if it hurts bad enough that just cinching it hurts.
3) memory of an ill fitting saddle. This one Jody111 gave great advice for.
4) Hates being ridden - start with Jody111's suggestions, and make sure to add treats and lots of fun stuff (for the horse) while you are riding.
I have a girthy horse and since she does nothing worse than shake her head a bit I just take it slow and easy and not worry about it too much.
She's less girthy with fleece covered girths so I try to use those. Otherwise I don't have a lot of time to waste on something that isn't hazardous to anyone.
Now if the girthyness led to dangerous behavior that would be a different story.
ahhh mildot makes a good point - the girth can definitely help - my dressage is s sheepskin with dbl elastic and my jumping saddle has a doulbe elastic pressue eze girth - which has a wide peiece at the belly which is meant to reduce the pressure by two thirds...
alright, it looks like ill have to ask my trainer what I should do.. there are too many different reasons and I don't have the experience to determine which it is. Thank you so much though all!!! I learned a lot :)
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