A "Friend" changed out the cinch on my saddle in spite of my objections and better judgement. Her barn, her rules. My horse, my tack? Anyway, I have a blk/wht paint gelding. Where the cinch rubs is white and the skin is very pink & tender looking. The cinch that was put on my horse was mohair/wool. We proceeded on a 3 hour trail ride. Upon our return, much to my dismay, my Joker had horrible cinch sores. Swollen, bleeding, etc.. I doctored them correctly. I did not ride him for a month. I bought a brand new cinch that is the softest fleece I could find. The sores healed but the hair follicles were permanently damaged. No regrowth of hair where the sores were.
I work Joker down in the arena prior to tacking him up. He has always been cinchy so I take things slow. NOW once the cinch is tightened prior to mounting he starts swishing his tail, stepping around in the back & bucking. He now bucks whether I am on the ground or on top of him. I can be leading him to the arena or riding him down the lane to the arena and he bucks. Our last ride sent me to the hospital via ambulance with a severe concussion, sprained back and swollen kidney. I don't think he is in pain at the time the cinch is tightened. I believe it is the memory of the pain. How do I desensitize him so that we can ride? I love him and don't want him to become a "Barn Ornament". He really was a GREAT horse before this happened. I read somewhere that you can teach them that bucking while tacked up is completely unacceptable but I can't find the article. And how do I desensitize him to the cinch without him bucking while wearing it? I'm stumped.:cry::cry::cry::cry:
Start without the saddle on and use a rope put it around his girth area and see-saw it back and fourth loosely. When is relaxed with that then pull the rope snug when he shows signs of relaxing release the pressure, and keep making the rope more snug and releasing the pressure until he is comfortable with the rope getting snug. Then as long as your sure he is not being caused any discomfort by the girth when you tack him up do the same thing with the girth you did with the rope, bump him with it let him know its coming, snug release until he shows signs of relaxing, do not cinch him up or wrap the billet around the d-ring just bump him with the girth. The tacking part is best done in a round pen or area you can safely move him. If at any time he goes to blow up and explode yank the saddle off of him and lunge him hard for 5 minutes or so until he is breathing heavy, when he is wanting air bring him back and do the girth again when he shows signs of relaxing make the commitment and girth him all the way just snug enough to hold the saddle on. If he is still worried about the girth don't cinch him up let him commit to the mistake of blowing up then make him move, your saddle may get a bit dirty but it can be cleaned. If he goes to bucking move his feet with lots of energy, changing direction, get him wanting air. Make him understand that bucking equals more work and standing is easier.
I would also want to get a chiropractor out to adjust him some horses get really cinchy when their sternum is out. And with all the bucking it sounds like he has been doing a good adjustment may just make him feel better.
Cinch Sores Reply
Thank you so much! Your explanation is so well written. I understand what it is that I need to do and it makes perfect sense. I am excited about getting started since it has been almost 6 weeks since the last incident that took me to the hospital. This issue MUST be addressed properly. I attempted to ride yesterday prior to figuring out what it was that was causing Joker to buck. I actually thought it was his back cinch. I didn't use his back cinch yesterday so it all came together. Anyway, prior to realizing that it was the memory of the cinch sores I had worked him down plenty. 12 laps around a large oval sand arena. After more of the same at mounting time (no bucking, I dismounted immediately) I took him back to the arena and worked him hard, probably 20 more laps at a lope/gallop which in the beginning he bucked. Then I rode him in the arena with no issues. He was exhausted. My question is this: Do I do this every day, every other day? I do not have access to a round pen. I can barrel off half of the arena to work him in. He is used to working the entire arena at a walk/trot/long trot, lope & gallop without a line, just a lounge whip. I have never had to use the whip on him. Thank You!
I tend to cinch up very slowly, always. Will he buck/pull back/jump up if he is tied? If I get a cinchy horse I spend a lot of time rubbing them with the cinch and letting it fall, tightening some and letting it fall again, etc. The important thing is to only pull the cinch until he shows signs of discomfort, then hold it there. Once he relaxes, loosen the cinch again and rub him. He will learn the pressure only goes away once he is relaxed and accepting, and will also teach him that just because he is cinched does not mean he will feel pain.
Do some groundwork with him when you do get ready to ride. If he bucks, get after him like a crazy person. I mean, do anything except let him do it. Disengage and chase his hindquarters, run him backwards or sideways, chase him with the whip, anything. Only stop when he wants to move forward nicely.
This same thing applies to riding. If he starts bucking, do a one rein stop (Pull his head to your knee on one side only) and kick him in the hip to make it move. That will take away his forward motion. Be sure to be aggressive about it. I mean, really make him go in a circle. Then take your leg away, let him stop, and ask him to continue onward again. He'll learn doing as you ask is a lot easier than bucking or humping up with you.
If you feel you cannot sit the bucks, jump off if you can and get after him.. Same thing. Run backwards, sideways, chase his hip in a circle, anything you can. Make him think you're going to eat him. Be scary. Then just forget it happened, get back on, and continue calmly.
More excellent advice. Thank you! I couldn't be happier with these responses. I will post the results :)
Did your horse have any issues prior to the ride when he got so sore? What kind of cinch did you use before your friend put the mohair on?
I have had some cinches rub if the rigging was too far forward. Adjusting the cinch farther back helped and I only use mohair string cinches/girths. I will only buy a saddle that allows adjustment in cinch placement.
It will be interesting to read how you and your horse are doing. Stay safe!
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